Qualcomm 8CX processor – at a glance

What is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8CX Processor?

Back in 2017 Qualcomm and ARM lurched forward into the tablet/laptop market with their first Windows on ARM product range. There wasn’t exactly a huge song and dance across the industry and the products struggled to deliver a comparable Windows experience to that found on x86 architecture. Roll on 2 years and with Windows on ARM a more mature product and Qualcomm/ARM having learned lessons/developed new architecture, it’s almost time to welcome a new CPU contender to the laptop market.

The Snapdragon 8cx (SD8cx) is the result of that 2 years, with the “x” standing for “extreme”, Qualcomm intend to hit Intel i5 levels of performance whilst maintaining the advantages offered by an ARM processor. From the few 3rd party review benchmarks out there, this time, the performance, built-in 5G support and battery life, stands out as one ready to battle Intel on the mobile computing platform.

SOURCE - Qualcomm Youtube Channel

8cx is manufactured in 7nm die process and incorporates a CPU similar to that of Snapdragon 855 though is re-engineered to deliver rich desktop experiences. Within that design process Qualcomm worked to ensure that clock speed would remain consistent under load without heavy cooling. Keeping the overly warm, throttled performance, noisy fanned laptops banished into the past! (hopefully).

Of the multiple cores within the chip, these are broken down into to variants, gold and a silver. The Kyro 495 gold cores are clocked at 2.84Ghz and based on the ARM Cortex-A76 Core and the Kyro 495 silver cores are clocked at 1.9Ghz and based on the ARM Cortex-A55 Core. With an Adreno 680 GPU.

Since the 8cx processor boasts an Adreno 680 GPU and 8-core 64-bit Kyro 495 CPU, the performance level it produces is doubled versus the Adreno 640 GPU/Kyro 485 CPU which is found in the SD855 (current gen Snapdragon). This improvement alone should go a long way to handling the numerous concerns previously raised by users of the last gen systems.

This means you no longer have to deal with a mediocre performance from a horsepower shortage or even with various apps and programs that do not function quite properly on ARM. Also, thanks to 7W TDP, the processor should be less thirsty compared to a competitors chip and with additional benefit derived from a larger system cache.

Aside from 5G connectivity, 8cx has support for Quick Charge 4+, Qualcomm Aqstic audio tech for high-definition Bluetooth wireless audio and advanced audio, third-gen PCI-E, and second-gen USB 3.1 over Type C connections.

In controlled tests, the 8CX has been shown to outperform comparable Intel chip in Word, Edge, PowerPoint and Adobe Photoshop, though as you can imagine, these results will be put to the test fully when products are released to market.

SOURCE - Qualcomm Youtube Channel

Extended Battery Life

Originally, battery life has been the most robust point of the Qualcomm Snapdragon architecture, with the claim that the 8cx will survive 22+ hours on 1 charge. The manufacturer claims that Adreno 680 graphics core is sixty percent more efficient than the 850’s GPU and comparing against the Intel i5 which on can play videos 12h 17m, the 8cx came in at 19h 55m on the same battery capacity. Moreover, 8cx supports USB-C fast charging with the use of Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+.

Graphics

When it comes to graphics, Snapdragon 8cx also stands out in the ARM processor crowd claiming to be fastest GPU that Qualcomm has ever created, with features such as DirectX 12 API, up to 60% power efficiency over previous ARM CPU generations and a performance that is twice to that of Snapdragon 850.

The Adreno 680 graphics chip features VP9 ad H.265 decoders, thereby, allowing you to watch high-definition videos without having to drain the battery. Plus, the third-gen PCI-E and second-gen USB 3.1 Type-C will allow you to connect up to 2x 4K HDR monitors delivering content at 120 frames per second.

Security & Connectivity

Snapdragon 8cx makes use of the X24 LTE modem providing always online connectivity, capable of delivering 2Gbps download speeds, even in sleep mode. There is support for USB 3.1 Gen 2 (as have mentioned earlier) as well, which doubles the amount of data you can push through the USB ports to 10Gbps.

Now, in terms of security, 8cx features a built-in 5G LTE. Meaning to say you won’t need to look around for hazy Wi-Fi networks at a local cafe shop or the airport. Additionally, it is well-designed to operate on Windows 10 Home/Professional, will work with remote management, options biometric login options, and hypervisor support.

Other Features

There are more to discover from this newest generation processor. Apart from much better performance, connectivity and support, excellent graphics, and long battery life, Snapdragon 8cx also provides things such as NFC and on-board Bluetooth 5.0. The crypto-security is improved, and there are advanced location features to watch out (Pedestrian Navigation, Low Power Geofencing & Tracking, and Sensor-assisted Navigation).

Conclusion

All in all, this is one huge step for ARM processors and the laptop market, maybe later on the desktop market too. We may soon reach a stage where your phone is your daily computer, walk around with it in your pocket, use it like a phone, plug it in when you get home or to the office, play games/do your desktop work.

Time will tell how well this new range of processors will perform in the marketplace, however, this time around; things are looking promising if all the claims are true.

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