Qualcomm has become the first company to launch a 7nm part aimed at personal computers: the Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform, sampling now and expected to arrive in commercial systems by the third quarter of 2019.
Designed primarily for Windows on Arm, announced back in 2016 and promising considerably improved battery life while using a clever hardware-accelerated compatibility layer to run legacy x86 applications which turned out to be rather more restrictive than first thought, the Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform beats both AMD and Intel to offering a PC-centric processor built on a 7nm process node - albeit one aimed exclusively at portable devices.
'With performance and battery life as our design tenets, we’re bringing 7nm innovations to the PC space, allowing for smartphone-like capabilities to transform the computing experience,' crowed Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile for Qualcomm Technologies, at the launch. 'As the fastest Snapdragon platform ever, the Snapdragon 8cx will allow our customers to offer a powerful computing experience of multi-day battery life and multi-gigabit connectivity, in new thin, light and fanless design for consumers and the enterprise.'
The Snapdragon 8cx, like its predecessors, is a system-on-chip (SoC) design which combines the company's 64-bit Arm-based central processing cores with the new Adreno 680 graphics processing cores - the latter doubling the memory bus from 64-bit to 128-bit width. While full specifications have not yet been provided Qualcomm has confirmed the Snapdragon 8cx is built around the company's eight-core Kryo 495 CPU.
Other features of the new part include the promise of support for Windows 10 Enterprise Edition customers; Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4+ compatibility; Aqstic audio with advanced codecs, smart power amplifiers, and specialist software for general audio and voice use including Cortana and Alexa voice assistant support; and integrated aptX HD Bluetooth audio support. Machines built around the Snapdragon 8cx will also be able to offer support for connectivity to two 4K displays with High Dynamic Range (HDR) support. Finally, models with integrated X24 Long Term Evolution (LTE) modems will be available.
The Snapdragon 8cx is sampling to customers now, Qualcomm has confirmed, with retail availability expected for the third quarter of 2019.