Qualcomm unveils new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen3 for Windows on ARM PCs

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Qualcomm has officially unveiled its new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen 3 SoCs today, which will bring 5G connectivity and advanced camera, audio, and AI capabilities to Windows on ARM PCs and Chromebooks. Both chips should contribute to the slow growth of the Always On, Always Connected PCs market, which Microsoft helped to push forward with its Surface Pro X line.

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is Qualcomm’s first 5nm SoC for Windows on ARM PCs and Chromebooks, and it’s a successor the 8cx Gen 2 chip found on the latest Surface Pro X tablet from Microsoft. “With the integration of new prime cores, Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 delivers an up to 85% generational performance uplift and up to 60% greater performance per watt over the competitive x86 platform,” Qualcomm said in the press release.

Here are the key highlights about the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 SoC:

  • The chip should deliver up to 60% more performance compared to the previous generation.
  • It supports gaming at full HD at up to 120 FPS and will allow players to game up to 50% longer than certain competing platforms.
  • Qualcomm SpectraTM ISP will speed up camera start-up time by up to 15%, with support for up to 4K HDR camera quality and up to 4 cameras.
  • With 29+ TOPS of AI acceleration “almost 3X the leading competitive platform,), the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is optimized for complex AI workloads.
  • The Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit (SPU) supports Microsoft’s Pluton Security Solution for Windows 11, which is used for protecting credentials, personal data, and encryption keys directly on the SoC.
  • Devices will be able to seamlessly switch between trusted Wi-Fi 6/6E and 5G or 4G LTE networks, with support for up to 10 Gbps speeds.

If the new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 will be used in premium mobile PCs, the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 is a 6nm SoC designed for entry-tier Windows on ARM PCs and Chromebooks. It will bring 5G connectivity to affordable Always Connected PCs, but Qualcomm also promises significant performance improvements compared to the previous Snapdragon 7c Gen 2.

“Purpose-built for users across our Windows PC and Chromebook ecosystem, the 6nm 7c+ Gen 3 delivers an up to 60% faster CPU performance and up to 70% faster GPU performance uplift. The Qualcomm AI Engine enables AI-accelerated experiences through 6.5 TOPS of performance, which is unprecedented in the entry tier,” Qualcomm said today.

The first PCs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen 3 chips are expected to launch in the first half of 2022. While no new devices have been announced today, Lenovo and Microsoft should be among the first PC makers to use the new chips in future devices.

In the press release, Microsoft’s chief product officer Panos Panay reiterated that the Redmond giant and Qualcomm are working closely on the future of mobile PCs. “Together, leveraging Snapdragon compute technology, we build on a shared vision of redefining computing to deliver a more mobile, connected experience combining the best features of the smartphone with the power and performance people expect in a Windows PC,” Panay said.