Last year Qualcomm introduced its flagship Snapdragon 8cx platform for premium always-connected PCs (ACPCs) that packed the best technologies that the company had to offer at the time. Being a no-compromise solution, the Snapdragon 8cx was not meant for every ACPC out there, so this week the company expanded the lineup of its SoCs for laptops with the Snapdragon 7c for entry-level machines and the Snapdragon 8c for mainstream always-connected notebooks.

Qualcomm aimed its Snapdragon 8cx primarily at flagship devices ACPCs and therefore maxed out its performance and capabilities, as well as offering the ability to add a 5G modem inside. To day the SoC has won only three designs: the Lenovo 5G laptop (which is yet to ship), the Microsoft Surface Pro X (which uses a semi-custom version called SQ1), and the Samsung Galaxy Book S — all of which are going to cost well over $1000.

In a bid to address more affordable machines, Qualcomm will roll-out its slightly cheaper Snapdragon 8c SoC that is the same silicon as the 8cx, but will feature a tad lower performance. The 7c by comparison is a new chip that will also have a smartphone counterpart, and is aimed at sub-$400 devices, according to analyst Patrick Moorehead. Qualcomm even stated that the 7c is going to target Chromebook equivalents, if not ChromeOS itself.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Flagship SoCs 2019-2020
SoC Snapdragon 8cx Snapdragon 8c Snapdragon 7c
CPU 4x Kryo 495 Gold
4x Kryo 495 Silver
Up to 2.84 GHz
4x Kryo 490 Gold
4x Kryo 490 Silver
Up to 2.45 GHz
8x Kryo 468
Up to 2.40 GHz
GPU Adreno 680 Adreno 675 Adreno 618
DSP / NPU Hexagon 690 Hexagon 690 Hexagon ?
AI Perf Combined 7 TOPs 6 TOPs 5 TOPs
8x 16-bit CH
63.58 GB/s
4x 16-bit CH
31.79 GB/s
2 x 16-bit CH
15.90 GB/s
ISP/Camera Dual 14-bit Spectra 390 ISP
1x 32MP or 2x 16MP
14-bit Spectra 255
1x 32MP or 2x 16MP
4K120 10-bit H.265
HDR Support
HDR Support
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 5 Wi-Fi 6
Integrated Modem Snapdragon X24 LTE
(Category 20)

DL = 2000 Mbps
7x20MHz CA, 256-QAM, 4x4

UL = 316 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
Snapdragon X15 LTE
(Category 15/13)

DL: 800 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM, 4x4

UL: 150 Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM
External Modem Snapdragon X55

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 2500 Mbps
7x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM
UL = 316 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)
DL = 7000 Mbps
UL = 3000 Mbps

Mfc. Process TSMC
7nm (N7)
7nm Samsung

The 8c is the same chip as the 8cx, but clocked slightly lower. The 7c by contrast is built on Samsung’s 8nm process, and will mirror the specifications of a mid-range mobile chip in 2020. We were told that the 7c chip isn’t exactly ready yet, although other press were told that demos that were supposedly on 7c devices in our briefing were actually running 7c silicon.

The 8c, being an 8cx variant, can be paired with Qualcomm’s X55 modem to enable 5G connectivity, although it will be up to the OEM in order to determine if the device will have both Sub 6 GHz and mmWave support.

Devices featuring the 8c and 7c should come to market in 2020.

Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at Qualcomm Technologies, said the following:

“The mobile-first consumer wants an experience on par with a smartphone, and we have the innovation, the inventions and the technology to enable this experience for customers across price points.”

Related Reading

Source: Qualcomm


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  • eastcoast_pete - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    Agree; the key attraction of these for me is the "always connected" bit.
  • nandnandnand - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    Sounds awful. I'll stick to Wi-Fi.
  • geo774 - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    I wanna see 8cx in a gaming oriented tablet to compete with ipad..preferably with high refresh rate oled
  • yeeeeman - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    These look more like sub 400$ chips, not sub 800$. Qualcomm is dreaming...
  • webdoctors - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    I wonder if Qualcomm uses these internally instead of x86 laptops. Otherwise no way I can see other companies using them. The pricing here is terrible, off by a factor of 3X
  • nandnandnand - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    7c is for sub-$400. They say 8c is for sub-$800.

    For some values of sub.
  • Gunbuster - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    Smart move diversifying from the $1000 Windows on ARM segment that moves effectively zero units down to the $800 segment that moves effectively zero units.
  • Raqia - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    According to their interview on this site, they move ~1,000 units of WARM parts a day; that's not much, but a good start. Given that the Hololens 2 runs WARM because no x86 part has the features at the power envelope and that they're doing an Android phone as well (which I suspect will have some kind of capability to Virtualize an instance Windows), Microsoft seems serious about WARM in the long run.
  • HStewart - Sunday, December 8, 2019 - link

    Microsoft would love to get rid of Legacy x86 applications, but the real problem is business has applications written on x86 and it hard to replace machines when you dealing with 1000's of them.

    I think it long run they want to be more like Apple and that is why they doing, cloning of PC has done wonders for making Windows popular - but it hurt the bottom line at Microsoft.

    My big concern is that people will be mislead by these machines thinking that it can run applications and when it does not they will be upset.

    What is odd I would think this type of processor would be better for Android or Chrome market than Windows. a
  • rocky12345 - Monday, December 9, 2019 - link

    Yep very true. It is pretty clear MS wants everyone to switch to the Windows store because they make money from every App sold that has an up front cost. People not conforming to their ways and want to use programs bought or downloaded from any where else does not make them any money. My best guess is MS thinks if they get the ball rolling with these Arm setups that at some point they can try to force more and more people over to their MS store because lets face it they know as long as x86 is the king of the play ground most people will not switch over to their MS store because x86 has such a huge software base and there is really no need for people having to rely on MS and their store for most if not all software.

    MS knows this and they are going to try their best to make x86 a thing of the past as fast as they can. Right now it is these small steps in that direction but as time moves forward they will of coarse get more bold and make bigger moves in that direction. This has always been the way MS does things to herd people in the direction they want us all to go. If they could get away with things like Apple can they would have just done it already and forced the change over I also hear rumors of Apple maybe dropping Intel in favor of them making their own desktop CPU which of coarse would not be based off of x86 at all but more inline with what they use in their mobile hardware. I am not sure how true that is but we all know how Apple likes to screw over their hardware partners and go their own way.

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