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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  • tipoo - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    Surface Go 2, get a move on Microsoft.

    Would be way better than the chip in there currently. It's technically a "core" architecture, but without Turbo boost it performs worse than some of the *Monts now.
  • yannigr2 - Sunday, December 8, 2019 - link

    I guess Windows on ARM was so fast on the 8cx, that these new SOCs are completely logical steps.
  • nandnandnand - Sunday, December 8, 2019 - link

    8cx is the best chip and should be used in $5,000 systems.
  • peevee - Monday, December 9, 2019 - link

    Even at 10 times less that that they would not sell in any significant quantities (especially after returns when people realize that almost nothing works).
  • rocky12345 - Monday, December 9, 2019 - link

    Personally I am not finding myself very excited about these Arm CPU's getting to the desktop and Microsoft going out of their way to try to make windows work with them. At the end of the day if you use your PC with programs not from the Microsoft store which rely on x86 the performance is going to be so low that most of us at least me would want to through the PC out the window and go get something else that has a non emulated x86 CPU inside of it.

    I know they have to start some where and probably about 5-10 years down the road after these PC's have gone through a few versions of hardware and most software has moved to non x86 they will become more useful to more people. Until then to me at least these are nothing more than little play toys that are good for grandma's daily internet surfing on Facebook and other minor tasks. Just my opinion on the subject nothing more nothing less.
  • Wilco1 - Monday, December 9, 2019 - link

    Given the Cortex-A76 in the 8cx has similar IPC as Skylake and is about twice as fast as the best Atom, emulated performance is more than fast enough - better than what you'd get from a cheap x86 laptop.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, December 9, 2019 - link

    "emulated performance is more than fast enough"
    Uh huh. Keep telling yourself that. The rest of us look at the laughable real world performance of WinArm device and just laugh.

    It'll be a LONG time before ARM is the main CPU for the windows world.
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - link

    How would you know? You don't sound like you've ever used a WOA device...

    If you accept that Atom devices can give reasonable performance, then so does this.
  • ballsystemlord - Monday, December 9, 2019 - link

    A LONG LONG time. Think, they'll have to emulate a 5.0GHz 9900KS or similar! Have you ever thought what that would be like? They can't require companies to release 2 binaries, 1 for x86 and 1 for ARM.
    Even if they could, all the SW that used to work will be broken.
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - link

    Apple already has a phone which outperforms your precious 9900KS... Like it or not, but Arm is rapidly moving up in performance, so software will be recompiled when it runs faster on Arm.

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