Thursday, Mar 18, 2021, 18:58 Hardware

Qualcomm Developing New High-Performance CPU To Compete With M1?

With the new M1 Macs, Apple demonstrated a new level of performance possible with energy-efficient ARM architecture. On the other hand, the Windows world trudges on with almost exclusively x86 processors from Intel and AMD. Although Microsoft has offered Windows 10 on ARM with 64-bit x86 emulation, it's still leagues behind Apple Silicon in terms of performance.

Apple Silicon Puts The Competition In Its Place
Even the Windows-Qualcomm joint-effort "MicrosoftSQ2" ARM processor is leagues behind the Apple M1 in terms of performance – this is partially due to its limitations as a mobile SoC trimmed for efficiency, with some negative impacts on performance. The result is the MacBook Air M1 absolutely reaming the Surface Pro X in terms of performance. Apple's a step ahead when it comes to performance and energy efficiency, which has led to chip-maker Qualcomm now attempting to make pace up by developing high-performance ARM-CPUs for notebooks and desktops.

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Qualcomm Developing 12 Core ARM Chip
According to a report from Windows Latest, the Snapdragon 8cx's predecessor should be called the Snapdragon SC8280CP. Although Qualcomm is known for it's adherence to a big-little principle for the last few years (where high-performance cores are paired with slower and more energy-efficient ones), this time the 12 cores should consist of 8 "Gold+" (2.7GHz) cores and 4 "Gold" (2.43GHz) cores.

SC8280CP In Early Development
The Snapdragon SC8280C will allegedly have a Neural Processing Unit (NPU). A neural processing unit is designed to combine AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) computational operations. Qualcomm's ARM processor is still in the early development process. According to Microsoft, however, the first copies are already undergoing the testing phase in a 14-inch notebook with 32GB RAM with Windows 10 on ARM. Benchmark results haven't been released yet and so it remains to be seen whether a combo of Qualcomm's performance trimmed ARM CPU and Windows 10 on ARM can keep pace with Apple's M1 speed demon. It's not yet known when the new processor will be released.

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