Qualcomm Windows on Snapdragon: New 7c & 8c SoCs for sub-$800 Laptopsby Anton Shilov on December 6, 2019 4:15 PM EST
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
|4x 16-bit CH
|2 x 16-bit CH
|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
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 5||Wi-Fi 6|
|Integrated Modem||Snapdragon X24 LTE
DL = 2000 Mbps
7x20MHz CA, 256-QAM, 4x4
UL = 316 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
|Snapdragon X15 LTE
DL: 800 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM, 4x4
UL: 150 Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM
|External Modem||Snapdragon X55
(LTE Category 24/22)
(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)
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.”
- Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit Day 3 Live Blog: ACPC and XR
- Qualcomm Tech Summit, Day 3: Snapdragon 8cx, the New ACPC SoC
- Hands-On with Industry’s First 5G Laptop: A Lenovo with Qualcomm’s 8cx SoC and X55 Modem
- Samsung Announces Always-Connected Galaxy Book S Laptop with Snapdragon 8cx
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Wilco1 - Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - linkYes the Microsoft compiler won't emit any AVX instructions by default, otherwise x86 applications won't run on Atom.
This whole discussion is insane, nobody is using their laptop as a render server. The use case for high performance SIMD in consumer products used mostly for browsing is simply non-existent.
lowlymarine - Friday, December 6, 2019 - linkIs the 7c really just 8x “little” cores like this chart implies? If so that’s going to be absolutely miserable to use on Windows, especially with only half the memory bandwidth of a single-channel x86 chip. They’re going to have to do a lot better than just “sub-$800” to make these worth it; you can get Ryzen 5 U or Core i5 U machines easily in that range.
nandnandnand - Friday, December 6, 2019 - linkLook again. 8c is for sub-$800, while 7c is for sub-$400.
I envision the 7c debuting at $200-$300, eventually dropping down to $100-$200 in sales. As for performance, that's what we have benchmarks for.
d8e8fca - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link2x Cortex-A76 @ 2.4 GHz and 6x Cortex-A55. So essentially a faster Snapdragon 675.
eastcoast_pete - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - linkI believe you are correct. However, this 2BIG+6little core design should be reflected in the Table, because it does make a difference. Not Anton's doing, either, it's QC's screwy way of naming their cores. And yes, 8 little cores only would be badly underpowered for Windows on Arm; even Intel's slowest current-gen Atoms run circles around A55 cores.
Raqia - Friday, December 6, 2019 - linkI'm a bit surprised (or more likely naive to the issues related with the conversion of a Snapdragon to an "Xc" SoC process) to find out that the 7c is not ready. I imagine it's an issue with software / driver compatibility as the hardware changes from a 7xx series must be fairly minimal; hobbyists on twitter have even booted Windows on Arm onto phones.
Rudde - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - linkMicrosoft made an official closed beta for snapdragon 820 equipped smartphones.
eastcoast_pete - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - linkIf you have a link for download, I'd be interested in it. I have an 820 device that might serve as my guinea pig for me to play with it
zamroni - Friday, December 6, 2019 - linkthe dsp and modem can be removed to resume price because most laptop use cases don't need them
Raqia - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - linkIt's probably cheaper to re-purpose existing cellular parts than to validate a new design with those portions explicitly cut out. That said, having a modem is a killer feature as 4G access is generally better than WiFi at a lot of public venues. Having access to a DSP for image processing purposes is useful for popular apps like Snapchat or video conferencing.