Last year Qualcomm showed off its most powerful ARM processor for laptops, the Snapdragon 8cx, with the ability to run always on, always connected windows devices. The key benefits being 25 hours of battery life and gigabit LTE connectivity. 5G was already in the works at the time and the chip was still in development, so everyone was a little skeptical regarding the launch.
Fast forward to 2019, Qualcomm has announced the World’s First Commercial 5G PC Compute Platform, the Snapdragon 8cx 5G, which is basically an improved version of the chip announced last year with their top of the line Snapdragon X55 5G modem providing the multi-gigabit connectivity.
The Snapdragon 8cx chip combined with the 5G modem is the premium tier ARM solution for always-connected devices by Qualcomm. They are promising a multi-day battery life, relying on the 7nm manufacturing process. The Snapdragon X55 5G modem boasts of up to 7Gbps of download speeds on the 5G network.
As far as processing power is concerned, reports suggest that the Snapdragon 8cx has performance capability comparable to a current generation Core i5 U-series mobile chips. Apart from being the most efficient laptop processor, it also packs in a good amount of graphics performance; enough to power two 4K HDR external displays at the same time.
Although the number of actual users with this kind of technology are very less in proportion, but that is, for the most part, because the technology itself isn’t mature enough. Always connected PCs are still an evolving space. Qualcomm is already all invested into ARM-based solutions for laptops, it will be interesting to see how Intel, AMD and others rise up to this.
Lenovo has already announced that they are working in collaboration with Qualcomm on this and their first Snapdragon 8cx powered always connected 5G PC will be entering the market in early 2020.