Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is the new chip for ultra lightweight laptops

Official Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, the two new chips for PCs and Chromebooks: here's what they look like and when they arrive

At the ongoing Snapdragon Tech Summit, in addition to unveiling the ultra-powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 smartphone chip, Qualcomm lifted the veils from Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, two next-generation chips intended primarily to equip Windows PCs and Chromebooks.

Between the two there are important technical differences, with the former being a high-end (if not very high-end) chip while the latter is intended to equip low-end and mid-range products. Despite the technical differences, the two are united by the ARM architecture, the same one that has made the fortunes of Apple Silicon M1 chips and that is putting in difficulty "traditional" chip manufacturers such as Intel and AMD. Qualcomm therefore tries to put the sticks to the latter, presenting two chips with different performance but both characterized by a very high efficiency.

Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, how it is made

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is the first chip for PC made with 5-nanometer production process. That's not a trivial specification, since it's a number that's a clear indication of the chips' level of efficiency, meaning that the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 should have a great compromise between performance and battery life. For this reason Qualcomm has promised a significant improvement in performance at the same consumption with the previous generation.

Thanks to the new Prime cores, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 will have - Qualcomm proudly reported - 85% and 60% higher performance in terms of efficiency compared to direct competitors with x86 architecture, to mean the "classic" chips from Intel or AMD. Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is a chip built on ARM architecture as the Apple Silicon M1, which in itself provides a great advantage in terms of power consumption, although the percentages provided by Qualcomm will be verified in the field.

The power is not lacking and is also remarkable, on this there are no doubts: it is an eight-core chip consists of four cores Prime 3 GHz and as many low-power cores from 2.4 GHz, then still quite powerful. Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 comes with an Adreno GPU that provides 60% more performance than the previous generation of laptop chips.

Qualcomm has used its know-how gained in the smartphone field to give its Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 a Spectra ISP, ie a chip that will allow laptops that will have the 8cx Gen 3 to have webcams with better autofocus, white balance and exposure adjustment. In terms of connectivity Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 supports X55, X62 and X65 modems that achieve download speeds on 5G networks of up to 10 Gbps, and there is no shortage of support for Wi-Fi 6/6E networks.

Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, when it arrives

The first units of Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen 3 have already been entrusted into the hands of hardware manufacturers, and Qualcomm itself said that the first products to be equipped with them will arrive on the market by the first half of 2022, that is, by June. No word yet on which manufacturers will adopt them first, but one of them will almost certainly end up equipping Chromebook laptops.