Qualcomm wants to make a chip for Windows PC and beat Apple M1

Apple will have a challenger to compete with in the field of Arm chips for computers: it's Qualcomm, which has the ambitious project to produce new Arm chips for Windows PC

The chips based on ARM technology seem to be the future. A theory partly demonstrated by the M1 chips launched by Apple a year ago (and reiterated with M1 Pro and M1 Max), on which the company has believed to the point of announcing the goodbye to Intel. It seemed like a leap in the void, but with hindsight it seems that Apple made the right choice, with sales that have proved it right.

Of course, no one had put in the account such a move. Intel has remained motionless, astonished, and has been almost the same reaction of Apple's competitors that evidently didn't think that chips based on ARM architecture (the same one, to be clear, that has always been used for smartphone and tablet chips) could render in that way on high-performance computers, Macs. So the competition has been caught on the back foot, but already for some time something begins to move, including Qualcomm who said he wanted to make an ARM chip for Windows PCs that can beat the M1 of Apple.

"Our chip will be the industry reference"

The ambition of the American chip manufacturer, well known in the smartphone field, is remarkable, and has not been hidden: "We want to design an Arm chip that will be able to set the new benchmark in terms of performance in Windows PCs," said executive director James Thompson during Qualcomm's Investor Day 2021 event.

It will, of course, take time, because building a new chip is historically a journey that starts a long way before it reaches the market. The goal set by Qualcomm's management plans is to arrive on the market with the first product based on an Arm chip for Windows PCs by 2023.

The concrete realization of the Qualcomm chip with Arm architecture has been entrusted to the Nuvia team, merged into the large American workforce following the acquisition at the beginning of 2021 for the monstrous figure of 1.4 billion dollars. Nuvia, however, ironically, is a company founded two years ago by three employees who came out of Apple and worked for years on the Bionic chips that power iPhone and iPad, also based on Arm architecture, as well as progenitors of the esteemed Apple Silicon M1 chips for Macs.

Not only power, also efficiency

Qualcomm wants to get the most out of the Arm chip project for Windows PCs. Not only performance that, at worst, equals that of Apple's M1, but also to represent the industry benchmark in terms of power efficiency in relation to performance. In short, Qualcomm aims to develop chips that reach the compromise pursued by any manufacturer: high power and low consumption, a compromise that Apple seems to have achieved.

A bit of healthy competition would be good for Apple itself, which currently runs substantially alone in the segment of Arm chips for computers.