A processor is the ultimate driving force of any computing machine; the computing machines are the devices that are used to aid the daily tasks that our mind can not simply do quickly and efficiently, it includes PCs, mobile phones and calculators, etc. The processor completes the tasks that are given to these devices, with the aid of other devices (e.g. monitor), we see the result.
The PC and laptop market is owned by the processors based on the x86 architecture made by Intel and AMD, while the processors drive the smartphone and other devices that require low computing power based on the power efficient ARM architecture used by the silicon manufacturers like Samsung and Qualcomm.
Qualcomm is the biggest vendor of SoCs (System on a single chip which means a single chip houses the CPU, GPU and AI rendering units) in the smartphone market, most of the devices made by the smartphone giants like Samsung, LG and HTC are shipped with the Qualcomm’s processors on board.
For a few years, Qualcomm has been trying its luck in the low-end Laptop market, and we have seen many devices with its chip on board, most of them are Chrome OS based Chromebooks such as ASUS and Acer Chromebooks, while some devices are able to emulate Windows 10 such as HP Envy 2. As Windows 10 is based on x86 architecture, the ARM devices have to emulate Windows 10, and thus theoretically these Qualcomm chips cannot be as powerful as the Intel’s or AMD’s chips.
However, Qualcomm has done a fine job in the last few years making their chips powerful enough to emulate such a big system.
The first Qualcomm processor that was honored to power a Windows laptop was their Snapdragon 835 series processor, that has ARM’s BIG little architecture, it has 8 custom designed ARM processor four of them have low clock speed while other four are used for more rigorous tasks owing to their higher computing power, the chip was complemented by Adreno GPU.
Then the Snapdragon 845 chip was also housed in many Laptops, following to this Qualcomm announced their special Snapdragon 850 chip that will target very low end always connected Laptops only. They did not reveal any details about the chip itself, although the release window of the end of the year was announced. A prototype in works was shown during the conference.
A few days back a German site WinFuture was heavily reporting on another processor from the reputed silicon manufacturer Qualcomm is in works that will provide performance comparable to the Intel’s low-end U and Y processors.
They reported that the Microsoft is also working with them to make use of the ARM architecture in their apps, it is speculated that many apps especially ones that are up on the Windows Store have been optimized for the newer architecture and some are in works. The new processor will reportedly have more cores than the traditional 8-core design used by Qualcomm for quite some time now.
Although, these rumors have more ground due to the fact that the whole chip will have more area than the traditional mobile chips, there is still no word from Qualcomm and Microsoft is also quiet in this regard.
The traditional mobile chips have 12.4 mm x 12.4 mm package size; it will not be followed by the Snapdragon 100 series; the PC lineup will be called Snapdragon 1000 according to the recent more credible rumors. However, the nomenclature can be changed anytime.
These SoCs will cover bigger area, that is these specially designed PC chips will have 20 mm x 15 mm dimensions, which will provide enough space to put a bigger die and thus the it will house more transmitters and cores owing to the advanced 10nm process, although we might see the third generation of the 10nm process or a new process overall.
The Snapdragon 850 will, however, be made by the 2nd generation 10nm process. Moreover, the processor will be able to have up to 16GB of LPDDR4X memory, with the help of more memory channels and the dual channel faster 128 GB UFS 2.1 storage will be accessed by the processor. The total power draw will be a lot higher than the traditional Snapdragon processors due to bigger die and more cores, the rumored power draw rating is 12W that is significantly lower than the Intel’s U and Y processors that require 15W from the battery.
All in all, if the rumors turn out to be true then it will indeed be a start of the new chapter in PC hardware analysis and since it will be the first chip that will not be soldered on the motherboard making it possible for the desktop PCs which will mark a start of the new realm of Qualcomm’s long history. The most important fact for the consumers is that the prices of the low-end processors will become lower due to the addition of one more contender in the market.