Qualcomm unveils the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G for the next generation of Windows on ARM PCs

It's been nearly 21 months since Qualcomm introduced its Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform at Snapdragon Technology Summit in 2018. At last year's Snapdragon Summit, the firm focused instead on adding new tiers to add its unique value to lower price points, with the Snapdragon 7c and 8c.

But now, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G is here. While the original aimed to compete with an eighth-generation U-series Core i5, the new one competes with a 10th-gen variant of the Core i5 (Ice Lake), promising an 18% improvement overall and 39% per-watt. When compared with Intel's hybrid solution, called Lakefield, there's an overall 51% improvement, and 58% per-watt.

The architecture of the Snapdragon 8cx hasn't changed, so the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF system that's going to be required isn't integrated. Just like we're already seeing from the Snapdragon 865, OEMs are going to have to purchase a package with the chipset and the modem. But unlike all of the Intel-powered 5G PCs (which all have Qualcomm modems) that we've seen so far, the Snapdragon-powered PCs support both sub6 and mmWave 5G. We saw it first with Lenovo's Flex 5G, and we'll see it again with the Acer Spin 7 being announced today.

"Working remotely is the new reality, and more businesses are looking to quickly and securely connect their employee base, accelerating the need for always on, always connected PCs that are thin, light and truly mobile, equipped with blazing fast 5G cellular and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and coupled with multi-day battery-life to boost productivity," said Miguel Nunes, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "We are excited to expand our customer reach with Acer, to continue bringing the best of the Smartphone to the PC. Together, we will deliver cutting-edge devices and experiences to consumers and businesses, enabling them to connect, create and collaborate anytime from virtually anywhere."

Otherwise, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G has the same features as its predecessor, such as the ability to drive two 4K displays, and Qualcomm actually says that you can do that through a single cable via a dock, which is interesting without Thunderbolt support. And of course, it has Qualcomm's AI Engine, which can be used for features like Microsoft's gaze correction feature that makes it look like you're looking into the camera.

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G will start shipping in products later this year. Acer is announcing its Spin 7 alongside this announcement, and HP is teasing that it has something on the way.

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