Qualcomm said today that it is developing an ARM-based processor for Windows PCs that will compete with Apple’s M-series silicon in the company’s Mac portfolio. The Chip is expected to hit the market in 2023 and will be available for purchase immediately after release.
Qualcomm isn’t a newcomer to the PC processor market, but its efforts haven’t been as ground-breaking in terms of performance as Apple’s M1 chip, which debuted with the MacBook Air and Pro refreshes last year and has since been widely praised for its superiority.
Thereafter, there were two further versions of the M1, the M1 Max and the M1 Pro, which broke even more performance records by providing raw power in the same range as Intel’s most powerful chipsets and NVIDIA’s latest RTX 3000 graphics cards. Both Chromebooks and Windows on ARM PCs have used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx and 7c series ARM-based CPUs, although none has made a significant impact on the market.
Qualcomm, on the other hand, appears to be serious about PC chips, and it appears to be aiming squarely at Apple’s well-received M-series silicon. When Dr James H. Thompson, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, made an announcement at the Qualcomm Investor Day 2021 summit, he stated that the company is developing an ARM-based processor that will “establish the performance benchmark for Windows PCs.” It will strive to make strides in terms of sustained performance as well as battery life, among other things.
What’s more, during his Presentation, Thompson said that Qualcomm’s ARM-based chip will arrive as an “M-series competitive solution for the PC”. Even though this is a lofty promise to make it is still worth anticipating.
What’s more, during his Presentation, Thompson said that Qualcomm’s ARM-based chip will arrive as an “M-series competitive solution for the PC”. Even though this is a lofty promise to make it is still worth anticipating. A team of experts from Nuvia is now working on the chip’s design. When Apple launched their silicon project in 2006, a group of engineers launched a startup that was later acquired by Qualcomm in March of that year.
The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 chip is Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line PC offering at the moment, and it includes advancements such as 5G capability across Sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrums, Wi-Fi 6, an improved Spectra ISP, and some AI-based improvements. Qualcomm’s SQ2 chip, which is used in the Surface Pro X, is similarly based on the Qualcomm technology previously stated. Although Microsoft has an edge in-house, studies have shown that the ARM version of Windows 10 performs far better on the M1 Mac than the Microsoft convertible with a Qualcomm processor inside. According to reports, Qualcomm has not revealed any facts about its impending Apple-beating PC chip, such as its manufacturing method or core architecture.
While noting that its Nuvia team is “quite well along at this stage,” the company says it will begin sampling for its OEM partners in around nine months, which is a significant amount of time. The chipmaker goes on to say that it intends to develop the “best performing, lowest power CPU in the industry,” which it hopes will be available for purchase in 2023 and installed in Windows devices.
Apple is expected to introduce 3nm CPUs for its Mac and smartphone lineups by that time, which will provide much-increased performance. And, given the rate at which Apple has been upgrading its silicon, Qualcomm will have a difficult time catching up, let alone surpassing it in the near future.
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