Qualcomm's latest chip promises 85% faster Windows-on-ARM machines

Qualcomm has officially launched the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, its latest Windows-focused chip that promises significant performance increases while offering better connectivity.

Built on the ARM architecture, the 8cx Gen 3 is the first 5nm chip to come to a Windows PC, with promised CPU performance boosts of 85% compared to the previous 7nm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, as well as a 60% increase to GPU performance.

The chip is also said to be more efficient on a per-watt basis with the CPU containing high-performance cores for the most demanding tasks and energy-efficient cores for lower effort processes.

Combining the two is thought to bring even better battery performance to users of the slim and light notebook market, making the chip's power draw more efficient. Qualcomm said users can get 25 hours worth of use out of a device on a single charge, depending on the device, model, and workloads involved.

Connectivity options are also more generous in the 8cx Gen 3, with support for Qualcomm's latest 5G modem for up to 10 Gbits/sec peak 5G throughput speeds for when users are out and about.

Manufacturers will be able to choose between a range of Qualcomm's 5G modems depending on what degree of mobile connectivity they want in their notebooks. They can choose between the Snapdragon X65 Modem-RF System for the top 5G speeds of up to 10 Gbits/sec or drop it down to 7.5 Gbits/sec with the Snapdragon X55 Modem-RF System.

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The 8cx Gen 3 also brings with it Wi-Fi 6E for the first time to access the latest 6Ghz spectrum to reach faster speeds over lower latencies, providing users have a router supporting the latest standard. Users will also be able to connect to other and older Wi-Fi standards without problems.

Innovations on the artificial intelligence (AI) side of things have also improved, with Qualcomm saying the chip offers three times more AI processing power than previous generations.

AI-accelerated processes like Microsoft's Eye Contact for virtual meetings is supported - a feature that makes it look like meeting participants are looking into the camera when they're actually looking at the screen.

Qualcomm also introduced Spectra ISP, another feature that stands to benefit video meetings with 4K HDR, better autofocus, auto-white balance, and auto-exposure for the best image quality, and additionally noise and echo cancellation for team or client calls.

The 8xc Gen 3 also gets a new entry-level version, the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, which promises up to 40% better CPU performance and 35% better graphics performance on a 6nm architecture.

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