Qualcomm is combining one of its most powerful 64-bit SoCs with its latest innovations in 5G mobility to deliver what it calls the world’s first commercial 5G PC platform. At the heart of this new platform is the company’s Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform, which was first announced back in December 2018.
The Snapdragon 8cx is Qualcomm’s first real credible challenge to Intel dominance in the laptop/2-in-1 convertible market and is built on the latest 7-nanometer process technology. The SoC employs an octa-core Kryo 495 CPU configuration and a new Adreno 680 GPU, which is said to double the performance of the GPU found in the Snapdragon 850 SoC, while offering a 60 percent power savings.
At MWC 2019, Qualcomm announced this this powerful Snapdragon 8cx can be paired with the recently announced Snapdragon X55 5G modem, which is also built on 7nm process tech. Unlike its Snapdragon X50 predecessor, which is just now coming to market, the Snapdragon X55 is a single-chip solution that not only supports 5G networks using mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrums, but it is also backwards compatible with legacy 4G LTE, 3G and 2G networks while offering faster peak 5G speeds (7Gbps downstream, 3Gbps upstream).
Qualcomm says that this 7nm one-two punch will allow for premium ultra-light Windows 10 PCs that are not only formidable on a performance-per-watt basis, but will also be able to deliver breakneck internet speeds as America’s 5G networks build out over the coming year. On top of that, the efficiency of both the Snapdragon 8cx and the Snapdragon X55 will allow for PCs that have multi-day battery life.
“Our platforms were the first to bring gigabit, and now multi-gigabit LTE to the PC,” said Alex Katouzian, SVP and GM for Qualcomm’s Mobile division. “We also brought multi-day battery life to the PC, and with the Snapdragon 8cx 5G compute platform, we innovate once again to bring the best of our computing and connectivity technologies into a single platform to modernize the enterprise.”
Qualcomm has previously said that the Snapdragon 8cx would begin shipping during Q3 2019, and the Snapdragon X55 will arrive during the second half of 2019. However, if we’re being realistic here, we might not see shipping systems with both chips together until the first half of 2020. By then, 5G availability should be greatly improved compared to today.