Qualcomm first announced its 8cx laptop processor back in December of 2018. The chip promised to bring two times the performance of its previous chip, the Snapdragon 850, while at the same time bringing 60 percent better battery life and new features like H.265 and dual 4K monitor support.
Today, we got our first look at PCs running the new Qualcomm 8cx chipset. Qualcomm has partnered with PCMark and 3DMark to produce ARM 64-native benchmarking apps for the platform and pitted the chip against Intel’s most comparable laptop CPU, the i5 8250U.
As a recap, the Qualcomm 8cx is a 7nm chip with a TDP of 7 watts, while Intel’s i5 8250U is based on a 10nm process and has a TDP of 15 watts. Based on these specs alone, it’s no surprise that Qualcomm is achieving about two times better battery life. The real surprise here is application benchmarks and graphics performance.
In a standard application benchmark test, the 8cx was neck-and-neck with Intel’s offering. The 8cx beat the i5 8250U in some tests and fell slightly behind in others. This is fairly massive because it shows that a chip with half the power consumption of an Intel CPU can deliver just as good day-to-day performance.
In graphics benchmarks, Qualcomm’s 8cx beat Intel by a good amount. The graphics score in 3DMark’s Night Raid was between 6138 and 6266, while Intel measured between 5172 and 5174. Take this with a grain of salt though, because the display on Intel’s model was a 2k panel, while Qualcomm used an FHD panel.
The benchmarking session showed just how competitive Qualcomm has gotten already. Its Always Connected PCs (ACPCs) allow users to pull down data extremely quickly wherever they are, especially with the new 5G modem Qualcomm is offering to laptop OEMs. With graphics performance on par with Intel’s equivalent offerings, it shouldn’t be long before these laptops start flying off store shelves.
Alongside the benchmarking session, Qualcomm announced a partnership with Lenovo for the development of the first 5G Always Connected PC. Lenovo is calling this laptop Project Limitless for now, but we didn’t get much more detail than that. Qualcomm told us that this laptop will be running on a 45 watt-hour battery and will use the Qualcomm 8cx SoC and 5G modem, but until we hear more details that’s all we have to go on.
Another interesting thing to note is the total lack of 5G modem competition. With Intel pulling out of the market completely and Huawei currently in disarray, it’s likely that Qualcomm will own this market for a good while.
What do you think about 5G Always Connected PCs? Are you looking to pick one up once they start shipping next year? Let us know in the comments section below.