Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c & 8c Processors Target Entry-Level & Mainstream Mobile PCs

Nearly exactly one year ago, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 8cx processor for always-on always-connected PCs, and lateron Qualcomm and UL released PCMark 10 benchmark results showing Snapdragon 8cx had similar performance to a 15W Intel Core i5-8250U Kaby Lake-R processor, but with much better efficiency.

The price of such laptops is still fairly high with Samsung Galaxy Book S announced in August for $1,000, and possibly canceled at this stage. Microsoft SQ1 powered Surface Pro X tablet is the only system based on Qualcomm Arm technology (customized version of Snapdragon 8cx) available now, and also sells for $1,000 and up.

Qualcomm has now unveiled Snapdragon 7c and 8c arm processor to address the entry-level and mainstream markets of connected mobile PCs.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c

Snapdragon 7c
Source: Anandtech Live Blog

Specifications:

  • CPU – Octa-core Kryo 468 processor @ up to 2.45 GHz
  • GPU – Qualcomm Adreno 618 GPU
  • DSP – Qualcomm Hexagon 692 DSP with Hexagon Vector eXtensions and Tensor Accelerator
  • Memory – Up to 10GB 2x16bit, LPDDR4 @ 2133 MHz
  • Storage – UFS 3.0 interface
  • Display
    • On-Device Display – Up to QXGA (2048×1536) @ 60Hz, FHD @ 60Hz
    • External Display – Up to QHD (2560×1440) @ 60Hz
  • Camera
    • Qualcomm Spectra 255 image signal processor, 14-bit
    • Dual Camera, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 16 MP
    • Single Camera, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 32 MP
  • Video
    • Playback up to 4K @ 30 fps HDR10 with H.265 (HEVC), H.264 (AVC), VP9 codecs
    • Encoding up to 4K @ 30 fps with H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC) VP8 and VP9
  • Audio
    • Qualcomm Aqstic technology – Aqstic audio codec, Aqstic smart speaker amplifier
    • Qualcomm aptX, aptX HD
    • Playback – PCM up to 384kHz/32bit, native DSD support
  • Connectivity
    • Qualcomm FastConnect Subsystem for Bluetooth 5.1
    • Dual-band 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5;  2×2 MIMO; WPA3
    • Cellular
      • Qualcomm Snapdragon X15 LTE Cat 15 (DL) / Cat 13 (UL) modem
      • Download speed up to 800 Mbps
      • Upload speed up to 150 Mbps
    • Location – NavIC, Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS, SBAS
  • Process Technology – 8 nm

Qualcomm states that the Snapdragon 7c compute platform delivers up to 20% faster system performance and up 2x the battery life of typical entry-level PCs, and Qualcomm AI Engine is capable of 5 TOPS.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8c

Snapdragon 8c

Specifications:

  • CPU – Kryo 490 octa-core CPU @ up to 2.45 GHz
  • GPU – Qualcomm Adreno 675 GPU with DirectX 12 API support
  • DSP – Qualcomm Hexagon 690 Processor
  • Memory – 4-channel LPDDR4x memory @ 2133MHz
  • Storage – NVME SSD and UFS 3.0
  • Display
    • On-Device Display up to 4K Ultra HD
    • External Display – Up to 2x 4K displays
  • Camera
    • Qualcomm Spectra 390 image signal processor, Dual 14-bit ISPs
    • Dual Camera: Up to 16 MP
    • Single Camera: Up to 32 MP
  • Video
    • Playback – Up 4K HDR @ 120fps with H.265 (HEVC), H.264 (AVC), VP9 codecs
    • Capture – 4K HDR up to 30 FPS; Slow Motion : 720p @ 480 FPS
  •  Audio
    • Qualcomm TrueWireless Technology, Qualcomm Broadcast Audio technology, Qualcomm Aqstic audio technology
    • Qualcomm aptX & aptX HD audio playback support
    • Channel output: Surround Sound
    • Speaker protection: Speaker protection
  •  Connectivity
    • Cellular
      • Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System
        • mmWave specs: 800 MHz bandwidth, 8 carriers, 2×2 MIMO
        • sub-6 GHz specs: 200 MHz bandwidth, 4×4 MIMO
        • Modes: FDD, TDD, SA (standalone), NSA (non-standalone)
        • Peak Download / Upload Speeds – 7 Gbps and 3 Gbps
      • Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem
        • Downlink – LTE Category 20 4×4 MIMO up to 2 Gbps
        • Uplink up to 316 Mbps
        • Cellular Technology
          • WCDMA (DB-DC-HSDPA, DC-HSUPA), TD-SCDMA, CDMA 1x, EV-DO, GSM/EDGE
          • LTE – LTE FDD, LTE TDD including CBRS support, LAA, LTE
    • Wi-Fi – 802.11ad, 802.11ac Wave 2, 802.11a/b/g, 802.11n standard; tri-band: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 60 GHz; 2×2 MIMO configuration
    • Bluetooth 5.0
    • NFC
    • Location – Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS
  • USB – USB 3.1 interface(s)
  • Process Technology – 7 nm

Snapdragon is said to delivering up to 30% faster total system performance over the previous platform (is that you, Snapdragon 850?),  and up to  6TOPS of AI performance. The company did not provide details about the API supported by the GPU, except for the Adreno 675 GPU found in the Snapdragon 8c processor that apparently only supports DirectX 12, so we’ll have to see if Linux support is possible.

So Snapdragon 7c appears to be for entry-level mobile PCs, while Snapdragon 8C should be for the mainstream market with optional 5G support, and cheaper than Snapdragon 8cx based models.  Both processors still target laptops and 2-in-1 hybrids with cellular connectivity, and all-day battery life.

While a typical entry-level laptop would be around $300, Qualcomm’s idea of an entry-level mobile PC is likely around $500-$600 due to built-in features like 4G LTE connectivity and AI accelerator.

More details may be found on Snapdragon 7c and 8c respective product pages here and there.

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While Surface Pro X is MS’ sole WoA device (8cx), there are several $400-600 Windows-on-Snapdragon notebooks of the older gen (sd835/845) available now, and plenty more (sd850) coming soon by Weibu and other Chinese manufacturers.

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