Qualcomm would hold the line with its powerful alternative to M1 chips

According to information from the German site “WinFuture”, Qualcomm would not drop the case. The group is currently testing two variants of a SoC potentially capable of responding to the powerful Apple Silicon chips used on Macs and iPads.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X13s, powered by a Snapdragon 8CX Gen 3, for illustration // Source: Robin Wycke – Frandroid

We have already been talking about it for many months, Qualcomm is working on a high-performance ARM mobile processor, intended for the PC market, and designed to challenge the virtual supremacy of the Apple M1 and M2 chips on the performance / energy efficiency ratio. We learn a little more this week thanks to the information obtained by WinFuture.

According to the specialized German site, often well informed, Qualcomm would indeed progress on this project, nicknamed “Hamoa” internally. In this case, the firm is currently working on a first draft of a chip with a total of 12 cores, comprising 4 high energy efficiency cores and 8 high performance cores. We also discover that two variants of this first chip would be in the test phase at Qualcomm under the references SC8380X and SC8380XP.

Nuvia know-how and executives at the heart of the project

These two references are not insignificant, they suggest that the powerful chip from Qualcomm could take the direct continuation, once launched, of the current Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. During its development, the latter was indeed designated by the reference SC8280, recall WinFuture. In other words, Qualcomm could very well baptize its new processor “Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4”… unless the group chooses on the contrary a new nomenclature to notify the consumer of the switch to a more ambitious product.

Be that as it may, and as we have already reported in recent months, the development of this new chip by Qualcomm is above all made possible by the acquisition of Nuvia, at the beginning of 2021. Founded in particular by the former chief CPU architect of ‘Apple, the firm has important skills that should allow Qualcomm to achieve its goals more quickly.

On the technical side, WinFuture emphasizes for the rest that the “Hamoa” project would be designed to work with LPDDR5X memory. We also learn that the test platform used by Qualcomm uses 4 nm engraving (presumably that of TSMC) and is equipped with the powerful 5G Snapdragon X65 modem. Another interesting detail, the Qualcomm chip would finally use the new UFS 4.0 flash memory standard.

It remains to be seen whether these different specifications, which are more reminiscent of a SoC for a smartphone than a processor for a PC (and that’s the goal), will be definitively adopted… and if they will be enough to give Qualcomm the advantage, from 2023, against Intel, AMD and above all Apple.

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