Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 850 Chipset Built For Windows PCs

06 June, 2018, 02:54 | Author: Kristen Mcgee
  • Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 850 is a processor built with laptops in mind

Once upon a time, a smartphone chip designer like Qualcomm wouldn't have a place at PC-centric Computex.

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 850 mobile compute platform to further enhance the potential of "Always Connected" Arm-based Windows 10 PCs.

This is largely an incremental release (the Snapdragon 850 is largely an improved Snapdragon 845), though Qualcomm's comparisons above are against the Snapdragon 835, since that was the first phone chip to support Always Connected PCs.

Beyond core performance, the Snapdragon 850 also comes with a new Snapdragon x20 LTE modem, allowing PCs to tap into the 10MHz Licensed LTE band for greater worldwide connectivity. The manufacturer says the chip will "support up to a 30 percent system-wide increase in performance", compared to the "previous generation", which we assume means the SD835. The Snapdragon 845 uses two quad core configurations: A Cortex-A75 (branded as the Kryo 385 Gold) cluster clocked at up to 2.8GHz and a quad-core Cortex-A55 cluster (branded as the Kryo 385 Silver) clocked at 1.77GHz.

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The Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 also uses the upgraded audio and video codec features and include support for H.264 and HEVC 4K encode and decode for video playback services. Qualcomm projects a 30 percent increase in CPU and GPU performance, which seems entirely reasonable in both cases given what we know about the platform and underlying CPU architectures. Included in the skill set is a threefold bump in artificial intelligence performance, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem for 1.2Gbps maximum throughput potential on cellular networks.

Though the AI market for Windows is still nascent, Qualcomm does support the Microsoft Machine Learning SDK and Windows ML with the AI Engine integration. With this, applications can be compiled in a native Arm64 format, running without the need for expensive software emulation, providing a better experience for consumers.

Sprint has said that it plans to offer its customers free unlimited data in 2018 with AutoPay on Qualcomm Snapdragon Always Connected PCs from Asus, HP and Lenovo.

The Snapdragon 850 is now official and later this year you can expect the first computers with it – likely laptops and 2-in-1s.


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