Qualcomm is looking to seriously beef up its PC processors, with the company announcing plans for a next-generation Arm-based SoC “designed to set the performance benchmark for Windows PCs” that would be able to go head to head with Apple’s M-series processors.
Dr. James Thompson, Qualcomm’s chief technology officer, announced the plans for the new chips at the company’s 2021 investor day event, with the goal of getting samples to hardware customers in about nine months ahead of product launches with the new chip in 2023.
The new chip will be designed by the Nuvia team, which Qualcomm had bought earlier this year in a massive $1.4 billion acquisition. Nuvia, notably, was founded in 2019 by a trio of former Apple employees who had previously worked on the company’s A-series chips.
The company is making big promises, too: in addition to offering competition to Apple’s stellar M-series chips (which power its latest MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops and iMac and Mac Mini desktops), Qualcomm is aiming to lead the field for “sustained performance and battery life,” too. Additionally, Qualcomm promised that it would be scaling up its Adreno GPUs, too, with the goal of offering desktop-class gaming capabilities for its future PC products.
Qualcomm has tried to break into PC chips before, with products like the Snapdragon 8cx line of processors and its partnership with Microsoft on the Surface X’s SQ1 and SQ2 chips. But where Apple’s Arm-based chips offered a revolutionary experience of power and battery life when it launched the M1 lineup last year, Qualcomm’s PC efforts have been lackluster so far.
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