The main focus of the new chip seems to be performance and the gains that it can bring, rather than many steps towards improved compatibility (which isn’t necessarily in Qualcomm’s hands). But if you had any interest in systems sporting Qualcomm’s flagship laptop chip before, then you’ll want to take notice.
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Getting into the stats that Qualcomm is keen to show off, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G offers “50% greater system-wide performance and battery life versus competing solutions.” This reference appears to be towards the Intel Lakefield i5 chip, which Qualcomm later showed was up to 51% worse than the Snapdragon in “Total system performance” and “Productivity performance/watt.”
Qualcomm is also touting “multi-day battery life in a device that is always on and always connected. While 8cx-sporting machines have shown a good few shortcomings, battery life has remained a strong point so any additional improvement would be great too.
As well as the performance gains, connectivity is front and centre. Despite “5G” being added to the name for Gen 2, the new 8cx still supports the same level of network connectivity as its predecessor. The name change is likely there to place greater emphasis on 5G as the tech continues to spread across laptop devices.
Nevertheless, as well as offering access to both Sub-6GHz and 5G mmWave connectivity, the new 8cx is compatible with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
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While the overall boost to Qualcomm’s 8cx is a welcome one, the company still faces hurdles in compatibility – hurdles which the Intel Lakefield chips do address. Regardless, 8cx benchmarks continue to beat the lightweight mobile chip competition and allow for stunning devices like the Surface Pro X and Galaxy Book S – so we are definitely excited for what comes next.