The Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 is a new entry-level laptop chip from Qualcomm, championing value over performance since it’s not quite as powerful as the recently revealed Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor.
It will feature a new 6nm architecture, providing a 60% performance boost for the CPU compared to the previous generation, while also seeing 70% faster GPU.
Qualcomm has also added 5G support for the entry-level chip, and is capable of download speeds of up to 3.7Gbps. But you’ll only be able to reach those high speeds via a dual connection of both 5G sub-6 and mmWave, the latter of which is currently only available in the likes of the US, Japan and China.
Wi-Fi 6E will also be supported, allowing users to improve their home network connection if you’ve got a compatible router. Qualcomm claims a multi-gig Wi-Fi 6E connection can reach speeds up to 2.9Gbps.
For everything else you need to know on Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, keep reading on.
Qualcomm has confirmed that the first laptops packing a Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 chip will launch in the first half of 2022.
We currently don’t know which laptops will feature the upcoming processor, but the likes of HP and Samsung have previously launched laptops with the preceding generation chip, so it’s likely they’ll continue to use the entry-level Snapdragon.
We’ll make sure to update this section as soon as we hear more, with CES 2022 a likely event for some official announcements.
The Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 features a 6nm node. Smaller nodes generally result in a faster performance since manufacturers can cram in additional transistors. This means the new Snapdragon 8cx processor is expected to be more powerful, as it uses a 5nm node.
For comparison, the Apple M1 chip uses a 5nm node, while AMD and Intel are currently on 7nm and 10nm nodes respectively. However, you can’t judge performance solely on the size of the process, which is especially true here. The Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 won’t be as powerful as the fastest processors from AMD, Apple or Intel.
So how fast will it be? Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 will see “up to 30% higher CPU performance than competitive platforms in the entry-tier”. That’s pretty vague in terms of what Qualcomm is referring to, but we assume it’s alluding to processors that typically power Chromebooks, or even budget-priced Windows laptops.
In comparison to the preceding generation chip, the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 2, Qualcomm claims the new chip is 60% faster when it comes to CPU speeds. This should result in a slicker performance, whether you’re browsing the web, streaming video or filling up spreadsheets.
The GPU performance is also suggested to be a whopping 70% more powerful. This Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 chip is unlikely to be running AAA games, as we’re still talking about an entry-level chip here, but you can expect a smoother performance for entry-level games and content creation.
Qualcomm is also introducing 5G connectivity for its entry-level Snapdragon chips, allowing you to whack in a SIM card in order to keep connected to the internet while you’re away from a Wi-Fi network.
The chip will technically be capable of hitting 5G download speeds as high as 3.7 Gbps, but you’ll need a dual connection of 5G sub-6 and mmWave in order to hit such speeds. Unfortunately, 5G mmWave is currently only available in the likes of the US, China and Japan. This means countries in Europe will be unable to hit these peak download speeds, at least until 5G mmWave eventually expands into more territories.
In more positive news, the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 supports Wi-Fi 6E. With a compatible router, users will be able to hit download speeds of up to 2.9 Gbps. Qualcomm claims this results in a 3x improvement in Wi-Fi performance compared to the previous generation.
The Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 processor will also benefit from some of the same features that its bigger sibling (Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3) will flaunt. This includes a webcam quality of up to 4K HDR. Of course, laptop manufacturers will need to integrate a 4K HDR camera in order to make use of this feature, and so isn’t guaranteed.
Thanks to improvements to the AI, laptops featuring the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 will also be able to block out background noise during video calls, so the other person on the other end shouldn’t be able to hear the howls of your dog or the wailing of you child.
Echo cancellation should also prevent that horrible ringing noise that occurs when you have two laptops close together during a video call.
Disclaimer: Qualcomm has paid for travel and accommodation costs for us to attend the Qualcomm Tech Summit in Hawaii, but this will not affect our judgement on any new products, including the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3