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Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 aims to create faster Arm PCs

The company is hoping to further close the gap between Arm PCs and those running on Intel or AMD chips.

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 aims to boost its PC prowess. 

After announcing its new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip on Tuesday, Qualcomm on Wednesday turned its focus to PCs, introducing two chips: a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor designed for Windows machines and a 7c+ chip for affordable Windows and Chromebook computers. 

With the 8cx, the company touts that its new 5-nanometer chips will provide "up to" 85% faster CPU and 60% faster GPU performance. Qualcomm touts that the new GPU on the 8cx will support full HD gaming with 120 frames per second and is "optimized to allow users to game up to 50% longer than certain competing platforms." The company also touts that its new chip is capable of "multiday" battery life. 

An updated Spectra image signal processor will allow for up to four cameras on a device, can record up to 4K HDR and support resolutions of up to 24 megapixels. The new Spectra also supports Qualcomm's latest algorithms for auto focus, auto white balance and auto exposure. Booting up the camera is also up to 15% faster than Qualcomm's previous chips. 

Audio upgrades include using artificial intelligence to help with noise suppression and canceling out echos to help keep out background noises on Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls. 


The Qualcomm 8cx Gen 3. 


The new processor can support downloads over 5G at up to 10 gigabits per second when paired with Qualcomm's latest X65 modem. The 8cx Gen 3 can also be paired with the company's X55 modem (with max 5G download speeds of 7.5Gbps) or Snapdragon X62 (max of 4.4Gbps). 

The lower-tier 7c+ Gen 3 is aimed at more affordable "entry-tier" Windows and Chromebook machines. The company claims the new 6-nanometer chip will be cable of up to 60% faster CPU performance and up to 70% faster GPU performance than its previous generation. An integrated X53 5G modem will be capable of 5G downloads at up to 3.7Gbps. It did not make any boasts for camera or audio upgrades. 

Both new chips come as Qualcomm prepares for a more radical overhaul of its processors towards the end of 2022 and into 2023. Last month Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon teased that a more significant improvement to its processors will arrive in 2023 when products running on new chips developed in part by its acquisition of Nuvia, a two-year-old startup previously run by former Apple executives, begin to hit the market.

Those chips, Qualcomm execs say, will be a better rival to Apple's latest M-series laptops that run on its own silicon. 

Qualcomm says that devices with the new 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen 3 are expected to be available starting in the first half of 2022.