Snapdragon 850 unveiled: Windows-on-ARM gets a speed and battery boost

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

As we reported few days back, Qualcomm today officially announced the Snapdragon 850 mobile platform for Windows 10 Always Connected PCs. That's good news on paper, but we can't jump to any conclusions before we've had the chance to actually spend some time with a Snapdragon 850 machine. We had seen a glimpse of that in December previous year, when alongside the announcement of the current gen smartphone flagship chipset - the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm also showcased some laptops running Windows 10, which were based on the Snapdragon 835 platform.

Let's talk about the major differences.

Qualcomm had previously tried their hand at powering laptops based on their Snapdragon 835 chip with mixed results. The difference in naming is mostly to separate the chip options for mobile PCs from mobile phones and tablets, though there are modest performance changes because of higher clock speeds on the Kryo CPU.

Now, the increase of +150MHz Turbo on the larger cores may not seem like much, but remember, the systems we've seen in-market thus far are all based on the Snapdragon 835.




These performance increases come thanks to Qualcomm tuning its 2nd generation 10nm process, specifically for computing and making improvements to power delivery. The GPU architecture also gets a bump, from the Adreno 540 to 630 family, though it's a little less clear what this entails.

The chip is essentially a Snapdragon 845, the chip found in high-end Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9, but beefed up slightly so it is suitable for use in PCs. Cortana is already accelerated on the new Hexagon DSP, but apparently support for other assistants is in the works. In Microsoft's case that will particularly focus on Cortana, though developers will be able to tap into chip level processing for their own machine learning requirements.

The Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform is a needed step in Qualcomm's journey towards competitive performance and revolutionary feature integration for Windows PCs.

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