back to article And the next 7nm laptop processor will be designed by In, er, AM, um, Qualcomm: The 64-bit Arm Snapdragon 8CX

The mobile world is fast on the heels of the laptop world. Qualcomm, the designer of Snapdragon processors primarily for smartphones and tablets, today teased the 8CX: a fanless 64-bit Arm-compatible 7nm system-on-chip for notebooks. The Snapdragon 8CX follows on from the 10nm SD845 and SD850, which were both aimed at Windows …

  1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Surely calling it "CX" is thumbing their nose at Intel by using the name of the 8086's counter register. Sort of "8 and counting..."

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Gimp

    CX

    Or the iconic Citroen of the mid 1970s?

    I prefer the Citroen SM myself =>

  3. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Coat

    Re: CX

    Cellular eXtension?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is "Fast Enough"?

    >For this system-on-chip to succeed, a number of things must come together, in this vulture's opinion. The laptops have to be affordable, the performance has to be good

    For many business users it just has to be fast enough to provide a working Citrix access as work is kept inside the company firewalls. What I want is not just long battery life but also a fan less noise less system.

  5. Waseem Alkurdi

    Re: What is "Fast Enough"?

    Another point:

    Unlockable firmware.

    Secure Boot won't cut it.

  6. doublelayer

    Re: What is "Fast Enough"?

    I agree that it would not be good enough for me to buy one, but I'm afraid that it probably will cut it for the users that don't know what it is and the business users that think these features will make the devices they buy ultrasecure and thus better. Hopefully this doesn't start happening with the next generation of desktops and laptops, but it might.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: What is "Fast Enough"?

    > I'm afraid that it probably will cut it for the users that don't know what it is and the business users that think these features will make the devices they buy ultrasecure and thus better.

    Making the laptop too slow for modern games and apps might limit the desire for loading the laptops with malware or doing work on locally stored data. As long as the Citrix handling is fast and the server is powerful the laptop will fulfill the needs of the company with some indirect added security.

  8. markrand
    Thumb Up

    TDP is a little on the high side for use in a Raspberry PI. But If Mr Upton and his team could work out how to feed it and stop it melting, I'd go for it.

  9. ZSn

    I can't agreee enough, the raspberry pi 4 needs 2GB of memory (I don't think any more is really warranted) and some serious bump in processor. All the other thing that people say they want I can't really justify. The problem is that their rational is that it has to be $35 (or thereabouts) so I doubt that we will get that much of a bump in processor.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Raspberry Pi has a very close relationship with Broadcom, the once arch enemy of Qualcomm. The chances the next Raspberry Pi will be based on a Qualcomm chip is less than small. Also Snapdragons are expensive and documentation is hard to obtain and requires a lot of NDAs.

    That is not to say the chip is bad, in fact it has many good things going for it that I would love to see in the next Raspberry Pi expected early next year such as powerful DSPs, ISPs and GPUs that can drive modern high resolution displays.

  11. werdsmith Silver badge

    Pi also want to keep compatibility across devices, so one OS image will run on any Pi version.

  12. ivan5

    Hopefully it will run other operating systems than slurp 10.

  13. Richard 12 Silver badge

    They will ensure Android will support the chipset, and that means Linux will.

    I don't know if Microsoft are still enforcing the "This Arm is Microsoft's" clauses they added in Windows 8 RT.

  14. Waseem Alkurdi

    They will ensure Android will support the chipset, and that means Linux will.

    Whoa, hold your horses here!

    Who said that Android support means Linux support?

    Qualcomm's Android Linux kernel drivers are proprietary junk tied to Android userspace AND a particular version of the Linux kernel, which is why major Linux kernel versions for one device rarely get upgraded to the next.

    It makes them money to sell devices, not maintain older ones.

  15. Waseem Alkurdi

    Which is why Torvalds won't accept them into mainline AND why you can't just compile Linux mainline and expect it to boot, unlike on a PC.

  16. werdsmith Silver badge

    It's not usually linux support as much as GPU accelerated desktop that is a problem with Android chipsets supporting linux.

  17. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    "The machines seemed to be as responsive as you'd expect an eight-core 2GHz+ Windows 10 PC to be."

    ... was it very or as responsive as Paul Allen? Fluffy (the sentence, not Paul Allen, though he may be currently, with fungus etc.).

  18. Mellipop

    Chrome books?

    I don’t care about Microsoft software.

    And if business/dev needs are to get through a secure pipe to their services then they shouldn’t be bothered about Microsoft software either.

    The 8CX will be great for chromebooks.

  19. trevorde

    If all you ever do is run Chrome...

    ... then get a ChromeBook

  20. Scunner

    Re: If all you ever do is run Chrome...

    Agreed. This chip looks like it might do very well in the underlying guts of said chromebook though.

  21. _LC_
    Thumb Down

    Appalling!

    I’m somewhat appalled to see the press “hyping” a processor, which has been clearly optimized for benchmarks.

    The Snapdragon 855 features eight cores (standard), with only one of them delivering full performance:

    1x 2.84GHz (Cortex A76)

    3x 2.42GHz (Cortex A76)

    4x 1.8GHz (Cortex-A55)

    This is a 1+3+4 design, as opposed to the traditional 4+4.

    There’s 512kb L2 cache on the big core, while there’s “only” 256kb on each of the three middle cores, and 128kb for each of the four small cores.

    On Android, most applications run multiple threads. In other words: This is going to suck and every other chip manufacturer could easily pull the same stunt (which I hope, they won’t).

    Boo!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh, I'll wait for Ryzen 7nm thanks.

  23. Graham Cobb

    Linux workstation?

    I like the idea of my replacement Linux workstation actually being low power and fanless. At the moment I am looking at a traditional big, high-end Ryzen system but maybe I should move all the hard stuff into my big, noisy, power-hungry server and go for a small, quiet and low-power workstation on the desktop instead?

    Any chance it will run off-the-shelf Debian Testing?

  24. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Linux workstation?

    See Waseem's comments above. I'd be very surprised if you could boot any mainstream Linux distro on this unless you are a kernel builder who has signed a slew of NDAs. Eventually, yes, if it lasts long enough in the market, but not now and probably not in 2019 either.

  25. doublelayer

    Re: Linux workstation?

    So use a standard quiet workstation if you want to move everything to the server. Using a new ARM chip that isn't really that inventive won't change much, so the only benefit of it directly is the cellular connection. You can use your phone's hotspot or a USB modem for this, so it's not a major thing. I'll grant that it might be good for battery life, but you said workstation and implied that it's on the desk and connected to the mains, and you can already get pretty good battery life with a minimal Linux on a low-power laptop. Depending on your requirements for local power, you can use the following, in increasing levels of performance and price:

    1. Raspberry pi: It will run debian just fine, provides all standard packages, and can be a perfectly good client for a server.

    2. Those windows 10 mini-PCs with atom processors. They usually run Linux just fine, and provide a few more features than does the pi. The atom isn't great for local work, though.

    3. Those cheap windows laptops, reinstalled and running as a Linux workstation. This gives you portability, a processor that will handle low-end tasks with ease, and the stability of a battery backup.

    4. A NUC or other small computer (most manufacturers have one, and there is one from system76 that was designed specifically for Linux use). This can get you up to an I7, which should be totally fine for most local tasks, especially as you offload to a server for anything bigger than that.

    This chip doesn't provide any useful features for your use case.

  26. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Poo

    If they'd put a Mali GPU on that you could have done some good Arm NN 'AI' crunching on it.

    Probably still can,

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