Unnamed sources have reached out to developer Kuba Wojciechowski with an extensive set of specifications for the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 SoC. This is an important processor for the PC industry that promises to deliver a similar impact for Windows PCs to that of Apple Silicon in the MacOS and iOS device universe. The SD 8cx Gen 4 is being developed as the first PC processor that features Arm cores optimized by the Nuvia team, now part of Qualcomm. Nuvia was formed by three senior Apple execs who departed the Cupertino company after the first Apple Silicon (M1) projects had been successfully delivered.
First of all - the CPU.As I previously leaked, the highest model of Hamoa has 8 performance cores and 4 power efficient ones. Qualcomm is testing the chip at ~3.4GHz (performance cores) and ~2.5GHz (efficient cores).January 20, 2023
In brief, Wojciechowski stated that the information he shared back in November, about the codename ‘Hamoa’ desktop PC processor with up to 12 (8P+4E) Nuvia Phoenix-based Oryon cores, still stands. Now he has added that the Performance cores are being tested at around 3.4 GHz, and the Efficiency cores at approximately 2.5 GHz. The cores are clustered in blocks of four, with 12MB of shared L2 cache, and there is also 8MB of L3 cache. Additionally, the SD 8cx Gen 4 design features, 12MB of system cache and 4MB for graphics purposes, according to the Twitter thread.
As ever with leaks, take the news with a pinch of salt until it can be verified.
The extensive leak also suggests that the top model(s) of Qualcomm’s next gen chip for PCs, i.e. those featuring the full complement of 12 cores, will also support discrete GPUs over 8 lanes of PCIe 4.0. Another 4 lanes of PCIe 4.0 can be allocated for NVMe storage use, and PCIe 3.0 is there to support stuff like the Wi-Fi card and/or modem. Apparently, Wi-Fi 7 is supported by the upcoming SoC and those who want cellular connectivity will have an external X65 option. Systems packing an SD 8cx Gen 4 will be able to support up to 64GB of 8-channel LPDDR5x, according to the recent leak.
Another key spec of a Qualcomm SD 8cx Gen 4 powered PC will be the integrated Adreno 740 GPU. This is the same GPU as in the previous Qualcomm processor for Windows on Arm PCs, and its supports APIs like DirectX 12, Vulkan 1.3, OpenCL as well as DirectML - but remember there will be discrete GPU support in top-end configurations.
Some other specs shared include; the support for UFS 4.0 storage, dedicated AI processing with the Hexagon Tensor Processor, and AV1 codec support. I/O support should extend to twin USB3 (10Gbps) ports, plus a trio of USB4 ports which also can be used for video out and up to 5K+4K+4K displays displays.
Wojciechowski estimates that the Qualcomm SD 8cx Gen 4 could mean his big 300W PC could be made redundant by a compact new 100W model. Of course, there will be great benefits to laptop designs too, as long as the Nuvia team lives up to its own hype.
Qualcomm management previously stated that the first Nuvia CPU packing chips would be sampled by device partners towards the end of last year, with devices launching for consumers in late 2023 to early 24.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.
Wow, already slipping to 2024? This better live up to the hype.Reply
I'm really eager to find out just what special tricks they've got up their sleeve, to deliver on such lofty performance claims. I mean, there would really have to be at least a couple fundamental rethinks on how modern CPUs work, if their chart isn't complete fiction.