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Qualcomm's Next-Gen Snapdragon 8cx Rivals Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake in Early Benchmarks

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The first benchmark results for Qualcomm's 3rd Generation Snapdragon 8cx system-on-chip (SoC) for always-connected PCs has been posted to the Geekbench 5 database. The numbers show the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 beating its predecessors and even competing with Intel's latest 11th Gen Core i7 "Tiger Lake" mobile chip in multi-threaded workloads. 

Qualcomm has been fairly consistent in updating its Snapdragon 8cx family of SoCs for notebooks annually. This year, the company is expected to launch its third-generation Snapdragon 8cx chip, which is rumored to significantly change its architecture. Instead of integrating four high-performance CPU cores and four low-power ones, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is expected to pack eight high-performance cores working at different clock speeds, omitting low-power cores. This should improve performance, but it's unclear whether the chip will match its predecessor's 7W thermal envelope.

Qualcomm yet has to formally announce its Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, but someone has already submitted test results of a Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) platform running the new SoC to the Geekbench database, as spotted by NotebookCheck.

Just like other notebook development platforms, QRD platforms are meant for developers of hardware and software, so performance usually differs from that of retail products. Nonetheless, such platforms still tend to give a good hint of what to expect from new chips. 

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Benchmarks

CPUSingle-CoreMulti-CoreCores/Threads, uArchCacheClocksTDP
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3*9824,9184C Kryo Gold+ + 4C Kryo Gold? MB2.69 GHz?
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 27953,0504C Kryo 495 Gold + 4C Kryo 495 Silver? MB3.15 GHz + 2.42 GHz7W
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 17252,8844C Kryo 495 Gold + 4C Kryo 495 Silver? MB2.84 GHz + 1.80 GHz7W
AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS1,5408,2258C/16T, Zen 316MB3.30 ~ 4.53 GHz35W
AMD Ryzen 9 4900H1,2307,1258C/16T, Zen 28MB3.30 ~ 4.44 GHz35~54W
Intel Core i7-1160G71,4005,0004C/8T, Willow Cove12MB2.10 ~ 4.40 GHz15W
Intel Core i7-1185G71,5505,6004C/8T, Willow Cove12MB3.0 ~ 4.80 GHz28W
Apple M11,7107,6604C Firestorm + 4C Icestorm12MB + 4MB3.20 GHz20~24W

*Chip not confirmed by Qualcomm

The  Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 showed notably higher results in single-thread workloads when compared to previous generations. It was 35% faster than the 8cx Gen 1 and 24% faster than the 8cx Gen 2. We don't yet know the frequency of the 8cx Gen 3's cores for sure, but it appears that the 8cx Gen 3 packs something better than Qualcomm's Kryo 495 Gold (a custom version of Arm's Cortex-A76). 

On the other hand, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3's performance paled in comparison  to chips from AMD and Intel competing with the best CPUs for desktops. The latest Zen 3 and Willow Core microarchitectures can run at higher clocks and consume more power. Meanwhile, Apple's M1 beat Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 (at least in its current form) in single-threaded workloads by 74%.

When it came to performance in multi-threaded workloads, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 clearly benefits from eight high-performance cores (albeit running at different clocks) inside. The new SoC outperformed the 8cx Gen 2 by over 60% and is on par with Intel's four-core, eight-thread Core i7-1160G7, a 15W SoC. 

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 tested couldn't compete with the higher-wattage Apple M1 and AMD's Ryzen SoCs, but systems based on Qualcomm's 8cx platforms are not really meant to compete against higher-end machines in terms of performance.

Overall, the benchmark results show the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 demonstrating single-thread and multi-thread performance improvements in a synthetic benchmark. Of course, it remains to be seen how commercial devices based on the new SoC will stack up against rivals in real-world applications.