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Qualcomm Producing Quad-Core S4 for New Laptop Class

IDG News Service reports that Qualcomm is currently working on a quad-core version of its S4 SoC to be used in a new Windows 8 laptop form factor rivaling Intel's Ultrabook. This new design is expected to be thinner and lighter than Apple's MacBook Air and Intel's Ultrabook, and sport high-resolution screens, longer battery life, always-on connectivity and perhaps even 3D graphics.

"We think much lighter than what Intel calls an ultrabook," said Rob Chandhok, senior vice president at Qualcomm, adding that the lines between high-end smartphones and laptops have started to blur.

Qualcomm typically supplies its Snapdragon SoC for smartphones, but the company is looking to expand out into the PC sector. It has already shipped a few prototype Windows 8-based PCs with Snapdragon chips to developers, but with Intel's mega-push into the mobile PC sector, Qualcomm wants to provide an alternative with built-in 4G support and strong multimedia qualities.

Chandhok didn't provide any specifics about the new form factor. Did one specific party design the spec list (as Intel did), was it Qualcomm's idea, or was it a mutually agreed design across numerous manufacturers? It could possibly be the latter not wanting to rely solely on Intel by offering something similar if not superior. As for the S4 inside, it will be manufactured with a 28nm process for improved power efficiency and performance over earlier Snapdragon chips.

Qualcomm will join Nvidia and Texas Instruments in the Windows 8 race, but hopes to stand out by developing software that plays to Snapdragon's unique multimedia and cellular connectivity features. The company is even considering a 64-bit version of its SoC given Windows 8 will be 64-bit, but Chandhok wouldn't say when that would be released. 64-bit support will automatically be baked right into future ARM-based chips thanks to the upcoming ARMv8 architecture.

The new Ultrabook rival is expected to be released later this year when the second wave of Intel's Ultrabooks begin to splash onto the market. It will also compete against AMD's "Ultra Thin" form factor like the upcoming Asus U82U which sports the E-450 APU housing two Bobcat cores at 1.65 GHz and Radeon HD 6320 graphics.

  • Kamab
    Always good to see more competition.
    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    Not sure if more cores is the answer when something like the Brazos-T rolls in with USB3, SATA 6Gb/s, Radeon HD graphics, etc.

    It will be interesting to see how the MS 'soft GPU driver' plays with ARM.

    The good news is that MS claims an ARM “BSOD” will have a friendlier look.

    :)

    Reply
  • This thing will suck. Sorry... it is slow. Bobcat is >>>> faster. Bobcat is 64 bit. Bobcat has excellent 3D graphics. Bobcat has integration and app support everywhere. Let's not even go into comparing this to IvyBridge. Good grief! This is a bad platform that only curious people will buy due to the price. It will hardly be usable for anything aside from tablet type usage.
    Reply
  • tipoo
    Krait is quite a capable chip in its dual core form, the per-core performance is often double that of the Tegra 3, which itself wasn't that far off from Intels medfeild Atom benchmarks. So a quad core version of Krait should be pretty good, maybe around twice as powerful as todays single core Atoms in a rough guess. For the little power they draw, that's very impressive. Comparing them to chips which draw magnitudes more power (as above) is irrelevant.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    Have fun AMD. I hope your mobile CPU progress doesn't fall apart.
    Reply
  • madjimms
    WrongGuyIIThis thing will suck. Sorry... it is slow. Bobcat is >>>> faster. Bobcat is 64 bit. Bobcat has excellent 3D graphics. Bobcat has integration and app support everywhere. Let's not even go into comparing this to IvyBridge. Good grief! This is a bad platform that only curious people will buy due to the price. It will hardly be usable for anything aside from tablet type usage.You do realize this is ULTRAPORTABLE market & not just laptop right?
    Reply
  • tipoo, not sure where you are seeing those benchmarks. Krait would have to be clocked up REALLY HIGH to be anywhere near ATOM performance much less double. Really greatly exaggerating the performance of that chip IMO. Doubling cores doesn't always equal doubling performance first of all. In fact, it rarely means doubling performance except in rare benchmarks that use 100% CPU utilization across all cores and fit within the L1/L2 cache of each CPU. Secondly, we haven't seen it in any Windows based benchmarks using windows apps so saying it will double ATOM performance even in it's single core form is premature at best. My guess based on the benchmarks I've seen and the likely Windows performance the ARM architecture is likely to have, this chip isn't going to beat an ATOM... unless they clock it up to 3 GHz. Intel just announced the 2 GHz ATOMs though so I'm thinking Intel will still be the performance crown for Windows platforms... even the low powered ones.
    Reply
  • kinggremlin
    said Rob Chandhok, senior vice president at Qualcomm, adding that the lines between high-end smartphones and laptops have started to blur.

    uhh... Better check again on that one. No, they have not.

    There is nothing I do on my smartphone currently that I have ever done on any of my laptops. Smartphones have enabled us to do some things almost anywhere that weren't possible before. However, I have never carried a laptop around with me to do any of those same tasks before I owned a smart phone.
    Reply
  • olaf
    to bad i will run windows 8, if it wont have a touchscreen, wincrap 8 will shoot the S4 in the foot before the race will begin
    Reply
  • Marco925
    Though it might be problematic when none of the software actually runs on the laptop due to CPU architecture differences
    Reply