ARM processors for computers have not yet become widely used. But this does not mean that manufacturers stand still. At the end of 2021, the 5-nanometer Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 for Windows devices was introduced. With the acquisition of Nuvia, Qualcomm will be able to improve the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 quite a bit.
Such a processor will have 12 cores, 8 of which will be productive at a frequency of approximately 3.4 GHz, and four more energy-saving at 2.5 GHz. They are based on the Nuvia Phoenix and will be called Oryon. The processor will also have 12 MB of L2 cache split for the quad-core blocks, 8 MB of L3 cache, 12 MB at the system level and an additional 4 MB for graphics.
First of all, Nuvia worked (and still works) on server solutions, so there is support for a good capacity of RAM – up to 64 GB of LPDDR5X.
The chipset will have Adreno 740 integrated graphics, like the current flagship solution for smartphones. But even here there was place for pleasant news — support for discrete video through 8 lanes of PCIe 4.0. The extra four will be used for NVMe drives, while PCIe 3.0 will be used for communications like modems and Wi-Fi. But without 5G support, as in smartphone chipsets.
Along with this, there will be support for two USB 3.0 and three Thunderbolt 4 with DisplayPort 1.4a. It will even allow for a 5K+4K+4K resolution monitor configuration.
The chipset will be able to decode video up to 4K/120 fps and encode up to 4K/60 fps in various codecs, along with AV1, which is absent from Apple’s M2 chips.
Another interesting possibility is the use of Adreno 740 for machine learning tasks together with the updated Hexagon Tensor Processor, which will provide 45 teraflops in INT8. It’s true that Windows doesn’t currently have proper support, but Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Adobe are working on it.
Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 is expected in 2024 and will be used in Windows laptops and tablets. It is possible that it will also be available in mini-PC formats. The company promises to provide more information about it later this year.