Surface of Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 specs, powerful processor promise, external GPU support
At the end of 2021, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, the first 5nm chipset for Windows on ARM devices. It used ARM-designed cores, so its performance isn’t too different from its Android-powered siblings. But soon, Qualcomm’s acquisition of Nuvia will pay off with the 8cx Gen 4.
As previous rumors have reported, the company is working on a 12-core chip. According to Kuba Wojciechowski, these will be divided into 8 performance cores (~3.4 GHz) and 4 efficiency cores (~2.5 GHz). They are based on Nuvia’s Phoenix design and will use the “Oryon” trade name (rather than “Kryo” like current Android chips).
The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 will be one hell of a beast. Wojciechowski reports that there will be 12MB of shared L2 cache for every block of 4 cores, plus 8MB of L3 cache, 12MB of system-level cache, and an additional 4MB for graphics.
Up to 64 GB of LPDDR5X RAM will be supported in an 8-channel configuration running at 4.2 GHz. Nuvia originally designed chips for servers (it still does) and these usually have a lot of RAM.
The chipset will have the Adreno 740 onboard, the same GPU as the 8 Gen 2. However, an external GPU will be supported with 8 lanes of PCIe 4.0 (as a reminder, v4.0 is twice as fast as PCIe 3.0 ).
There will be 4 additional PCIe 4.0 lanes (which can also be configured as two 2x lanes) for NVMe drives, although 2-lane UFS 4.0 storage (up to 1TB) is also supported as an option less expensive. The chip will also have additional PCIe 3.0 lanes for peripherals like a Wi-Fi card or modem. The 8cx Gen 4 will not have 5G built-in (unlike its Android counterpart).
The wired connectivity options seem outstanding. The chip supports two 10Gbps USB 3 ports, plus three USB 4 (Thunderbolt 4) ports with DisplayPort 1.4a. The latter will allow it to drive a three-monitor setup, 5K + 4K + 4K.
Some additional information. The Adreno 740 will be usable for machine learning tasks, as will the upgraded Hexagon Tensor processor, which can deliver up to 45 TOPS in INT8. The tricky part will be getting support for Windows, but Qualcomm is working with Microsoft and Adobe to figure that out.
The chipset will apparently support video decoding up to 4K/120fps and encoding up to 4K/60fps in various codecs, including AV1 (which Apple’s M2 chips lack).
The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 is expected in 2024 and should power Windows laptops and tablets (and possibly mini PCs). Qualcomm has promised to reveal more official details about the new chip later this year.
Source | Via