When buying a new Windows laptop, one of your first decisions will be which processor you’d prefer.
You might think of this as a straight fight between Intel and AMD, but there’s a third main option that’s worth considering.
Qualcomm, a company known for its smartphone chips, has been making laptop equivalents since 2019. These ARM-based chipsets include both CPU and GPU components, and have already been included in devices from the likes of Microsoft, Samsung and Lenovo.
A fourth version of the flagship Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform isn’t likely for a while yet, but we already have a fairly good idea what to expect. Here’s everything you need to know.
When will Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 laptops be released?
Qualcomm usually launches new flagship laptop chips towards the end of the year, but there’s often more than 12 months between releases. Here’s when they’ve been announced in the past:
With no sign of it last year, it’s likely we’ll see the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 before 2023 is out. Aside from the pandemic-affected 2020, Qualcomm usually launches new products at an event in November or December.
A late 2023 announcement would therefore seem likely, but that’s only guesswork at this stage. Leaker Kuba Wojciechowski said in a November 2022 tweet that an upcoming ‘Hamoa’ chip would arrive in 2024 – that’s thought to be the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4.
Either way, the first Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 laptops will probably not arrive until 2024.
Which laptops will use the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4?
It’s difficult to say at this stage, but it’s likely we’ll see updated models of the four devices which use the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. These are:
- Lenovo ThinkPad X13s
- Huawei MateBook E Go (Wi-Fi model only)
- Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360
- Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (custom ‘SQ3’ version)
The Windows Dev Kit 2023 also uses the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, but it’s designed for a desktop setup and not aimed at consumers.
It’s possible that some of the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 devices will also make a reappearance:
- Acer Spin 7
- HP Elite Folio
- Samsung Galaxy Book Go 5G
- Microsoft Surface Pro X (custom ‘SQ2’ version)
Alongside the brands mentioned above, Asus is the only other company to have hinted at a Microsoft partnership in the past. Hopefully the upgrades are compelling enough to get more manufacturers on board.
What will the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 specs be?
There’s only one main source of information so far, but it reveals a lot. Leaker Kuba Wojciechowski claims to have received lots of key details about the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4, and there’s certainly a lot to unpack from his January 2023 Twitter thread:
Key takeaways include the most powerful chip being equipped with eight performance cores and four efficiency cores. During internal testing, Qualcomm is apparently getting 3.5GHz (performance) and 2.5GHz (efficiency) clock speeds – but its maximum is likely to be significantly higher.
Those 12 CPU cores are supposedly split into blocks of four, with each having 12MB of L2 cache and 8MB of L3 cache. The total system cache apparently stands at 12MB, while there’s an additional 4Mb for graphical output.
Wojciechowski says there’ll be support for up to 64GB of integrated DDR5 RAM. But there’ll supposedly be no upgrade to the integrated GPU – Adreno 740, the same one used in the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2. However, the high-end 12-core version will also support discrete GPUs.
In terms of connectivity, the 8cx Gen 4 will supposedly be updated to the new WiFi 7 standard. It’s expected to be available at some point in 2023, ahead of the initial early 2024 schedule.
Just remember, this is the only source of information we have so far. Wojciechowski has a decent track record for leaks, but that doesn’t mean everything mentioned will make its way into the final product.
The only thing we can be pretty much certain of is 5G support, but an upgrade to the 8cx Gen 3’s Bluetooth 5.1 would make sense. Bluetooth 5.4 is expected at some point in 2023, but Qualcomm may opt for the current 5.3 instead.
We’ll update this article once more is revealed about the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4. For news on Qualcomm’s next mobile chipset, see our guide to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
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