Qual­comm’s Snap­dragon 850 will power next-gen PCs

Computer Shopper - - RANTS & RAVES -

QUAL­COMM IS AIM­ING to make a dent in the lap­top world with its Snap­dragon 850 chip, de­signed for pow­er­ing next-gen­er­a­tion slim and light Win­dows 10 lap­tops.

The chip­maker’s Snap­dragon range is best known for pow­er­ing An­droid smart­phones, so one would ex­pect the Snap­dragon 850 to be a fol­low-on from the flag­ship Snap­dragon 845. But in­stead, it’s a re­worked ver­sion of that sys­tem-on-a-chip that has been tweaked to suit ‘Al­ways Con­nected PCs’ – lap­tops and com­pact Win­dows 10 PCs de­signed to sip power and boot up pretty much in­stantly, and main­tain a mo­bile broad­band con­nec­tion.

Fruits of a part­ner­ship be­tween Mi­crosoft and Qual­comm to get Win­dows 10 run­ning on chips based on ARM in­struc­tion sets and de­signs, rather than the nor­mal x86 ar­chi­tec­ture found in AMD and In­tel pro­ces­sors, the Snap­dragon 850 looks to be the heart of fu­ture slim, light and power-ef­fi­cient lap­tops from the likes of HP, Dell and Len­ovo.

Com­pared to the Snap­dragon 845, which is an im­pres­sively gutsy mo­bile chipset, the Snap­dragon 850 of­fers a 30% sys­tem-wide hike in per­for­mance, ac­cord­ing to Qual­comm. It of­fers up to 1.2Gbit/s of LTE con­nec­tiv­ity speeds and a whop­ping 25 hours of bat­tery life for ma­chines put un­der con­tin­u­ous us­age in what the firm called “nor­mal us­age con­di­tions”.

The first wave of Al­ways Con­nected PCs failed to win wide­spread ac­claim. But with a new chipset specif­i­cally tai­lored for them, there could be an im­pres­sive gen­er­a­tion of light­weight and af­ford­able Win­dows 10 lap­tops in the works to take on Chrome­books, which tend to hold sway at the lower end of the lap­top mar­ket.

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