Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 will power next-gen PCs
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.