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Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 gives Windows 10 a 5G-ready rival to Apple Silicon

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Intel may have shown off its newest chips for ultraportable notebooks yesterday, but today Qualcomm is aiming to eclipse that with the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G Compute Platform. The latest iteration of the chip-maker’s high-end ARM architecture for always-connected laptops and 2-in-1s, it promises 5G as standard, along with not just hours but days of battery life.

It was a beguiling idea from the outset, though the actual market of ARM-based notebooks rather than x86 variants using Intel and AMD processors is still on the slim side. That may get a nudge overall as Apple Silicon arrives in new MacBooks, with Qualcomm’s chipsets offering Windows notebook-makers a similar opportunity.

As the name suggests, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 is the second-generation of the chipset Qualcomm first announced late in 2018. Like before, it taps the company’s experience in making processors for smartphones and tablets, where battery size is generally limited and yet demands for CPU and GPU, connectivity, and more recently AI and machine learning have only been increasing.

For the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, then, there’s now a 50-percent bump in performance system-wide compared to what Qualcomm considers its rivals. That’s courtesy of the Kryo 495 octa-core CPU, paired with LPDDR4x 8-channel memory and NVMe SSD UFS 3.0 storage. Battery life is up to 25 continuous hours, and there’s Adreno graphics which can drive up to 4K HDR 120fps video playback.

The chipset supports up to a 4K Ultra HD display on-device, and can drive two external 4K displays over DP-MST too. Up to a 32-megapixel camera can be supported. It also uses Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+ for more rapid charging over a USB-C connection.

For wireless connectivity, it’s the Snapdragon X55 doing the heavy lifting. That gives Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 based notebooks both Sub-6 and mmWave 5G, for maximum downloads of 7 Gbps (network-depending, of course) and upload rates of up to 3 Gbps. It supports FDD, TDD, SA, and NSA. There’s also WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Other recent improvements we’ve seen from Snapdragon-based phones are making their way to notebooks, too. Given just how many video calls most people are on these days, Qualcomm Aqstic echo cancelation and noise-suppression will probably come in handy, for example.

First up to use the new chipset will be the Acer Spin 7, and it’s promising to take full advantage of Qualcomm’s capabilities. A convertible notebook, it’ll be just shy of 3.1 pounds in weight and 15.9mm thick, but have 5G, run Windows 10 Pro on a 14-inch display, and deliver “multi-day battery life” the company says when it goes on sale late in 2020.

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12 Best Uses For Old Laptops

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Have one (or several) old laptops lying around your home? What you actually have is a productivity master waiting to reach its full potential

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Realme’s Next Premium Tablet Looks To Have An Unusual Design

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Even though we still have six days before the Realme Pad X launches in China, some of the specs of the Realme Pad X have already been confirmed by Realme’s CMO Xu Qi Chase, GSMArena claims. We know that this mid-range tablet will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset. This also means that the Realme Pad X will become the first Realme tablet to feature 5G connectivity. While the CMO did not reveal the rest of the specs, there’s been rumors about the likelihood of the Realme Pad fetting a QHD+ display that could also support a 120 Hz refresh rate.

From the images, it is also evident that the Realme Pad X gets a single rear-facing camera that is situated on an unusually large camera bump. There is a smaller circle below the rear camera with a prominent “AI” logo. The tablet also skips an LED flash for low-light situations.

Designwise, the Realme Pad looks like a contemporary tablet with small bezels and flat sides. One of the invites also showcases the Realme Pad X being used with a stylus. It remains to be seen if this accessory will be part of the retail package or an optional extra. With the launch date for this product a week away, there is a good chance that we could have additional details about the Realme Pad X before the official launch.

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Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Revealed As The Heart Of Your Next Android Flagship Phone

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Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor continues to be based on a 4nm manufacturing process — albeit this time from TSMC. This change has allowed Qualcomm to increase the GPU and CPU clock speeds by up to 7%. The result is that the Prime Cortex X2 is now clocked at 3.2 GHz (as opposed to 3 GHz on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1). Similarly, the 3x Cortex A710 core now clocks at 2.8 GHz (compared to 2.5 GHz earlier).

Then we have the 4x Cortex A-510 efficiency cores that also see a jump from 1.8 GHz to 2 GHz. While Qualcomm is yet to reveal the clock speeds for the Adreno GPU on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1, they already claim a 10% higher clock speed in the promotional materials.

The rest of the hardware on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is similar to that of its predecessor — and this includes the X65 integrated modem as well. The new chip continues to support 3200 MHz LPDDR5 RAM, and the ISP used is the same, with support for 200 MP resolution, 8K video capture, and 64 MP burst capture. In terms of encoding, the chip retains support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG. A glaring omission, this time around too, is the lack of support for the AV1 codec.

In simpler terms, apart from the faster performance on account of the supposedly better manufacturing process, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 does not add anything over its predecessor in terms of additional features.

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