Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen 3 Compute platforms

The premium and mid-range chips will power Windows PCs and Chromebooks

Following up on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 announcement (and its creepy always-on camera capabilities), Qualcomm kicked off the second day of its annual Tech Summit in Hawaii by announcing two new Snapdragon Compute platforms for PCs.

First up, there’s the headliner Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 Compute Platform (what a mouthful) aimed at premium-tier PCs. There’s also the Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 (also a mouthful) targeting more affordable devices.

Qualcomm touts the 8cx Gen 3 as the world’s first 5nm Windows PC platform, claiming it offers “best-in-class performance and efficiency.” Overall, Qualcomm says the 8cx Gen 3 offers up to 85 percent generational performance uplift and up to 60 percent greater performance-per-watt over “the competitive x86 platform.”

Digging into the fine print on this one, however, Qualcomm based the comparison on a GeekBench 5 multi-thread test comparing the company’s reference device to “commercial competitive devices.” Unfortunately, the company didn’t list which chips it compared to. Further, GeekBench tests alone don’t reveal much, and benchmarks seldom tell the whole story when it comes to performance. Many of these caveats apply to Qualcomm’s other performance claims, so it’s worth keeping them in mind and not putting too much stock in what Qualcomm says until reviewers can put the 8cx Gen 3 through its paces.

Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 boasts improved GPU performance

Onto the GPU, Qualcomm boasts a 60 percent performance increase from the Adreno GPU in the 8cx Gen 3 compared to the previous generation. Practically, the new platform supports gaming at full HD (FHD, which typically means 1080p) at up to 120fps. Qualcomm says it’s also optimized to allow people to game up to 50 percent longer “than certain competing platforms” — Qualcomm ran this test using Big Rumble Boxing.

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 sports Qualcomm’s ‘Spectra’ image signal processor (ISP) with support for up to 4K HDR camera quality, enabling faster camera start-up times and improved autofocus, auto white balance and auto exposure. There’s also Qualcomm’s Noise and Echo Cancellation tech, part of the Qualcomm Voice Suite, that leverages AI enhancements to improve voice quality on calls.

Finally, the 8cx Gen 3 brings improvements to AI performance, security and connectivity. That last part includes support for Snapdragon X55, X62 and X65 5G Modem-RF systems, which means manufacturers can offer devices with the chip and powerful 5G capabilities. Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900 system is also present, enabling Wi-Fi 6 and 6E and better Bluetooth functionality.

Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 offers performance improvements, integrated 5G

As for Qualcomm’s mid-level Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, it boasts improved performance, AI capabilities and more.

Qualcomm says the 6nm 7c+ Gen 3 is “purpose-built” for Windows and Chromebook with 60 percent faster CPU and 70 percent faster GPU performance.

Aside from improved performance, the 7c+ Gen 3 also sports an integrated Snapdragon X53 5G Modem-RF system. The X53 supports mmWave and Sub-6 and boasts download speeds of up to 3.7Gbps. Moreover, Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6700 system offers Wi-Fi 6 and 6E support with speeds up to 2.9GBps.

Qualcomm says both chips are set to launch in the first have of 2022. You can learn more about the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 here or the 7c+ Gen 3 here.