The Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 is a chip for Always-On Windows 10 on ARM laptops
Qualcomm has been the leading chip maker for mobile devices for some time. As Windows transitions more to hybrid and convertible devices, Microsoft has worked on adding ARM chip support. Qualcomm is now ready to show off the Snapdragon 850, a chip made specifically for modern Windows 10 on ARM devices.
The easiest way to describe the Snapdragon 850 is to think of it as the Snapdragon 845 for laptops/tablets. The 850 is the successor to the first generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC System. Here are the highlights that Qualcomm mentions:
- Always on, always connected
- Beyond all-day battery life
- Sleek, innovative designs
- Windows 10
The “always connected” feature is something Qualcomm is really focusing on. The company stated that Gigabit LTE is now possible for 90% of global operators, and according to QTI Research consumer demand for Gigabit LTE has grown from 38% in 2017 to 60% in 2018. To meet these demands, the Snapdragon 850 and its X20 LTE modem support second-gen Gigabit LTE speeds of 1.2Gbps, and devices featuring the chipset can reportedly attain 20+ hours of multi-day battery life. The 850 chip has much higher TDP and clock speeds than you would find on a smartphone. A phone will hover around 2.5W TDP while a PC can go up to 5W. The Kryo 385 CPU is clocked at 2.96 GHz, while the Snapdragon 835 was clocked at 2.6GHz. The results of the improvements are 30% better performance, 20% increase in battery life, and 20% faster Gigabit LTE speeds. In addition, the Snapdragon 850 includes the same Hexagon 685 DSP as the Snapdragon 845, with its Hexagon Vector Extensions (HVX) for machine learning workloads.
The Windows 10 April Update included more support for ARM systems. The Snapdragon 850 and the April update will enable Windows 10 on ARM devices to use the 64-bit Edge browser, have increased app compatibility, the performance improvements, 30% increase in graphics, HDR support, HiFi audio, and native ARM64 apps. Devices featuring the Snapdragon 850 will also benefit from Qualcomm Aqstic & Qualcomm aptX HD audio for higher-fidelity sound through both wired (3.5mm and Type-C) and wireless connections. Support for UltraHD Premium video playback is also a great perk considering the larger form factor this chipset targets.
The Snapdragon 850 is built on the 10nm process just like the Snapdragon 835. Qualcomm is hoping this new chip will power the new generation of mobile, always connected PC devices. Smartphones are typically powered on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Always there giving us notifications at a glance. People don’t think about computers in the same way, but Qualcomm and Microsoft are hoping to change that. The Snapdragon 850 should bring some of the features we take for granted in smartphones over to the PC. Qualcomm expects Windows 10 devices powered by the 850 to be available later this year.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform Specs
|Cellular Modem||Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE modem|
|CPU||Qualcomm Kryo 385 built on Arm® Cortex™ technology|
|Adreno Subsystem||Qualcomm Adreno 630 Visual Processing Subsystem|
|DSP||Qualcomm Hexagon685 DSP|
|Camera||Qualcomm Spectra 280 Image Signal Processor|
|WiFi||Qualcomm Wi-Fi 802.11ad Multi-gigabit|