Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform with a Razer developer kit
Qualcomm unveiled the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 yesterday on day one of the company’s tech summit. It marks the introduction of a new naming scheme and packs a ton of improvements over last year’s Snapdragon 888 chipset, particularly when it comes to gaming. The new Adreno GPU sports a 30% graphics rendering capability boost while also being 25% more efficient, and there are also a lot of Snapdragon Elite Gaming improvements. Now the company is taking its gaming push a step further, with the announcement of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 gaming platform.
Qualcomm has chipsets for a ton of different devices, and an expansion to gaming was likely always on the cards. Obviously, its most famous chips are those that it makes for smartphones, but it also makes Snapdragon chips for wearables, extended reality (XR) devices, PCs, and even cars. The aim of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 gaming platform is to unite all of the Snapdragon Elite Gaming technologies into one cohesive product. It’s a chipset built purely for gaming, and Qualcomm says that it’s designed to be “the PC gaming rig of mobile games”. It has updateable GPU drivers for game optimizations, true 10-bit HDR gaming, support for external displays up to 4K resolution at 144FPS, USB-C for future XR accessories, and supports game streaming from the cloud, from your PC, and from your console. It has support for Qualcomm’s 5G mmWave Modem-RF system too.
Given the proliferation of gaming on Android, Qualcomm has said that for now, it’s focused exclusively on providing its chipset to Android devices. As a result, this doesn’t look like it will end up turning into an NVIDIA Tegra/Nintendo Switch competitor — yet. Even still, this is the company’s first real push into the gaming market, and it has the potential to grow into a whole lot more into the future. It didn’t go too in-depth about the new chipset’s capabilities, though given that the company designed a developer kit in tandem with Razer, it’s clear that Qualcomm has an idea of the direction it wants to push this in. We’re not entirely sure if the G3x is much faster than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 just yet, but we’ll probably find out more about that in the near future.
Razer Developer Kit — powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon G3x Gen 1
With the launch of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1, Qualcomm unveiled the first developer kit powered by the platform. The company partnered with Razer to build and produce an exclusive development kit with the best hardware you can get in a mobile device. It packs the best of Snapdragon into one powerful handheld device that developers can use and it’s built to be “ergonomically very comfortable” and for use during “really long gaming sessions”. It has active cooling, support for mapping screen presses to buttons and thumbsticks, and it’s the place that Qualcomm says you’ll be able to play “all your games”.
This developer kit will not be available to consumers and is being seeded to developers to provide developers with a way to explore the capabilities of what Qualcomm envisions to be the future of the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1. Qualcomm says that it has to serve the developer community first in order to make them aware of what’s possible, and then OEMs can come along to create hardware that will be sold to consumers around that philosophy.
“Razer is extremely excited to partner with Qualcomm Technologies and support them on their way to introduce new cutting-edge technology to the global gaming industry,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “Together, Qualcomm Technologies and Razer will lead the way with new and innovative solutions that push the boundaries of fidelity and quality available in portable gaming, transforming the way these games are experienced.”
The Razer developer kit has a 6.65-inch 120Hz OLED display in full HD+ resolution and 10-bit HDR support. There’s a built-in 5MP 1080p60 FPS webcam with two microphones which players can make use of for live streaming games online, and there are also four speakers powered by Snapdragon Sound. Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 has the thermal and processing headroom to run games, capture them, composite them with a webcam and microphone, and upload a stream all at once.
The USB-C port can also be used to tether to an XR viewer via USB-C, allowing the device to act as a companion controller. Qualcomm neglected to show much from the device itself, though we imagine that we’ll learn more about it soon as developers get their hands on it.
For now, we can only really speculate about what Qualcomm intends to do with the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1. We also don’t have a clear idea of how much more powerful it is than the regular Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 — if it is at all. Qualcomm describes this as a “next-level” device for mobile gamers, and given that the company also announced a partnership with ESL (Electronic Sports League) with more to come next year, it seems that we may see similar devices to these at the forefront of mobile esports in the future.