Expected to be presented later this year, the alleged Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 received a series of new information through developer Kuba Wojciechowski – also responsible for details of the platform that previously leaked. The news corroborates what had been pointed out in the past, indicating that the chip developed to rival the Apple M2 should be even closer to traditional PC processors, incorporating very robust connectivity and even support for dedicated GPUs.
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According to information, codenamed Hamoa, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 — a name reinforced by Kuba — should embark on a series of important improvements, starting with the CPU. There will be 12 cores, against 8 of the previous generation, in a more robust configuration with 8 high performance cores running at up to 3.4 GHz and 4 high efficiency cores operating at up to 2.5 GHz, designed by Nuvia, the startup made up of former engineers from AMD, Apple, Intel and other giants bought by Qualcomm in 2021.
These cores would also receive a much more robust set of caches, with 12MB of L2 cache shared with each group of 4 cores, with 8MB of L3 cache and 12MB of system cache, as well as 4MB for the GPU. Turbocharged, the RAM system would support up to 64 GB LPDDR5X in 8 channels, bringing optimizations to run with lower consumption and transfer rates that could reach 4,200 MT/s.
In terms of graphics, the 8cx Gen 4 would embark on curious choices: the integrated GPU would be the Adreno 740, the same solution as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Despite being focused on smartphones, the graphics chip is powerful, supporting features such as hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing, and would receive tweaks to support more graphics APIs important to the Windows ecosystem such as DirectX 12, Vulkan 1.3, OpenCL and DirectML for Artificial Intelligence workloads.
More interesting than that, the platform would receive support for dedicated video cards with 8 PCIe 4.0 lanes — in practice, this means that we could see laptops with Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 associated with GPUs from brands like AMD and Nvidia, for users who need greater graphics power or support for more specific features, such as CUDA acceleration from the GeForce family.
Storage and connectivity are other departments that received significant upgrades: Qualcomm is expected to provide 4 PCIe 4.0 lanes for NVMe SSDs, although there is an option for up to 1 TB of the more efficient UFS 4.0. There will be Wi-Fi 7 support, with the company recommending the use of an external Snapdragon X65 modem, plus a variety of user ports, including two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps and three USB 4 compatible with Thunderbolt 4 (40 Gbps), and equipped with integrated DisplayPort 1.4a protocol for external monitors.
Touching precisely on this point, the developer explains that the chipset should be an attractive option for those using setups with multiple screens, as it would be able to support a configuration of 5K + 4K + 4K screens simultaneously, or training that requires similar bandwidth, as a single 4K display with a higher refresh rate. Despite that, it is in video encoding and decoding where some of the main improvements would be.
The new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 structures could play videos at up to 4K at 120 Hz, and render productions at up to 4K at 60 Hz, using the promising AV1 codec in both cases. According to Kuba, advanced video encoding is one of Apple Silicon’s biggest differentiators, and bringing a robust solution like this to Snapdragon could make Windows On ARM laptops finally become more competitive for this type of task.
The company closes the package with a special focus on Artificial Intelligence, with a dedicated Hexagon processor updated to provide up to 45 TOPs for data in INT8 format — in comparison, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 delivers 29 TOPs, which would symbolize a jump of more than 55 % performance in this type of acceleration. This point in particular is one of the most credible to the information, when we consider that Qualcomm, Adobe and Microsoft announced a partnership to improve the use of AI in future Snapdragons.
Developed to rival the Apple M2, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4 is expected to debut later this year during the Snapdragon Summit. An annual event prepared to present new platforms, the conference has not yet been set but, if the schedule of previous years is maintained, we can expect a window between the months of November and December.