In December 2016, Microsoft and Qualcomm announced plans for Windows 10 to run on an ARM chip, and promised to try to catch up and surpass Intel x86. A year later, the notebook with the Snapdragon 835 processor was introduced, but due to poor performance, it was not approved. However, Qualcomm said that when consumers are asked which features they will pay for, 60% of people said Gigabit LTE, and 83% said they have more than 20 hours of battery life.
The Dragon 850 for Windows 10
Alex Katouzian, senior vice president and general manager of mobile services at Qualcomm, said: “Based on the always-on, always-connected PC portfolio we launched in the past year, we are very pleased to partner with Samsung to provide real mobility to consumers. , and combined with the productivity and entertainment features of Windows 10."
The Xiaolong 850 is based on the Xiaolong 845 mobile platform. It also uses 10nm technology and integrates Qualcomm's artificial intelligence engine AIE. However, Xiaolong 845 is designed for mobile phones, mainly for Android's flagship mobile phone, Xiaolong 850 is designed for Windows 10 PC. Both mobile platforms include the same eight 10nm Kryo 385 cores, but the Snapdragon 850 has a clock speed of 2.96GHz instead of 2.8GHz.
For image processing, Xiaolong 850 also integrates Adreno 630 GPU, supporting 4K Ultra HDvideoPlayback, HEVC video encoding (1080p @ 120Hz) and more. The Snapdragon 850 also integrates the Spectra 280 image processor, but it's curious that it only supports 4K @ 30fp video, and the Snapdragon 845, which also integrates the Spectra 280, supports 4K @ 60fps.
In communications, the X20 4G LTE modem, like the CellCon 845, means a maximum downlink rate for the 1.2Gbps. For comparison, the X16 modem in CellCellor 835 is 1 Gbps. Unfortunately, most operators do not currently offer any products close to this feature, but Qualcomm says that as long as 90 percent of the licensed frequency band of 10MHz can implement the gigabit LTE network speed. Wi-Fi, It supports 802.11ad Multi-gigabit, integrates 802.11ac 2 × 2 MU-MUMOand supports 2.4G / 5G / 60GHz band.
In simple terms, the Snapdragon 850 has better performance, better endurance performance, and more powerful connectivity. Qualcomm said that devices equipped with new chipsets will begin shipping in the 2018 shopping season.
Arm architecture chips can challenge x86 architecture chips?
Since the Snapdragon 835-based Windows 10 notebook has already been launched in 2017, and the Snapdragon 850 specifically built for Window10 has also been officially launched, does this mean that the ARM-based CPU will grab the Intel market in the PC market? Last week, Arm announced the launch of its next-generation CPU architecture Cortex-A76. In an interview with the media, Mike Filippo, chief architect of Arm, said that he expects the Cortex-A76-based hardware to be available before 2019 and that its performance is roughly the same as that of the Core i5-7300. He also expects the performance of the Cortex-A76 to compete even with the Core i7.
The reason why Intel’s topic in the PC field can be surpassed can attract more attention. The reason for this may be that some people are eager to learn whether Intel (or the entire semiconductor industry) has said the truth.Over the years, Intel and various organizations have pointed out that the stagnation of CPU performance is not a problem for Intel, but because the characteristics of silicon make it impossible to not support clock frequencies above 4.5 GHz, and the simplest and best way to increase CPU performance is to increase Clock frequency. At the same time, applying CPUs to low-power devices is also a real problem for Intel. Although we have already discussed that this is more of a business decision than a capacity issue, some people think that Intel refuses to design high-performance microprocessors. The cause of the CPU performance is stagnant.
The gap between Intel and Arm in the simulation software may be too big to break through (data provided by Techspot)
Of course, there is evidence that the rationality of this argument, like Qualcomm, Apple also has a leading position in the field of Arm chips. The industry has rumors that Apple wants to abandon the Intel CPU and instead design its own laptop processor based on the Arm architecture. The introduction of Cortex-A76 also proved that Intel or x86 architecture may hinder the improvement of CPU performance. If you look at it this way, Intel's long-term advantage in advanced processes may be to mask the x86 architecture that will be exposed.
How will the future change? Some people think that Intel is improving its performance, while others think its power consumption can be greatly improved. In any case, the new calculation method driven by Arm may prove to be better than the Intel x86 architecture, or it will open the door to new computing.
Arm builds a better SoC
To discuss this issue, we define “better” as “matching CPU performance that meets or exceeds requirements when battery life meets user needs”. In order to truly threaten Intel's advantage in this market, non-x86 CPUs need to prove at least one of these advantages.
If Arm can achieve it, it may overturn the entire PC industry. This will also make those who insist on the laws of physics more or less foolish, and overturn previous research on the impact of the instruction set architecture on CPU performance. However, even if a SoC with better performance and power consumption than Intel is built under Windows system, there is still the problem of backward compatibility and simulation. The Snapdragon 835 did a good job in this area. The 32-bit x86 performance simulated under Windows 10 helps to meet the necessary compatibility requirements, making these systems attractive, but its performance has not yet reached the level of the x86 architecture. This does not help any use of 64-bit software.
As Microsoft has learned in Windows RT, software compatibility is a non-negligible problem that, if not handled properly, may make attractive products that have lost their appeal. Although software compatibility issues and hardware performance are separate, in order to gain market share, these two issues must be solved at the same time. To enter Intel's core area to compete with it means that the attractiveness needs to be large enough. To make consumers willing to tolerate software incompatibility issues, the appeal of other aspects must be very large. So Arm is still trying to build a CPU core that is better than the Intel x86 CPU to be able to beat Intel when running simulation code.
However, the overall impact of the Cortex-A76 on the existing x86 ecosystem is not significant. Improvements in the Arm architecture are promising to improve the performance of the Arm chip, which helps attract more Windows 10 computers to use the Arm processor, and because Arm has not really occupied the market share of the laptop, any gains in this regard are for the company. favorable.However, I believe that the limitation of physical factors is the key to the limitation of CPU performance, rather than a more intelligent instruction set architecture or a better caching strategy. It is still a daunting task to weaken Intel’s share in the desktop and laptop market. However, the Arm chip's Windows 10 notebook is still worth the wait.