Intel is suffering a whole assault and its throne as the absolute king of computer CPUs is being seriously threatened by AMD in the desktop segment and now Qualcomm in the mobile space. Interestingly, it is also happening in a similar way. In this sense, both AMD with Ryzen chips squeezes strongly in the war of the cores and Qualcomm raising its octacore Snapdragon SoCs oriented to mobile devices, laptops and tablets. The 8cx is the last and best attempt to overthrow Intel from its throne, but not the last: we face the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx vs. Intel Core i5.
Qualcomm can be a serious rival in the mobile segment, but Always Connected Windows laptops with Snapdragon 835 and 850 chips have had bittersweet results. Maybe your new Snapdragon 8cx can prove to be more capable and to find out, we have compared the Snapdragon 8cx with the Intel Core i5 CPUs to see how they behave. Both Intel and Qualcomm chips combine the CPU and GPU cores into a single chip, so we will see the performance of each processor segment individually and consider its cost and efficiency as well.
The Snapdragon 8cx equips the latest generation of Qualcomm Kryo 495 octa-core CPU, which has eight cores to work with, four of which will be of lower power and will operate when efficiency is more important than performance. In comparison, Intel Core i5 CPUs for mobile devices tend to offer two or four cores, sometimes with support for doubling the number of threads using Hyperthreading technology.
The new Qualcomm chip is based on a 7 nm process: a node that has provided AMD with great improvements with its desktop chips. Intel continues to focus primarily on 14nm, but it has a series of new 10nm-equipped laptops that use its new Ice Lake CPU generation.
While we don't know exactly how Qualcomm's 8cx can be seen with the new Ice Lake CPUs, we know the excellent performance with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU. Qualcomm provided some performance results for a new version of PCMark in Computex 2019 thanks to its alliance with UL Benchmarks (formerly Futuremark), giving us an idea of the good behavior of its new 8cx compared to a popular Intel mobile CPU.
In an application test bed that analyzes the performance in Microsoft Office applications and the Edge browser, the Snapdragon 8cx super to the Intel chip in PowerPoint, Word and Edge, although I significantly lost positions in Excel by more than 10 percent, ( although in the other tests it had an impressive advantage of between three and 16 percent). That is doubly impressive, because the ARM CPU was technically emulating Office, instead of running it natively, as Windows Central points out.
We don't know at what clock speed the new Kryo CPU cores will work, but Intel usually always operates better than Qualcomm chips in this area. The high-power CPU cores in the Snapdragon 850 reached a maximum clock speed of 2.96GHz, while the 8250U in the previous tests runs at 3.4GHz.
Assuming that the new CPU cores of the Snapdragon 8cx are faster and faster than past iterations, they may offer performance similar to that of Intel Core i5 with AMD Ryzen CPUs. In that race Intel stands out in single-thread tasks, but it matches performance in multi-threaded scenarios. This may have been evidenced during a graph test in Computex, in which the Intel 8250U maintained a higher CPU rating than Snapdragon.
Intel is not especially known for its sensational performance in HD graphics or its graphics are as competitive as the Nvidia GTX 1050, but all in all, its performance is acceptable and allow the user certain licenses in games.
Unfortunately the brand of the 8cx GPU watch, but Qualcomm has given us some details to get an idea of its performance potential. It is said that the core of the Adreno 680 GPU is the fastest GPU that Qualcomm has produced, with up to twice the performance and 60 percent more energy efficiency than the Snapdragon 850, also being compatible with the latest API DirectX12 .
In the graphics tests carried out in Computex 2019 against Intel 8250U with its Intel UHD 620 graphics core, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx had a superior performance: in PCMark 10 Night Raid it achieved a graphics score of up to 6,266, while the Intel chip He could only reach a score of 5,831. This represents a more than 20 percent increase in performance for the Snapdragon SoC and amounts to a difference of 29 FPS for the Intel chip (in the best case), compared to the 37 FPS for Snapdragon.
These are impressive results that suggest that the Snapdragon 8cx be a good chip for the game, at least in the indie category. However, it does not take into account the great improvement in the performance of the Intel Iris Plus graphic that will arrive with the new Ice Lake CPUs, although it is not yet known if they will be available on the Core i5 chips.
One of the concerns of Microsoft's "Always Connected" is the lack of native applications for Qualcomm hardware. In this sense, although the two companies have ensured that there will be an emulator that allows x86 applications to run on the platforms, it is not the ideal solution, since it requires some processing capacity to perform the translation.
That said, Electron's cross-platform application development system is currently integrating Windows into ARM support and the process is expected to end in June. This will incorporate popular applications such as Slack, Discord, Microsoft Teams and Spotify under the umbrella of native ARM apps, which could lead to a large increase in the performance of Qualcomm chips. It is also said that Unity incorporate native ARM support, potentially allowing superior support for video games in Snapdragon SoCs such as 8cx.
Some applications are still missing, including browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, although Qualcomm promised that these applications will move to the platform in the near future. Microsoft and Google will have been working on Chrome for ARM by the end of 2018. The most recent attempts to compile Chrome on Chromium make Google's official launch imminent. The recent addition of 64-bit application support will also help fill any obvious gaps in the software line.
Cost and efficiency
The big selling points of the existing Always Connected product line are its efficiency and connectivity. Qualcomm has commented on efficiency gains for the Snapdragon 8cx, suggesting that it could even offer a “several day” battery life on some products. That will be an improvement, even with the long life of the battery seen in products as solid as the HP Envy x2, and we may see laptops equipped with 8cx that offer a longer battery life than other leaders in the industry, such as Surface Book 2.
It has recently been claimed that the first 8cx-equipped notebook, the Galaxy Book S, has a battery life of up to 23 hours. That is something quite special. Even if you simply approach those numbers in real-world tests, we will be delighted.
The battery life comparisons with Intel's i5-8250U CPU in Computex 2019 saw Snapdragon easily overcome it, lasting almost 20 hours during a loop video test, while the Intel-equipped laptop achieved only 12 hours. However, it is important to note that the Intel laptop was running a 2K screen, and the one equipped with Snapdragon was limited to 1080p. This is not a conclusive test, especially when we consider the new Intel Ice Lake chips and their improved efficiency, but it does suggest that a Snapdragon 8cx laptop will be very efficient and offer a great battery life.
The competition in the subject of cost will be a little more difficult, although not impossible. PCs like the HP Envy x2 mentioned are selling for up to $ 1,000 with the Snapdragon 835, 4GB of RAM and a 12.3-inch screen. However, prices have fallen recently, which will make everything much more competitive. The Galaxy Book S costs $ 1,000 with the Snapdragon 8cx.
Qualcomm is a serious competitor, but Ice Lake remains high
The Qualcomm 8cx is emerging as an impressive SoC with high performance in general computing and graphics, as well as a decent battery life. It can compete favorably with the older Intel CPUs, and it can even cope well with the latest AMD Ryzen APUs. But we still don't know what it can do compared to the latest processors, like the new Intel Ice Lake. We want to see more benchmarks and third-party evidence before we can say with certainty how hard the 8cx will hit in this war. The first products have already started shipping, and the first deliveries are expected in early September.
* Updated by Daniel Matus on August 11, 2019.