Snapdragon 1000 for Windows 10 on ARM faces a big challenge

JC Torres - May 31, 2018, 9:03 pm CST
Snapdragon 1000 for Windows 10 on ARM faces a big challenge

It’s almost ironic if you think about it. Intel wanted to get into the mobile and wearable market dominated by ARM chip makers like Qualcomm that it rushed head on, only to unceremoniously retreat from those markets after repeated failure. Now it seems that Qualcomm is poised to do the same but coming from the other side. Just days after a rumors surfaced about a Snapdragon 850 or 950 designed for Windows 10 on ARM devices, word arrives of a Snapdragon 1000 for the same. And, to add to the irony, it might be stepping up to Intel’s disadvantages as well.

ARM processors have been steadily but also slowly encroaching into Intel’s turf, including server racks. At the same time, they still have a stronghold in mobile, IoT, wearables, and more. The one area where ARM chips have had slow progress penetrating is desktop computers and laptops because of the workload they require.

Based on WinFuture‘s information, this rumored Snapdragon 1000 seems to be Qualcomm’s attempt to really address that market. For processors to scale up to desktop-level performance, you either put in more cores or consume more power. Qualcomm is apparently choosing the latter route by increasing the power draw to 6.5 watts. The Snapdragon 845, its current platform for mobile, only consumes 5 watts at most.

This would put the Snapdragon 1000 on par with the power consumption of Intel’s lower end processors like the Atom and the Celerons. In theory, given ARM’s more efficient power use, the Snapdragon 1000 could outperform those quite easily. In practice, however, it could be asking for trouble, given the greater power drain, which translates to shorter battery life, and greater thermal emission.

It seems that Qualcomm and its partners, like Microsoft and ASUS, are working overtime to address the complaints that buried the first batch of Windows 10 on ARM 2-in-1 devices, like the HP Envy x2 and the ASUS Nova Go. But, if the early 2019 launch for the Snapdragon 1000 and an ASUS “Primus” device is correct, then Qualcomm would have gone from 835 to 845 to 850/950 to 1000 in just a year. It might not inspire that much confidence in companies that seem to have rushed products out to market, only to have them rushing again to plug up the holes.

Update: “The PC space hasn’t had much innovation in the past 20+ years and we’re here to make a change,” a Qualcomm spokesperson told us. “People’s fridges, washing machines, cars and TVs are always connected…why is the PC still not connected? That’s the advantage Snapdragon is bringing to the space.”

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