Microsoft’s and Qualcomm’s campaign to get Windows 10 running on ARM-based Snapdragon chips has mostly fallen flat on its face. While the idea of power efficient, always on, and always connected PCs is undoubtedly tempting, the execution was sorely lacking, especially when it came to banking on last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. The new Snapdragon 850 aims to correct that, presuming it goes in actual commercial products, but it will be the Snapdragon 1000, a.k.a. Snapdragon 8180, that may finally make those dreams come true.
How will manage to deliver? By having more transistors than any mobile processor in the market. According to WinFuture, the Snapdragon 8180, which is now believed to be the name of what was once called the Snapdragon 1000, will sport 8.5 billion transistors. That’s definitely a large number, especially if you compare it to its peers.
The Snapdragon 845 has around 5.3 billion transistors. The Apple A12 Bionic, as well as the Huawei Kirin 980, are estimated to have 6.9 billion. In terms of raw numbers, the Snapdragon 8180 will definitely have an edge. Whether that will translate to a substantial improvement overall remains to be seen when the chip does come out in actual devices.
It won’t be without its drawbacks, of course. It will be larger, at 20×15 mm, a lot larger than its mobile counterpart, the Snapdragon 855. Both, however, will still be made with a 7 nm process. Despite that, the power draw of the Snapdragon 8180 is estimated to be around 15 w. That puts it on the same level as Intel’s Core U series, which may negate the power savings that ARM chips are known for.
Naturally, these chips would make for a bad fit for smartphones. They are, after all, headed for Windows 10 PCs. But even with added raw power, such PCs won’t magically become useful if they still get bogged down by the same software problems that plagued the first gen Windows 10 on ARM devices, especially when it comes to supporting x86 apps.