It now seems that the Snapdragon chips have started to perform at par with Intel’s powerful chips. Last year, at the Snapdragon event, Qualcomm announced the ARM-based Snapdragon 8cx 7nm chip designed for Windows 10 laptops.
Later, the company came up with the 5G version of Snapdragon 8cx in February. Now, at the Computex 2019, Qualcomm has put its ambitious chip to test against the Intel Core i5-8250U, using the new PCMark 10.
The goal of the test was to compare the two chips in real-world scenarios rather than doing the benchmark test by running simulations. That is, by running commonly used apps like Edge, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. on two separate machines both having a 256GB NVMe storage and 8 GB RAM.
Results showed that Snapdragon 8cx was able to outperform Intel Core i5 most of the time. However, there are a few things that could make a difference. First is that the MS Office apps aren’t natively designed for the Snapdragon 8cx so it could be possible that the chip might have done better.
On the other hand, the Intel machine was running the Windows 10 1809 update while the Snapdragon machine had the latest 1903 installed. That might have impacted Intel’s numbers in some way.
Anyway, the same story happened in the PCMark 10 Night Raid graphics benchmark. Snapdragon 8cx was able to crunch a higher overall score and give better fps numbers than Intel.
In addition to this, there was also a battery test done for both the machines. Here, the Snapdragon 8cx was able to give a battery backup of around 17 hours while Intel Core i5 maxed out at 10 hours and 21 minutes.
One thing that should be noted here is the difference in the display resolution — the Intel machine has a 2K display while Snapdragon has 1080p. So, it’s expected that the latter is going to have a better battery life. Still, the 7-hour difference is hard to digest.
Is Arm the future?
In the last couple of years, ARM-based chips have challenged the supremacy of Intel by delivering considerable power without compromising on battery life.
We have already heard about always-connected PCs featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips specially optimized to run the ARM version of Windows 10.
Moving along similar lines, Qualcomm has partnered with Lenovo to announce the world’s first 5G laptop called Project Limitless, which packs the Snapdragon 8cx under the hood. For 5G connectivity, the device uses the X55 modem and it can deliver peak download speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps.
One area where these ARM-based machines currently lag behind is the lack of native app support. So, most of the time, apps that run on such machines are running on an emulator.
However, that’s going to change soon. The popular cross-platform app development system Electron has announced the support of Windows 10 on ARM starting next month.
In the future, users will see a boost in the performance of apps like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Discord. The developers will be able to recompile apps for ARM machines and then upload it to Microsoft Store.
Similarly, Windows 10 on ARM would also get native support for the famous gaming engine Unity. This would allow ARM-based machines to achieve higher FPS in gaming sessions, putting them closer to their Intel counterparts.
via Windows Central