Intel is facing a new challenge in one of its core markets from Qualcomm, which is believed to be working on a Snapdragon 1000 ARM-based CPU intended for Windows 10 laptops and two-in-ones.
The Snapdragon 1000 will be based on ARM Cortex-A76 cores and use TSMC's 7nm fabrication processes. The Snapdragon 1000 is expected to be comparable to a 15W Intel U-series Core i5, but using 20 per cent less power - a 6.5 watt draw for the CPU itself and around 12 watts for the entire system-on-a-chip (SoC).
The devices are intended for lower-power, slimline Windows 10 laptops and two-in-one computers, targeting Intel's Y- and U-series CPUs that, while drawing around 4.5 watts and 15 watts respectively, offer somewhat humdrum erformance in return.
According to Winfuture.de, Qualcomm has already distributed a test platform to developers and device manufacturers. The platform will be paired with 16GB of LPDDR4X memory with two 128GB flash memory modules for storage. It will also include built-in Gigabit wireless-LAN technology ported from the upcoming Snapdragon 855 SoC.
Perhaps most intriguing of all, though, is that the device could be a socketed chip, for the first time, according to Winfuture.de. That indicates that Qualcomm has broader plans than simply a narrow range of laptops.
It would make the device suitable for a wider range of computing devices, with motherboard manufacturers encouraged to offer Snapdragon 1000-socketed motherboards for PC and gadget makers to make their own computers from, such as low-power desktops and NUC-style compact computers.
Indeed, Asus is already working on a device code-named ‘Primus', using a reference design developed by Qualcomm for the Snapdragon 1000.
Both TSMC and Samsung are planning to release 7nm parts later this year, with AMD planning to launch its third-generation Ryzen CPUs early next year, which will be built on GlobalFoundries' and TSMC's 7nm processes. Intel, meanwhile, has struggled to make the shift to 10nm and risks falling behind.
Such technical and market challenges are believed to be the real reason behind the sudden departure of Brian Krzanich as CEO of Intel last week.
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