Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform for Windows 10 PCs. The company skipped the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC Mobile Platform and designed new AI-integrated features in Snapdragon 850 chip for Windows 10 OS and also made for smaller computing devices.
Whereas, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC currently found in the HP Envy x2, Lenovo Miix 630 and the Asus NovaGo first attempted on the Windows 10 on the ARM. Now the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform specially built for Windows 10 devices to make a better user experience with AI features. The new Always On, Always Connected experience in a new architecture will enhance the multi-day battery life, performance, and connectivity along with integrated AI (Artificial Intelligence).
Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 – What’s New
The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 brings an enhancement and efficiency over Snapdragon 835 processor with overclocked speed and core balancing for Windows 10 OS running devices.
In compared to the last generation Snapdragon 835 chip, the Always On, Always Connected feature of Snapdragon 850 brings:
- 30 percent performance increase.
- 20 percent multi-day battery life and efficiency increase.
- 20 percent overall increase in Gigabit LTE speeds (both upload/download).
The new Hexagon 685 DSP (Digital Signal Processor), Kryo 385 CPU, and new X20 LTE Modem also help a lot in overall better performance and efficiency. The newly updated X20 LTE Modem can deliver up to 1.2GB/s than the previous generation X16 LTE Modem of Snapdragon 835 which can deliver up to 1.0GB/s maximum.
While so many features are similar to the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, but the higher frequency rate and efficiency in Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 are better for computing devices. Such as thermal spaces, larger batteries, drivers, and different hardware. That means the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 is only made for Windows 10 Mobile Computing devices, not for any smartphones.
For an example, the Kryo 385 CPU is similar to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform. Though the 2.95 GHz overclocked speed rate is visibly higher than the 2.8 GHz speed of Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (even lower in Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 of 2.6 GHz). In addition, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 supports the Microsoft’s Machine Learning SDK and AI features. So both the hardware and software can work seamlessly.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 – Multimedia Enhancement
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 chip supports 10-bit HDR video streaming and playback, low-light photography, Hi-Fi Surround Sound, and an immersive gaming experience. It brings a great user experience with Qualcomm Aqstic and Qualcomm aptX audio features.
- Hi-Fi Surround Sound.
- Direct Stream Digital (DSD) format.
- 10-bit HDR video streaming and Playback support with ultra-low Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise (THD+N).
- Qualcomm Aqstic and Qualcomm aptX support.
Qualcomm Aqstic system works through the both 3.5mm audio jack and USB-C port. The Qualcomm Snapdragon supports 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) video recording. However, Qualcomm finally mentioned that the Snapdragon 850 supports secondary display output as well (multi-monitor feature).
Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 – Mobile Compute Platform
Qualcomm nicely shifted from Mobile PC Platform with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform. That is also an ambiguous as well.
Qualcomm didn’t announce any partnership with any company still, the manufacturing company taking a step towards 2-in-1 laptop category which can be turned into a phablet as well. Qualcomm says that the Mobile Compute Platform is quite flexible for 12-inch and 15-inch devices.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 (SDM850) – Specifications
Cellular Modem – Qualcomm Snapdragon X20
- Peak Download Speed: 1.2GB/s
- Peak upload Speed: 150MB/s
CPU – Kryo 385 ARM Cortex Architecture
- Clock Speed: 2.96 GHz
- Cores: 8 × Kryo 385 CPU
Adreno Subsystem – Adreno 630
- Open GL ES 3.2, Open CL 2.0, Vulkan, DirectX 12
- Ultra HD Premium video playback and encoding @ 4K (3840 x 2160) 30fps
- Slow motion HEVC video encoding of FHD (1080p) up to 120fps
- H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), VP9, DisplayPort over USB Type-C support
DSP – Qualcomm Hexagon 685 DSP
- Hexagon Vector DSP (HVX)
- Hexagon Scalar DSP (Audio)
- Hexagon All-Ways Aware Hub (Sensor)
Camera – Spectra 280 ISP (Image Signal Processor)
- The new architecture for 14-bit image signal processing, with support for up to:
- Single HFR 16 MPix camera at 60fps ZSL
- Dual 16 MPix cameras at 30fps ZSL
- Single 32 MPix camera at 30fps ZSL
- Multi-frame Noise Reduction (MFNR) with accelerated image stabilization
- Hybrid Autofocus with support for dual phase detection (2PD) sensors
- Ultra HD Premium video capture @ 4K (3840 x 2160) 30fps
Security Support – Qualcomm
- Qualcomm Processor Security
- Qualcomm Mobile Security
- Qualcomm Content Protection
Wi-Fi – Qualcomm Wi-Fi 802.11ad Multi-gigabit
- Wi-Fi integrated 802.11ac 2 x 2 with MU-MIMO
- 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 60 GHz
Audio – Qualcomm Aqstic, aptX, and Hi-Fi Surround
- Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec and speaker amplifier
- Qualcomm aptX audio playback with support for aptX Classic and HD
- Native DSD support, PCM up to 384kHz/32bit
RF (Radio Frequency) – Qualcomm
- Qualcomm Signal Boost adaptive antenna tuning
- High-power transmit (HPUE)
Bluetooth – Qualcomm v5.0 with TrueWireless Stereo
Location – Qualcomm Location
- Support for 6 satellite systems: GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, SBAS
- Low Power Geofencing and Tracking, Sensor-assisted Navigation
Charging – Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ technology
Availability and Analysis
It is expected to get Windows 10 running devices with Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 platform very soon, maybe before the end of 2018.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform is made for Windows 10 devices especially. Though the hardware named as Snapdragon 850 internally, it is referred as ‘Snapdragon 845s’. The overclocked and optimized cores are finely tuned for Windows 10 OS devices. Obviously, the Windows 10 architecture, work management, and drivers are different than any mobile platform.
So it is quite expected and normal to go with a Mobile Compute Platform architecture for Windows 10 devices for better user experience and upgraded performance. The AI-powered enhanced hardware with Microsoft’s machine learning SDK can do a lot of critical and time-consuming things with ease. Such as graphics and video rendering, AI-featured photo editing, smart assistant, grammar checking and so on.
The Always On, Always Connected feature is also capable of energy efficiency. Qualcomm said that the Snapdragon 850 can deliver multi-day battery life with QC4+ fast charging technology just like any other mobile platform. Now it will be very interesting to see that how much the QC4+ technology will work on Windows 10 devices? and how much time it will take to charge a full battery?