Qualcomm wants to make a big start in the PC market this fall with its new, powerful “Oryon” CPUs. Despite all the boastful announcements by the chip giant, PC manufacturers are probably still skeptical, so there are still a few hurdles to overcome.
According to the Taiwanese industry service DigiTimes, PC manufacturers are still cautious about the chances of Qualcomm’s ARM-based CPUs in PCs and Windows PCs in particular. According to the report, since the introduction of the first generation of Qualcomm’s first PC chip, the Snapdragon 8cx, “the market” does not assume that the new ARM chips can not compete with the products of the existing suppliers.
It was only with the success of the ” Apple Silicon platforms that PC manufacturers allowed the idea that ARM SoCs could not only play a supporting role in the ecosystem. However, Qualcomm lacks the same brand “aura”, which is why the US group put it up didn’t manage to break through the “Wintel” system today. Qualcomm has not been able to score particularly well with the second and third generations of the Snapdragon 8cx so far, also because the performance is still not overwhelming.
Only after the corona pandemic and the trend toward AI-supported computing is there now an opportunity for Qualcomm. The group, therefore, chose the same path as Apple, namely the development of custom ARM cores for the new “Oryon” CPUs. Close cooperation with Microsoft is also intended to achieve better coordination between software and hardware, as Apple has been doing with its systems for several years.
PC manufacturers shy away from the costs of architectural changes
But that’s not all for PC manufacturers. By changing the CPU architecture, they basically have to re-tune every part on the motherboard and re-certify for replacement parts. The costs for this process can allegedly be enormously high, which is why manufacturers have so far mostly shied away from this expense. Since there is no guarantee that the finished devices will sell well and can be efficiently manufactured in a scalable manner, there is little willingness to invest.
Qualcomm has two main arguments when it comes to breaking the “Wintel” duopoly, citing Taiwan-based peripheral chip makers. The energy efficiency of the ARM CPUs and the performance in AI applications should benefit Qualcomm. In addition, Microsoft should actually be ready to enable high integration of software and hardware. It is said that Qualcomm’s plans must coincide with Microsoft’s vision of a new definition of the PC. As soon as Microsoft’s attitude changes, the notebook and PC manufacturers are also more willing to get involved.
Qualcomm’s success around the Snapdragon 8cx Gen4, whose Oryon cores are being developed by a team of former Apple chip designers, depends on a shift in attitude from PC system brands, the report says. But even more important is how good the performance really is in the end.
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