Qualcomm’s rumored PC chip could finally rival the Apple M1

A new report indicates that Qualcomm is working on a 12-core laptop processor that pf wants to present a true challenge to both of Apple’s M-series chips—and that’s coming in 2024.

The information comes from a tweet thread from the developer Kuba Wojciechowski (and spotted by NotebookCheck), which details an “extremely promising” new chip, as described by the developer’s claimed sources. Going by the “Hamoa” code name, this Qualcomm chip is reported to have eight performance cores and four efficiency cores, and more interestingly, “the same mem/cache configuration as the M1.”

The tweets also indicate that, for the first time, these chips can be paired with discrete graphics cards, a first for ARM-based PCs.

In other news: Qualcomm 2024 desktop chip codenamed "hamoa" According to my sources 12 (8P+4E) with in-house cores (based on Nuvia Phoenix design), same mem/cache configuration as M1, clear support for DGPU and performance that "very promising" Is.

— Kuba Wojciechowski⚡ (@Za_Raczke) 6 November 2022

So where does all this promising performance come from? Well, the tweet says that this new chip is “based on the Nuvia Phoenix design,” a CPU core architecture built by a startup company that includes ex-Apple and ex-Google processor engineers — and it’s designed by Qualcomm. Bought in 2021. This upcoming Hamoa chip could be the first fruit of this acquisition, and is likely delayed by Qualcomm’s ongoing legal tussle with ARM.

These chips, as NotebookCheck sees, could appear in laptop or desktop form factors, providing this “extremely promising” performance for a variety of PCs and devices.

This news comes after the launch of Surface Pro 9, the most high-profile Windows one ever, on ARM devices. The device houses the Microsoft SQ3, a customized version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8CX Gen 3. Microsoft is a big supporter of the number of ARM-based Windows laptops, and in the past two years after Apple’s M-series devices stole the show, the stakes have never been higher.

Yet for all talk of Windows on ARM, the promise of these tools is still unfulfilled. Qualcomm has really been the only serious player in the game, and its efforts to take on Intel, AMD, or Apple still haven’t produced results that have reassured laptop makers and potential buyers. Qualcomm has three generations of its Snapdragon 8cx SoC (System on Chip) as of now, and the number of devices adopting these chips is slim.

But if Qualcomm really has a serious contender on its hands, it will be fascinating to see how it shakes up the game.

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