Qualcomm in-house laptop CPUs with NUVIA tech expected by 2023

Posted on Wednesday, March 17 2021 @ 10:23 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Qualcomm has closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of ARM chip designer NUVIA. Via this buyout, Qualcomm is getting back into custom chip development and now there's some news about Qualcomm's future plans. NUVIA has been working on its own ARM chips since 2019 and Qualcomm plans to use the technology for its future Snapdragon SoC.

Qualcomm to sample Snapdragon laptop CPUs in 2H 2022

These chips will be used in a wide variety of products, not only smartphones but also self-driving car technology, and VR/AR systems. The most exciting news perhaps is that Qualcomm explicitly mentions it's now working on in-house CPUs for high-performance ultraportable laptops. The first Snapdragon laptop processors are expected to sample in the second half of 2022. This implies product availability will occur sometime in 2023.

NUVIA founder Gerard Williams III was Apple's Chief CPU Architect for nearly a decade. It's believed he played a critical role in the creation of the M1 SoC -- the first ARM-based processor that has truly shown that ARM can replace x86 in the laptop market. Thanks to the success of the M1, we have high hopes for future ARM-based processors. At the moment, Windows on ARM is a lame duck but this could change with the arrival of high-performance ARM-based chips for the Windows platform. Similarly, the chips could be in high demand for future Chromebooks.
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has completed its acquisition of the world-class CPU and technology design company, NUVIA for $1.4 billion before working capital and other adjustments.

“The world-class NUVIA team enhances our CPU roadmap, extending Qualcomm’s leading technology position with the Windows, Android and Chrome ecosystems,” said Cristiano Amon, President and CEO-Elect, Qualcomm Incorporated. “The broad support of this acquisition from across industries validates the opportunity we have to provide differentiated products with leading CPU performance and power efficiency, as on-demand computing increases in the 5G era.”

Qualcomm Technologies expects to integrate next generation CPUs across a wide portfolio of products, including powering flagship smartphones, laptops, and digital cockpits, as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, extended reality, and infrastructure networking solutions. The first Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ platforms to feature Qualcomm Technologies’ new internally designed CPUs are expected to sample in the second half of 2022 and will be designed for high performance ultraportable laptops.

“We are excited to join the leading wireless innovator in the industry, driven by a common mission of inventing breakthrough technologies. Together, we will create a new class of high-performance computing platforms that set the bar for the industry,” said Gerard Williams former CEO of NUVIA, who now is SVP of Engineering at Qualcomm Technologies.

Performance-per-Watt results from NUVIA

Nobody except Qualcomm has seen the NUVIA chips but it's clear Qualcomm liked what it saw. Below is a performance-per-Watt chart of the NUVIA Phoenix, this data was released by NUVIA in August 2020. It's based on Geekbench 5 testing and shows how NUVIA's in-house chip significantly outperforms x86 processors from AMD and Intel, as well as ARM-based smartphone chips from Apple.

NUVIA internal testing in Geekbench 5

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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