Qualcomm looks to dethrone Apple M1 with upcoming Nuvia chipset

nuvia-based qualcomm chipset
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Last year, Apple surprised everyone with the in-house Arm-based M1 chip. The chip that debuted in the MacBook series notebook displayed significant performance boosts compared to traditional x64 solutions. Since Apple doesn’t license its design, the rest of the laptop makers have been looking for ways alternatives. Luckily for them, Qualcomm says its upcoming Nuvia-based laptop chipset will be exactly what they need.

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In an interview, the new Chief of Qualcomm, Cristiano Amon, stated that the Nuvia-based laptop chipset will be available beginning next year. He even added that Qualcomm could soon have the best chipset in the laptop market. 

Nuvia-based Qualcomm chipset:

Nuvia, a CPU and technology design startup, was acquired by Qualcomm earlier this year for $1.4 billion. Nuvia was founded by ex-Apple employees who left the company in 2019. In addition, Qualcomm has hired three silicon veterans who previously worked for Apple, AMD, Google, and Broadcom. These specialists specialize in the development of energy-efficient Arm-based processors.

Prospects

During an interview with Reuters, newly-appointed Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said that his firm is confident in its ability to develop processors for laptops. Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices, two long-dominant processor vendors, have no processors that are as energy-efficient as Apple’s. This supremacy will be challenged by the upcoming Qualcomm Nuvia chip, which will compete directly with Apple’s M series. 

Unlike its smartphone chip business, where it licenses designs from ARM, Qualcomm will have to come up with a design of its own to compete against Apple’s M1. Custom chip design is the priority for Qualcomm for now. However, it can always return to Arm-based designs if things do not

The CEO notes that “If Arm, which we’ve had a relationship with for years, eventually develops a CPU that’s better than what we can build ourselves, then we always have the option to license from Arm”. 

Further, the company wants to push 5G connectivity into laptops, so it is pairing modems within the laptop processors. Amon also said that the company’s goal is to have “leading performance for a battery-powered device”. Earlier, the company announced the Snapdragon X65 5G modem, which can be used in a wide range of products including laptops, smartphones, PC and even IoT products.

Phoenix CPUs

Given that Qualcomm is working on a high-performance CPU, it might be a reference to Nuvia’s Phoenix core. This is just a wild guess, but Nuvia built the Orion SoC on a core architecture called Phoenix. When compared to AMD’s Ryzen 4700U, it can reach a 40 to 50 percent better IPC with just 33 percent of the power consumption.

Nuvia Phoenix vs AMD Ryzen 4700U

Qualcomm, on the other hand, has made it clear that they won’t be leveraging Nuvia’s design to create server or smartphone chips anytime soon. Instead, it will license Nuvia’s core designs to other firms who wish to create custom silicon for data centers.

Nuvia-based Qualcomm chipset: Launch

The new Nuvia-based Qualcomm chipset is likely to launch in the second half of 2022. Aside from that, we may also see the second generation of Apple’s in-house silicon. So, Qualcomm must really push boundaries to make its processors equivalent to Apple’s M series.

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