Not long ago, we uncovered the fact that Qualcomm looks to be working with Google and Chromebook manufacturers to bring the more-powerful Snapdragon 8cx platform to Chromebooks in the future. While we have Snapdragon 7c and 7c Gen 2 Chromebooks already on the market, we are definitely looking forward to the already-announced Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 and what Snapdragon 8cx Chromebooks could look like down the road just a bit.
From those early Chromium Repository commits, it wasn’t exactly clear which version of the Snapdragon 8cx we’d be looking at when it does eventually arrive in a Chromebook, but more-recent additions to the Gerrit have made it clear that we could be expecting the newer versions of this compute platform in the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2.
As a quick reminder, the Snapdragon 7c and 7c Gen 2 get referenced in the Chromium Repositories as SC7180 and SC7280. The original Snapdragon 8cx goes by SC8180x, and now we’re adding SC8280xp to the list. A cursory search for this SC8280xp model makes it clear that we’re looking at the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 that has been in a few laptops for over a year at this point. It was found in March of 2021 and launched in a few devices later that year as the predecessor to the latest compute SoC from Qualcomm: the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3.
This latest high-end compute platform from Qualcomm arrived on the scene in a few devices in the spring of 2022, so there’s a chance we could eventually see that SoC in a Chromebook, too. For now, however, it looks like Google and Qualcomm are targeting Snapdragon 8cx Gen 1 or Gen 2 for Chromebook use.
Massive performance gains for the Snapdragon 8cx
Compared to the solid performance of the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 in a couple Chromebooks we currently have, this Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 would be a massive step forward in performance. Looking at some basic benchmark comparisons between the 7c Gen 2 and 8cx Gen 2, the 8cx Gen 2 shows a 50% boost in single-core speed, a massive 100% boost in multi-core speed and an whopping 400% faster in the GPU department. This wouldn’t just be the next step in Snapdragon-powered Chromebooks: it will be an evolution.
How this 8cx platform will compete with the MediaTek Kompanio 1380 remains to be seen. As we said in our review of the Acer Chromebook Spin 513, the Kompanio 1380 is a great performer with solid battery life and is by far the most powerful ARM-powered Chromebook currently available. Without many head-to-head comparisons out there, it is tough to figure which will end up being a better fit for Chromebooks, but we may not have to wonder for too long about it.
While I don’t think we’ll see Snapdragon 8cx Chromebooks in 2022, I could see a few hitting store shelves early in 2023, meaning in 6-9 months, we could have a high-end ARM-based Chromebook fight on our hands. There’s no doubt the Snapdragon 8cx will compete, and if the connectivity and battery life we’ve seen from the handful of Snapdragon 7c Chromebooks is anything to go by, devices with this more-powerful SoC inside could be very intriguing. We’ll keep digging around and will update as we learn more.