Apple revived the processor market with the arrival of the M1 and then M2 chips. Qualcomm intends to pass the crown to Cupertino and is preparing an overpowered Snapdragon.
Qualcomm has been offering ARM chips for Windows PCs for many years now, and yet it wasn’t until 2020 that the world discovered the full potential of an ARM PC chip with the announcement of the Apple M1 and the Macbook Air M1. In just two years, Apple has become the goal for all processor manufacturers, both in terms of performance and controlled consumption.
With the M1 chip, Apple has managed to manufacture a portable PC that meets the performance needs of the vast majority of users, with good battery life and no noise. Inevitably, this leaves one dreaming. Qualcomm intends to respond to this lead and wants to beef up its game. Everything is based on the code name Hamoa.
Become PC Leaders
Asked by Cnet
the boss of Qualcomm Cristiano Amon does not go there by four ways: our goal is to be the leader in PC performance at the CPU level, period “. In this sentence, he includes Apple, but also Intel and AMD as its competitors. To achieve this goal, Qualcomm has acquired Nuvia, which should help it create the architecture of its future PC processors. Among Nuvia’s recruits, there is precisely the former head of Apple’s SoCs, but also veterans of Google or ARM.
Today, Snapdragons marketed for PCs come from chips for smartphones and tablets. With Nuvia, Qualcomm would like to think of chips fully designed for the level of performance expected on PC.
Code name Hamoa
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, often cited for his knowledge of Apple’s supply chains, shared insights into Qualcomm’s plans.
The code name of Qualcomm’s first chip to compete with Apple Silicon is Hamoa, which is made by 4nm (vs. M2’s N5P/5nm) and going to mass production in 3Q23. Before challenging Apple, Qualcomm must convince PC brands to use its chip instead of x86 chips.https://t.co/lNoOWIIyOu
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo)
In a tweet posted on June 8, 2022, he explains that the first chip capable of competing with Apple at Qualcomm is codenamed Hamoa. It would be designed to be manufactured in 4 nm, probably by TSMC, which would give it an edge over the Apple M2 which uses TSMC’s N5P in 5 nm.
However, volume production of this Hamoa chip would not be expected before the third quarter of 2023. This suggests laptops equipped between the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024. If Apple maintains its current rate, we will be in the midst of rumors regarding the MacBook Air M3. If the Hamoa chip achieves its goal, which remains to be demonstrated, the victory could be short-lived for Qualcomm.
There is also the question of software support. Apple is betting its future entirely on its ARM chips and is therefore forcing software developers to follow it in this adventure. Microsoft has chosen to continue to support x86 from Intel and AMD while developing a version of Windows adapted for ARM. This understandable choice has not prompted PC software developers to adapt their applications for the ARM ecosystem. The adoption of Windows for ARM is therefore slower, despite Qualcomm’s efforts in this area.
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