Details surrounding Qualcomm’s upcoming ultrabook chipset, the Snapdragon 8180, emerged online recently, with reports from Germany suggesting that the product referred to internally as the SCX8180 will feature eight CPU cores split into two quad-core clusters, along with a dedicated neural processing unit. Although the chipset is apparently intended for Windows 10 computers, the eight CPU cores employed by the Snapdragon 8180 won’t be based on x86 architecture and instead, they will employ the same ARM-based architecture as the Snapdragon 8150 - a mobile chip previously thought to be called the Snapdragon 855. Having said that, the Snapdragon 8180 will be designed for Windows 10 on ARM, which provides emulation for x86 applications.
The new report indicates that similar to the 8150, the Snapdragon 8180 will sport four “Gold” ARM Cortex-A76 CPU cores designed to do the heavy lifting, but this time around, they will have a higher clock rate of 3.0GHz, up from 2.6GHz. Likewise, there will be four additional “Silver” ARM Cortex-A55 cores clocked at up to 1.8 GHz instead of 1.7GHz, but the report also suggests that these frequencies will likely be higher in the final product, especially for the Gold cores. Along with the Gold and Silver CPU cores, there will be a neural processing unit known as the “NPU-130” but its exact capabilities are currently unknown. The Snapdragon 8180 will support LPDDR4X RAM with frequencies of up to 2,133MHz; it will be built on a 7nm node, and will reportedly employ a ball grid array design with a number of pins similar to Intel’s mobile processors. The unit will reportedly rely on 8.5 billion transistors and will require active cooling for 15 watts TDP.
According to the same source, the Snapdragon 8180 will likely be first seen on a working device before the end of the year, and it’s just as likely that the first laptop to adopt the chipset will be manufactured by ASUS. Previous reports have referred to this laptop as the ASUS Primus and the device could hit the shelves in early 2019. It’s worth reminding that Windows 10 on ARM is not an altered version of Microsoft’s OS like Windows RT was, but instead, Windows 10 supports the ARM platform out of the box just like it does x86, and hardware manufacturers like Qualcomm and ASUS are trying to take advantage of the operating system’s capabilities.