While Intel is trying to carve a niche for itself in the mobile segment, it seems Qualcomm wants to branch out into the notebook space and what better platform than Windows 8, to do that. We recently learnt that the company is busy preparing their upcoming S4 chips for the soon to be announced Windows 8 notebooks. These quad-core chips will compete directly with Intel’s ULV processors used in Ultrabooks and according to Rob Chandhok, Senior Vice President at Qualcomm, the ARM-based notebooks are going to be even thinner and have much better battery life.
The S4 chip will be based on the 28nm fabrication process, so it will be a lot more power efficient than Nvidia’s Tegra 3 SoC. It will use four ARMv7-based cores and run at 2.5GHz. Other than that, it will also pack-in a multi-core GPU (Adreno 320) to handle any heavy graphical activity, like games or photo or video editing. The SoC will also have an integrated modem, so you should be able to access 3G and 4G on the go. Generally, ARM-based chips aren’t as powerful as Intel’s or even AMD’s, so it will be interesting to see what Qualcomm brings to the table. The company is also thinking about a 64-bit microchip, but we don’t have any further details on when that would be released. While ARM has announced that the v8 architecture would include support for 64-bit computing, so we can certainly expect something from Qualcomm in the future.
Intel and AMD are not the only rivals for Qualcomm as they will directly be competing with Nvidia and Texas Instruments as well. This potentially spells trouble for AMD’s and Intel’s entry line of chips, which are the Fusion APUs and Atom CPUs respectively. If Qualcomm’s S4 can surpass their performance, while at the same time offer better battery life and be cheaper to produce, then we may just have a new contender on our hands. Intel and AMD would have to seriously re-think their strategy, if they have to maintain dominance in that segment.
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