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AMD and Qualcomm join forces to power higher-end connected PCs

AMD and Qualcomm join forces to power higher-end connected PCs
From Engadget - December 5, 2017

AMD unveiled its Ryzen mobile chips, which feature integrated Radeon Vega graphics, in October. Ryzen CPUs were designed to provide desktop-class performance while still allowing for a small enough footprint for thin-and-lights. The company has revealed two Ryzen mobile processors so far, both of them quad-core chips with eight threads -- a similar architecture to Intel's eighth-generation laptop chipsets.

The higher-end Ryzen has 10 Vega graphics cores, helping it blow away Intel's integrated graphics on benchmarks that AMD ran. For gamers on the go, the Ryzen chipsets can provide decent frame rates for midrange games like League of Legends or Overwatch. Intel's chipsets can go up to 4.2GHz, though, while the higher-end model can only reach 3.8GHz, so AMD's chips may not be as fast in bursts.

Marrying this performance with Snapdragon's X16 LTE modems means that laptops borne from this union could be powerful enough for online gaming over cellular connections. AMD's director of product management, David McAfee, described some of the "unprecedented" possibilities to Engadget. You could, for instance, play an esports game or an MMO title while you are on the road over LTE, thanks to low latency and high bandwidth over today's LTE connections.

McAfee also expects AMD and Qualcomm's collaboration to facilitate "fundamentally transformational user experiences" for business travelers, thanks also to technologies like eSIM, and the ability to switch between carriers or buy packs of data around the world. These are all concepts that were discussed when Microsoft and Qualcomm announced Always Connected PCs at WinHEC last year.

Today, we finally saw actual devices designed for Windows on Snapdragon. ASUS's NovaGo and HP's Envy x2 are laptops that pack Snapdragon 835 processors and can run full Windows 10 (although they will ship with Windows 10S), complete with x86 app compatibility and support for Windows Ink, Hello and Cortana. They both tout 20-hour battery lives, far more than traditional notebooks, and support Gigabit LTE where available.

But even though the Snapdragon 835 chipset is a capable processor for smartphones, it's not going to help Qualcomm compete with Intel, the other chip maker working on Always Connected PCs. In May, Intel announced it would support eSIM in all its existing and upcoming modems, making itself compatible with the Always Connected PC ecosystem.

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