Rumored Qualcomm Snapdragon 1000 could bring a big boost to ARM PCs

Qualcomm recently announced its Snapdragon 850 platform that will power the next generation of ARM-powered Windows 10 PCs, but eyes are already turning to what the company is cooking up next: the Snapdragon 1000. And according to details reported by German blog, Qualcomm could be readying the rumored platform to go head-to-head with Intel.

Exact specifications are scant at the moment, but WinFuture reports that the Snapdragon 1000 (currently called SDM1000) is already being seeded to developers and manufacturers via a test platform. The kits are equipped with up to 16GB of RAM and two 128GB storage modules, along with support for gigabit network speeds.

What's interesting about the platform is the way Qualcomm is reportedly planning to position it against Intel's lineup. The chips will be larger than ARM chips we've seen thus far, but still smaller than you'd see in Intel systems. The whole platform is said to run on 12 watts of power draw. Further, rather than soldering the chip directly to the board, the test systems are using a socketed version — something typically seen in desktop PCs.

As Ars Technica points out, the Snapdragon 1000 is expected to be based on ARM's new Cortex-A76 architecture, which the company has positioned as a true rival to Intel's laptop market dominance. Indeed, given the A76's specifications, Windows 10 PCs powered by a Snapdragon 1000 could give Intel's Core Y and U series chips a run for their money.

Built for desktop systems?

Finally, and perhaps more tantalizing is that WinFuture stumbled upon the job description of an employee working on the SDM1000 platform. The description makes references to development for desktop systems, as well as Andromeda and HoloLens. The description reads:

Microsoft Windows Multimedia Project Engineer Oversee and manage all test operations on Qualcomm Snapdragon premium tier chipset SDM845 and SDM1000 for desktop, andromeda, and Hololens AR / VR / mixed reality products in Audio, Video, Display and Camera

It's highly unlikely that we'll see the Snapdragon 1000 in Microsoft's rumored Andromeda folding device or a HoloLens 2, but the job description lends credence to the idea that the chip is being targeted for desktop systems.

Microsoft and Qualcomm have been working hand-in-hand for Windows 10 on ARM, and it looks like the two are only just getting started. The current lineup of systems, including the HP Envy x2 and ASUS NovaGo, are interesting examples of what ARM can do right now. However, expect much more powerful systems to make their mark in the coming months and years.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • A 3rd player on the desktop PC market would be very welcome, IMHO. If Qualcomm can produce a CPU that can rival desktop Intel and AMD CPU's that would be superb
  • AMD has actually made an ARM version of Ryzen which is actually has higher performance efficiency called K12. Cavium Thunder X2 is an ARM server processor that matches an exceeds Intel Xeon SkyLakes. ARM won't be a third player in Windows, it gong to eventually replace Intel x86.
  • I hope that happens soon. The x86 design has hit the end of the road.
  • Yep. totally agree. My 2 year old dell running an intel chip only gets 2 + hrs of battery life now. They are power hogs. My next device will be ARM based windows. Every peice of software I use now daily is windows store based. I do not need x86 anymore.
  • Well, my Dell XPS 13 2in1, now one year old, gets me up to 12 hours (10 at usual) with an i5 6Y processor. My gfs iPad can't do more than 9h, more like 7.
    Both compared on "on couch" tasks. So using them as PC remote via RemoteDesktop, Browsing some information, watching some videos ... I'm not sure what x86 can do in future, after Intel is waking up due to Ryzen and ARM catching up to them, and also coming innovations from AMD.
  • Mine used to get 6 plus Hrs, but in the past 6 months after a couple of intel mandated updates the battery life went to crap.
  • I think it has more to do with changing the tech around batteries - the automobile industry is aggressively searching for the next generation battery tech for electric cars, and I think the Tech world ie. Computers, Phones, Tablets, untethered AR/VR will be in the same boat with respect to how it aggressively pursues batteries that dont deplete with time.
  • Intel seems to have all their chickens in the Windows basket. They better hope Windows stays strong.
  • Apple is replacing Intel in Macs with its own custom ARM processors, the initiative, called Project Kalamata is already underway with Apple higher away top Intel silicon engineers. Windows is going the same way with its ARM migration. Why is it ARM PC/Mac migration? Because the sheer volume of billions of ARM chips shipped annually blows away x86. ARM licensing business model is also superior to OEM over Intel proprietary effective monopoly. This is a done deal.
  • They (Intel) better hope that people continue to buy Intel-based Windows devices instead of Qualcomm Always-Connected devices.
  • Did you catch the report on Google putting ARM in Chromebooks/Pixelbooks?
  • Samsung had an ARM Chromebook. They are in a ton of the schools around me.
  • Samsung's newest Chromebook plus went Intel instead of ARM like last year's model. ARM still has a ways to go
  • No need to worry about windows staying stong bleached. Windows is here to stay.
  • For niche, professional use it certainly is. That isn't going to bring the volume Intel would need though if Windows continues to shed users.
  • 700 million is not Niche. And that's only W10. Lots on W7 still
  • 90 percent of personal computers today are still sold with windows on them bleached. That is NOT changing. The other 10 percent is split between chrome, MacOS, and Linux...
  • The real question is how well will games play with the Qualcomm cpu. Right now games run best on Intel chips and Nvidia gpus
  • Someone just needs to adapt the ARM design for a performance core and that is it. Hopefully AMD will do that with it's K12 design.
  • Don't forget when AMD acquired ATI, Qualcomm bought the mobility division. That division became the foundation for Adreno. So AMD does have the know how, it's taken them a long time to put in practise. I imagine Qualcomms acquisition set them back a fair amount however back then AMD was near the ropes. I sure hope AMD continue their current momentum. I am liking the current pathway that AMD has taken. Also it has to be mentioned that AMD64 is the base for most of the x64 architecture and progress not intel's itanium.
  • 48 core, 512-bit, monster ARM CPU for exascale super computer announced by Fujitsu. "Post-K"--
  • O.O it appears to be happening faster than anticipated.
  • It's really weird seeing all of this. I just accepted x86 and felt like in the future computers will still use the same architecture, or some slight modification. This very well may be the switch period, and we never look back to x86 after it. What a time to be alive.
  • Indeed it is a bizarre time to be alive. So much technological progress and so yet so little in the grand scheme of things. I'm not going to go in the political aspect as that is beyond the scope of this forum/blog.
  • Intel is dying, their stock is crashing right now w/ analysts predicting valuations in the mid 40's. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent, etc., nobody wants Intel single-supplier dominated x86 duopoly anymore. The future is ARM and custom silicon. Microsoft and Qualcomm are actually working on an all new architecture called EDGE even beyond ARM, if you've read recent headlines. Intel's business model has run its course and is going to have to seriously reboot otherwise it is a dinosaur on its way to extinction. Microsoft ARM-Windows migration has been in the planning for years. ARM in Surface tablets and even in XBOX will be a reality.
  • What a big contrast to 2 years ago when Microsoft killed the prospect of W10M. It was gloomy and dark (StarWarIII) - storm trooper (phones) dominated. Only a few diehards keep the underground rebalion alive. However a secret plan in place (Rogue One) involving alliance between Qualcomm and Microsoft. From the ashes came Hope (StarWarIV). Some believed the Return Of Jedi (Surface phone) (StarWarVI). Now the prophecy is only a few months away- Andromeda.
  • Best comment ever
  • wow nice analogy haha
  • Bruh,
    .. This comment deserves one emoji and one emoji only 👍
  • One emoji from u means a lot!
  • I wasn't expecting it consuming 12W, I was expecting it consuming 5W, with 12W there will be a big headroom for more power and i am very interested in GPU performance, the GPU on the 850 already surpasses the iris 640 while consuming only 2W.
    The big question is the CPU performance.
  • Interesting, got a link for the numbers in your comment?
  • Indeed 12W cannot possibly come from Cortex A76 cores - at least not from 4. 3GHz A76 are consuming 750mW power - this makes 3 W for 4 cores adding like 2W for GPU makes 5W.
    In order to get to 12W you need to have a combination of more cores, higher clock and larger GPU.
  • is a larger chip and I would expect the clocks on at least one core to be higher
  • As i said, with ARM you do not need to lower the clocks when running on more cores, because power efficiency is so high. My HP Envy X2 is loading 8 cores without reducing frequency -> in a below 5W power envelope, mind you?
  • How about octacore cpu and octacore gpu?
  • I'm all for ARM and Qualcomm lighting a fire under Intel's caboose and for the development of the ARM desktop PC market.
  • I remain skeptical anything will come of this. No one is going to compile software for Windows on ARM, end of story.
  • Actually no one has to yet. Thanks to the x86 emulation layer in Windows 10 for ARM. Once this things catches on, devs will just have to flip a switch and recompile (mostly).
  • Or have the Windows Store do that for them.
  • It's the classic chicken/egg problem. Even though it's mostly trivial to recompile to ARM, most developers will probably not do so unless they see that the Windows 10 ARM devices have growing market share. It could happen, if not, the emulation can be "adequate" for some apps.
  • That's exactly the issue. I don't see Windows on ARM devices selling well because of very poor performance using the emulation layer. And without any apps ever coming to the Microsoft Store, this whole experiment is dead on arrival.
  • Microsoft needs to bring prices way down. These ARM machines need to be in the $250 range to drive growth and developer interest.
  • This has nothing to do with Microsoft, it's more to do with Qualcomm and the prices they charge. Of course ARM is an open ecosystem, so another company can simply compete if they wanted to.
  • It had everything to do with Microsoft. It is their platform.
  • Dude you don't understand economics.. it is QUALCOMM.. MS will only keep the surface line price high!! HP decides the prices of the machines they build..
  • They don't charge how much OEMs or Qualcomm pays for everything. Does Google subsidise OEMs?
  • If I get performance and experience from ARM, I will pay more than 250 dollars. Thats silly bleached. I paid 799 for my ipad, it's no different than an arm based PC.
  • It has a touch ecosystem and people buy them in massive numbers. You can purchase a really nice iPad for $329. Microsoft needs to compete with that if they want users. Selling a handful of $1000 ARM laptops isn't going to drive growth or developer interest.
  • whoooooshhhh that went right over your head bleached.
  • The only reason we currently have cheap intel/Amd computers(laptops) is because OEMs are using the worst (1366x768) without touch displays, low amount of ram, 2 cell batteries, no lte connectivity and mechanical HDDs. If anyone decides to make such version with arm prices would be similar.
  • Don't forget, oems are also using 32gb storage drives which is a paltry amount fot W10 as all you have left is less than 2 gigs and you get 28 gigs to use not 32.
  • As a frershman, Win32 or UWP? 1. Would you give up IOT, AR, MR, Xbox, PC (S-mode and WoA included) just to stay with win32 / exe?
    With legacy installer, you'd need to host your site, spend on advertisement, counter cyber-attack, have a login system / crack-proof, leave garbage in user's registry and tamper their system. 2. Why would you want to uncheck ARM64 during build since it costs $0? 3. Years later, as a freshman, would you want to support older Windows, do your catch up to support deprecated APIs? That got me wonder, do you think non-creator would choose Intel/AMD over ARM?
  • The performance can be somewhat mitigate with better CPUs like this upcoming Snapdragon 1000 but yeah, native apps are the way to go.
  • It's someone going to compile for AnyCPU?
  • How real is Andromeda?
  • As real as any other unannounced, rumored device.
  • Microsoft is breaking world record in rumored device appearance with its Surface Andy....going into 3rd year!
  • Snapdragon 835 is not for PCs
  • "Qualcomm could be readying the rumored platform to go head-to-head with Intel." This is very welcome. A little competition may wake Intel up from its complacency in light computing and improve Windows devices of all shapes and sizes.
  • The whole platform is said to run on 12 watts of power draw. Further, rather than soldering the chip directly to the board, the test systems are using a socketed version — something typically seen in desktop PCs.WATCH ALL DETAILS....
  • The attached link is Very effective way to kill futher discussions in Windows Central, time to leave WC
  • I would not write-off Intel any time soon...
  • True... And, whose to say Intel won't make ARM chips in the future? I haven't read anything that says Intel is restricted from use of ARM technology.
  • The Snapdragon 850 is for laptops and mobile devices
    and the Snapdragon 1000 is for desktop.