- AMD and NVIDIA are reportedly working on Arm-based processors for PCs.
- These chips would rival Snapdragon SoCs, which have exclusively powered Arm-based Windows PCs.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors have exclusively powered Arm-based Windows PCs for several years now, offering a couple of perks compared to traditional PCs. Now, it looks like two big-name companies are poised to join the party in making Arm-based Windows chips.
Reuters reports that both AMD and NVIDIA are designing Arm-based processors for PCs, citing two sources familiar with the matter. The outlet specifically reports that NVIDIA’s chips would run Windows.
It was widely known that Qualcomm was exclusively supplying chipsets for Arm-based Windows computers. However, Reuters reports that this agreement will come to an end in 2024 and that AMD and NVIDIA could sell their upcoming chips as soon as 2025.
What could these chips look like, though?
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Microsoft is reportedly encouraging AMD and NVIDIA to offer “advanced AI features.” Otherwise, we’d imagine that any Arm-based chipsets from these brands would also offer some gaming-focused features like desktop-class graphics hardware and image upscaling technology.
We’re not expecting 5G connectivity, as AMD and NVIDIA lag behind Qualcomm in the cellular connectivity space. NVIDIA announced a partnership with MediaTek earlier this year, though, albeit in the automotive space. So it’s theoretically possible that NVIDIA could leverage this deal to get 5G modems in its PC processors.
Either way, Arm-based PC processors traditionally enjoy much better battery life than x64-based chips from the likes of Intel and AMD. This allows for much longer endurance for laptops or thinner, lighter designs.
What does this mean for Qualcomm?
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Qualcomm has had a long history when it comes to Arm-based versions of Windows, starting with chipsets for the limited and ill-fated Windows RT platform in the early 2010s. However, the company revealed a PC chip capable of running a full-fledged version of Windows in 2017.
Would you buy an Arm-based Windows PC?
This chipset and subsequent Snapdragon PC chips were praised for their long battery life, connectivity options, and AI capabilities, but received criticism for their lack of horsepower. This criticism was amplified in the wake of Apple switching to Arm-based chips for its computers in 2020, as the Apple M1 and subsequent Apple chips significantly outperformed Qualcomm’s PC chips.
Qualcomm is expected to launch an ambitious Snapdragon X Elite chipset this week, making use of custom CPU tech derived from its acquisition of Nuvia. However, the reported entry of AMD and NVIDIA into the mix could significantly boost the current low sales of Arm-based Windows PCs while cutting Qualcomm’s market share.
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