Earlier this year (2018), there are a few models of always-connected laptops appeared on the market. Those laptops are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC with 4G LTE connectivity, and are running a version of Windows 10 opearting system.
When comparing with traditional x86-based processors from Intel or AMD, an ARM-based processor (just like the Snapdragon SoC) may not be able to achieve the same level of raw compute performance yet, but the laptops will get much better battery life and thermal performance, due to the characteristic of less power consumption and heat output. Qualcomm therefore posted a few videos about these two distinct advantages.
In the first video, Qualcomm put an normal notebook, which seemed to be from Dell XPS lineup, side by side with another Snapdragon-Powered Windows PC. They left the screens of both devices on with video playing constantly, until the batteries ran out. The Dell notebook shut off after 13 hours and 9 minutes, while the other did it after 21 hours and 56 minutes. The Snapdragon-Powered Laptop performed about 66.8% better.
After that, Qualcomm compared the two devices’ thermal performance. Both of the laptops were playing a youtube video on one side, and playing a game (Asphalt 8) on the other side. After 15 minutes, the traditional laptop had higher temperature at where the CPU was installed, while the Snapdragon-equipped one stayed reasonably cooler and can sustain better performance (higher frames per second). The Dell notebook would need to thermal throttle (leads to slower clock speed) to control the heat.
These are incredible achievements for pushing ARM-based devices to run more productive and convenient operating systems. However, there are still a number of limitations that need some time to tackle. Please note that all the above tests were performed by Qualcomm in-house. We do not know if specific applications or backgroud processes would affect the results.
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