Qualcomm thinks it can make a laptop chip better than Apple's M1

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2
Qualcomm believes it can produce a laptop chip that can compete with Apple Silicon thanks to a team of former Apple engineers who now work for the chipmaker.

Credit: WikiMedia Commons
Credit: WikiMedia Commons


Current laptop chip manufacturers like Intel and AMD have no silicon that's as energy efficient as Apple's M1, but Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon says that his company could eventually produce a laptop chip good enough to rival Apple's.

The San Diego-based chipmaker has concluded that it needs to produce its own silicon if its customers want to compete with Apple, Amon told Reuters. Qualcomm currently uses ARM for its smartphone chips.

However, earlier in 2021, Qualcomm acquired chip design firm Nuvia, which was founded by a group of former Apple engineers. Qualcomm plans to start producing laptop chips based on Nuvia's technology in 2022.

Nuvia was founded by former Apple engineer Gerard Williams III, who was sued by Apple for allegedly exploiting its own technology and poaching other staffers while still at the company.

Qualcomm is still hedging its bets. If ARM manages to produce a chip better than what it comes up with, Amon says Qualcomm go with that technology.

"We needed to have the leading performance for a battery-powered device," Amon said. "If ARM, which we've had a relationship with for years, eventually develops a CPU that's better than what we can build ourselves, then we always have the option to license from ARM."

Amon, as head of Qualcomm's chip division, spearheaded the $1.4 billion acquisition of Nuvia in 2021. He was appointed Qualcomm's CEO in January.

Qualcomm is still a key Apple supplier, and its modems are used in all iPhone 12 models. The use of Qualcomm chips in iPhones came after a yearslong legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm over patent licensing. The two companies settled on a deal, which included a chip supply agreement, in 2019.

Apple is also said to be developing its own wireless modem technology, perhaps in a bid to eventually cut ties with Qualcomm. The Cupertino tech giant has set up a facility in San Diego -- in Qualcomm's backyard -- and plans to staff the office with 1,200 workers by 2022.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    mushmashmushmash Posts: 21member
    I'm sure they can, but the M1 has already been on the market for almost a year, potentially matching it sometime in 2022 puts them at least two years behind Apple's efforts.

    And that's IF they manage to match it, and IF they don't hit any obstacles.

    They've been catching up to Apple's mobile chips for years, I don't think that's gonna radically change with pc chips.
    Xedred oaksdw2001Beatsblastdoordk49watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 44
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,581member
    Apple able to produce first of it's CPU/GPU chip for laptop/desktop with such impressive benchmarks; Apple's 2021 and 2022 processors will even be harder to compete with. Only concern is NVIDIA buying ARM and than competing with others.
    sdw2001watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 44
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,498member
    mushmash said:
    I'm sure they can, but the M1 has already been on the market for almost a year, potentially matching it sometime in 2022 puts them at least two years behind Apple's efforts.

    And that's IF they manage to match it, and IF they don't hit any obstacles.

    They've been catching up to Apple's mobile chips for years, I don't think that's gonna radically change with pc chips.
    Even if Qualcomm can, more or less, match the performance of the M1, and I don't see any reason that they won't in the future, Apple still has the advantage of its vertical stack including silicon, hardware, OS, development system, and Apps, that will continue to give Apple an advantage. I'm sure that Google and MS want to follow Apple in developing their own silicon for desktops, but that's when these nominally "open" markets diverge from the benefits of Apple's "walled garden"; Apple doesn't have to compete with OEM's who dilute the benefits of MS and Google silicon, as Qualcomm and Samsung will.
    edited July 2 red oakwilliamlondongatorguyBeatsStrangeDayslibertyandfreecaladanianstevenozwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 44
    XedXed Posts: 1,111member
    Of course they can, given enough time. The trick is to beat Apple in performance per watt for a laptop-grade chip to market. Despite years of trying they seem to be failing further back than catching up. But I wish them the best as this is an area where more competition for the best performance will be good for consumers.
    muthuk_vanalingamdarkvaderBeatsblastdoorMisterKitKTRwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 44
    red oakred oak Posts: 904member
    Okay.  So what OS are you going to run on these new devices?    Android?   Chrome OS?   An updated version of Microsoft ARM that failed years ago?  Without a firm OS and app software plan, Qualcomm's whole plan is half baked.    

    Apple will have M2 already in the market in 2022,  M3 about to launch, and have years of refining its OS and app support.  

    Last,  Apple is about to gut Qualcomm's iPhone business when it launches its own cellular silicon in the next 2-4 years.  

    Right now -  this IS as good as gets for Qualcomm. 

    williamlondonllamaBeatsMisterKitKTRlibertyandfreeolswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 44
    XedXed Posts: 1,111member
    red oak said:
    Okay.  So what OS are you going to run on these new devices?    Android?   Chrome OS?   An updated version of Microsoft ARM that failed years ago?  Without a firm OS and app software plan, Qualcomm's whole plan is half baked.    

    Apple will have M2 already in the market in 2022,  M3 about to launch, and have years of refining its OS and app support.  

    Last,  Apple is about to gut Qualcomm's iPhone business when it launches its own cellular silicon in the next 2-4 years.  

    Right now -  this IS as good as gets for Qualcomm. 

    The number of lawsuits from Qualcomm to Apple will be excessive. To paraphrase a statement from announcement of macOS Tiger at WWDC 2006: San Diego, start your litigation.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 44
    KITAKITA Posts: 382member
    If NUVIA's performance claims are true, the Phoenix will be quite competitive right out of the box:



    In terms of GPU, DSP (AI) and modem, Qualcomm already has Apple beat, so I'm not sure why this is such a mystery to everyone, CPU is their main bottleneck.

    As far as OS goes, they're already working closely with Microsoft for Windows 11 on ARM.
    OctoMonkeymuthuk_vanalingamdarkvader
  • Reply 8 of 44
    red oakred oak Posts: 904member
    Xed said:
    red oak said:
    Okay.  So what OS are you going to run on these new devices?    Android?   Chrome OS?   An updated version of Microsoft ARM that failed years ago?  Without a firm OS and app software plan, Qualcomm's whole plan is half baked.    

    Apple will have M2 already in the market in 2022,  M3 about to launch, and have years of refining its OS and app support.  

    Last,  Apple is about to gut Qualcomm's iPhone business when it launches its own cellular silicon in the next 2-4 years.  

    Right now -  this IS as good as gets for Qualcomm. 

    The number of lawsuits from Qualcomm to Apple will be excessive. To paraphrase a statement from announcement of macOS Tiger at WWDC 2006: San Diego, start your litigation.
    Apple already negotiated IP rights with Qualcomm as part of the settlement.  Apple will still pay Qualcomm an amount (smaller) for each unit for that IP 

    Chance of litigation:  1% 


    edited July 2 sdw2001tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 44
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,815member
    Xed said:
    red oak said:
    Okay.  So what OS are you going to run on these new devices?    Android?   Chrome OS?   An updated version of Microsoft ARM that failed years ago?  Without a firm OS and app software plan, Qualcomm's whole plan is half baked.    

    Apple will have M2 already in the market in 2022,  M3 about to launch, and have years of refining its OS and app support.  

    Last,  Apple is about to gut Qualcomm's iPhone business when it launches its own cellular silicon in the next 2-4 years.  

    Right now -  this IS as good as gets for Qualcomm. 

    The number of lawsuits from Qualcomm to Apple will be excessive. To paraphrase a statement from announcement of macOS Tiger at WWDC 2006: San Diego, start your litigation.
    That was my first thought. Q will have to be able to prove that all of these ex-Apple people did not use any technology, designs, or concepts patented by apple even inadvertently. This could get very messy, Apple/Samsung level of messy.
    BeatsKTRwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 44
    red oakred oak Posts: 904member
    Remember Qualcomm deriding Apple for launching a 64 bit mobile processor back in 2013 (The A7)?    Remember all the snide remarks  how Apple was so wrong and didn't get it?  

    Egg. On.  Face.   But now Qualcomm is going to conquer the world
    mark fearingqwerty52BeatsStrangeDaysCelticPaddylibertyandfreewatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 44
    XedXed Posts: 1,111member
    red oak said:
    Xed said:
    red oak said:
    Okay.  So what OS are you going to run on these new devices?    Android?   Chrome OS?   An updated version of Microsoft ARM that failed years ago?  Without a firm OS and app software plan, Qualcomm's whole plan is half baked.    

    Apple will have M2 already in the market in 2022,  M3 about to launch, and have years of refining its OS and app support.  

    Last,  Apple is about to gut Qualcomm's iPhone business when it launches its own cellular silicon in the next 2-4 years.  

    Right now -  this IS as good as gets for Qualcomm. 

    The number of lawsuits from Qualcomm to Apple will be excessive. To paraphrase a statement from announcement of macOS Tiger at WWDC 2006: San Diego, start your litigation.
    Apple already negotiated IP rights with Qualcomm as part of the settlement.  Apple will stay pay Qualcomm an amount (smaller) for each unit for that IP 

    Chance of litigation:  1% 
    You have more faith than I do about past deals being kept in perpetuity without Apple thinking they can pull away from Qualcomm's IP without Qualcomm thinking that they're owed something more, or that Apple won't alter variables so that Qualcomm will get paid less as Apple ramps up their own cellular chips. I've seen it countless times before, even between Apple and Qualcomm… but maybe this time it will be different.
    edited July 2 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 44
    red oakred oak Posts: 904member
    KITA said:
    If NUVIA's performance claims are true, the Phoenix will be quite competitive right out of the box:



    In terms of GPU, DSP (AI) and modem, Qualcomm already has Apple beat, so I'm not sure why this is such a mystery to everyone, CPU is their main bottleneck.

    As far as OS goes, they're already working closely with Microsoft for Windows 11 on ARM.
    Qualcomm has been working with Microsoft for years already.   How is Windows ARM running current Qualcomm chips doing in the marketplace?    

    Funny, because I have not seen any traction
    rob53tmayqwerty52williamlondonRayz2016MisterKitKTRStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 44
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,723member
    I doubt Qualcomm will be able to match Apple’s performance while having to deal with Microsoft. It doesn’t really matter to Mac users because it will never run macOS. 
    mark fearingqwerty52baconstangStrangeDayslibertyandfreestevenozwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 44
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,399member
    red oak said:
    KITA said:
    If NUVIA's performance claims are true, the Phoenix will be quite competitive right out of the box:



    In terms of GPU, DSP (AI) and modem, Qualcomm already has Apple beat, so I'm not sure why this is such a mystery to everyone, CPU is their main bottleneck.

    As far as OS goes, they're already working closely with Microsoft for Windows 11 on ARM.
    Qualcomm has been working with Microsoft for years already.   How is Windows ARM running current Qualcomm chips doing in the marketplace?    

    Funny, because I have not seen any traction
    The fact that Windows 11 can run Android/ARM apps makes things a bit more interesting.  While Apple certainly has the lead, I'm sure they're paying attention to what's happening with Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Android.  Interesting times ahead for sure.
    red oakmuthuk_vanalingamdarkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 44
    KITA said:
    If NUVIA's performance claims are true, the Phoenix will be quite competitive right out of the box:



    In terms of GPU, DSP (AI) and modem, Qualcomm already has Apple beat, so I'm not sure why this is such a mystery to everyone, CPU is their main bottleneck.

    As far as OS goes, they're already working closely with Microsoft for Windows 11 on ARM.
    No. I can make stuff up and give non-real world results too. But we all know that's, what do you call it, fantasy. Qualcomm is more a patent troll than a cutting edge tech company. 
    red oakqwerty52williamlondonKTRStrangeDaystmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 44
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,490member
    Doubt it…  They couldn’t match Apple’s A-series after all these years! Just because they hired former Apple employees doesn’t mean they’ll get the same work out of them.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 44
    rob53 said:
    I doubt Qualcomm will be able to match Apple’s performance while having to deal with Microsoft. It doesn’t really matter to Mac users because it will never run macOS. 
    It's an odd statement. I don't think anyone wants them to, and I don't think anyone asked them to, and I don't think they have any particular love of what they do but have a plan to get Windows on ARM. Certainly ARM has advantages but there are other paths as well. I think Qualcomm just likes to pretend it's more than a patent troll and looks for opportunities to get their name out there. So make some chips. And...then... PROFIT!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 44

    red oak said:
    Xed said:
    red oak said:
    Okay.  So what OS are you going to run on these new devices?    Android?   Chrome OS?   An updated version of Microsoft ARM that failed years ago?  Without a firm OS and app software plan, Qualcomm's whole plan is half baked.    

    Apple will have M2 already in the market in 2022,  M3 about to launch, and have years of refining its OS and app support.  

    Last,  Apple is about to gut Qualcomm's iPhone business when it launches its own cellular silicon in the next 2-4 years.  

    Right now -  this IS as good as gets for Qualcomm. 

    The number of lawsuits from Qualcomm to Apple will be excessive. To paraphrase a statement from announcement of macOS Tiger at WWDC 2006: San Diego, start your litigation.
    Apple already negotiated IP rights with Qualcomm as part of the settlement.  Apple will still pay Qualcomm an amount (smaller) for each unit for that IP 

    Chance of litigation:  1% 


    Yes. Qualcomm basically runs a takedown patent troll business out of Texas. They are cutting edge in no way unless you think Dell is cutting edge. Plus it's Texas. I'm suprised they don't run their chips on oil only.
    red oakBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 44
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 334member
    Qualcomm is trying already years long, without success, to make a better smartphones chip than Apple’s A-series.
    Maybe that’s the reason why Qualcomm is saying that “they think they can” make better laptop chip than Apple’s M1,
    because they are really “not sure they can” make it.
    Any way, if they succeed to make any laptop chip, it will be another bad news for Intel….
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 44
    apple_evoapple_evo Posts: 11member
    reading the comments here is pretty sobering. 

    1. QUALCOMM already makes laptop chips (for Microsoft) - Microsoft SQ1 and SQ2 

    2. Windows 10 ARM64 exists and runs quite well. Old versions of Windows on ARM (Windows RT) were terrible failures. 

    All that being said, Apple's M1 is running circles around the SQ1/SQ2 chips and runs Windows 10 ARM faster in emulation mode than the SQ1/SQ2 natively, which is very impressive. 

    darkvaderwatto_cobra
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