Qualcomm says it can beat Apple’s M1 chip on Windows PCs

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TL;DR

  • The new CEO of Qualcomm boasted that his company can bring the power and energy efficiency of Apple’s M1 chip to Windows laptops and PCs.
  • He says this will be possible thanks to a recent acquisition of a company filled with former Apple chip architects.
  • He also says that the company will not rely on Arm designs, but instead create new ones.

In late 2020, Apple announced its single biggest piece of PC-related news in years: the M1 chip. Based on Arm architecture, the M1 boasts speeds and energy efficiency that no other company can rival at the moment — including heavyweights like Intel and Qualcomm.

The new CEO of Qualcomm, Cristiano Amon, is ready to change that. In fact, he’s confident that Qualcomm can not only meet Apple’s bar but raise it. This would mean we could see M1 speeds on Windows laptops and PCs powered by Qualcomm chips.

M1 speeds from Qualcomm on Windows? How?

Amon is a fresh face for Qualcomm, so it makes sense that he would make some big splashy promises. But he also already has plans in the works for how to meet this goal (via Reuters). Instead of waiting for Arm to design a chip that beats the M1, Qualcomm has already hired a team of former Apple engineers to do it first.

Related: Apple MacBook Air (M1) review: Apple’s silicon for Apple’s laptop

“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.”

Qualcomm obtained these Apple engineers through an acquihire (an acquisition made mostly for employees rather than products) of a company called Nuvia. The engineers worked on the development of Apple’s M1 chip before leaving to start Nuvia. Qualcomm says it plans to sell chips based on Nuvia designs as early as 2022.

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