One of the surprises at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit was the presence of AMD. Out of no-where, Kevin Lensing, CVP and GM of the Client Business Unit at AMD, was invited onto the stage to announce that AMD and Qualcomm were in a connectivity partnership.

Recently AMD announced it was bringing its new high-performance x86 CPU cores and its latest GPU architecture to the notebook space. Within a 15W form factor, the Ryzen 7 2700U packs in four Zen cores along with 10 Vega compute units, to which AMD states that they have the top performing 15W notebook processor on the market. At the launch, three designs were briefly announced from HP, Acer, and Lenovo, from which the HP Envy x360 with the Ryzen 5 2500U is currently available for sale (we’re awaiting our review sample).

What Kevin Lensing was doing on stage at a Qualcomm event was announcing that AMD and Qualcomm have been working together on bringing LTE connectivity to the Ryzen Mobile platform. Normally when a vendor creates a notebook or a smartphone platform, they create a series of reference designs which are sent out to OEMs. These designs are meant to demonstrate how the parts fit together, and what sort of technologies can be implemented (just in case the OEMs don’t realize what can be possible). Kevin explained that in those Ryzen Mobile reference platforms, they included a Qualcomm LTE modem to allow for mobile connectivity on the go.

Equipping a laptop with mobile connectivity is not necessarily new – Intel has been doing it for years with their own modems (such as the XMM7260 and XMM7360), mostly in business end devices or Chromebooks. The fact that AMD is getting in on the action (and even appearing at a Qualcomm event to talk about Ryzen and Ryzen mobile) makes it interesting for sure. Kevin Lensing on stage stated that several OEMs were sufficiently interested in enabling their designs with Qualcomm LTE connectivity. As a result, some of the more interesting Ryzen Mobile designs, either for business or for casual users, might actually have LTE enablement as an option.

The obvious questions are about the extra cost, carrier partnerships (if they’re from OEMs, QC, or from AMD), and then also a nod at what the extra power consumption is. Questions I suspect that might be discussed next month at CES, when everyone involved will be giving new information about the products coming to market.

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  • lilmoe - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - link

    You're far off. Here's the thing, the future in performance is all about more low to mid power cores, not wide cores with huge single threaded performance. Even Apple is realizing this, despite the tireless arguments of iFans here and other places on the web/media.

    Open up task manager, go to the CPU tab, then fire up Microsoft Edge. Watch ALL cores spike at a VERY even rate. THAT's the future. Microsoft was first to get there, then slightly followed by Google with Android (and to some extent, Chrome).

    Even Firefox now is pretty darn multi-threaded and after the newest update has become the BEST browser on Windows. HW-acceleration has amazingly improved. Not as efficient as Edge yet, but WAYYYY more usable as a browser. Chrome isn't even a contest, even on Google's new Youtube website, Chrome lags while Firefox just glides through, while using less resources.

    Heck, even Microsoft's Office 2016 has become WAY more multi-threaded and hardware accelerated. It just keeps getting better, faster and smoother with each update.

    Better, more efficient parallel programming and better, more efficient resource utilization is the future of operating systems and applications. I expect in the near future that these current ARM SoCs will fair better user experience than current Intel Core M offerings, because of more cores, better interconnects and BETTER GPUs (which is KEY to a better UX).

    Intel has realized this and are starting to add more cores, and also invest heavily and much more seriously in GPUs through whatever means.

    In my opinion, Windows on ARM has little need to the little cores in big.LITTLE on these form factors. An 8 core Cortex A75 SoC with a massive GPU WILL WIPE THE FLOOR with current (or even future) Core M processors, and give 15w Intel CPUs a run for their money.

    Here's the thing though! Intel and ARM don't exist in a vacuum. The biggest elephant in the (muti-threaded, better GPU) room is AMD. Ryzen Mobile WILL be significantly more power efficient than Intel Core, with a GPU both Intel and Qualcomm can't even touch, and an interconnect (fabric) that might give ARM's CCI a good run for its money.

    If AMD can work a deal with Qualcomm, or even Samsung, to integrate a 4G/5G modem into Rizen Mobile, then ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner, THE winner actually.
  • xype - Thursday, December 7, 2017 - link

    "You're far off. Here's the thing, the future in performance is all about more low to mid power cores, not wide cores with huge single threaded performance. Even Apple is realizing this, despite the tireless arguments of iFans here and other places on the web/media."

    Yeah, that’s why the A11 has 12 low to mid power cores, instead of 2 monster single thread performance cores and 4 low power cores. Funny how no one noticed that, amirite?
  • HStewart - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - link

    Important to notice that it not the same 5G version that is included with Windows for ARM

    Qualcomm is holding them only too their own chips.
  • Someguyperson - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - link

    Qualcomm doesn't have a 5G modem in any commercial device because there aren't any 5G networks yet. Qualcomm said 5G was going to be available in the 1H 2019. This was just an announcement that the two would work together, there are no hard products announced in this partnership, so your comment is completely pointless.
  • Krysto - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - link

    So when does Qualcomm finally buy AMD - just like it wanted in 2015, before the Snapdragon 810 sales fiasco derailed the deal?
  • mdriftmeyer - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - link

    Like never. Qualcomm will be swallowed up and piece wise gutted by Broadcom.
  • Morawka - Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - link

    yeah this is the end of qualcomm.. they are putting to much of their focus on running ARM on windows. With Intel releasing Gigabit LTE modems later this year, and apple ditching qualcomm all-togather, qualcomm will be stuck fighting for scraps and paying expensive legal bills for their non-competitive monopolistic behavior.

    They had a good run, and they have some good engineers who make great modems, but they cant catch up with apple in SOC performance. When intel/amd/apple all start opening up their designs/fabs/customer base we are gonna see qualcomm kick the can.
  • nitin213 - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - link

    "hey cant catch up with apple in SOC performance" --- ever tried using an android phone? despite iOS tightly integrated with Ax chips, the battery life for the iphone sucks in comparison to phones on QCOM chips. dont mistake better ecosystem on iOS for a better ARM chip.
  • aebiv - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - link

    Wrong. The battery life on the iPhone when compared to a phone of equal size and battery, is excellent. Comparing the small iPhone to an Android phone with 50% more battery capacity is ridiculous.

    You could also, you know, read this site. They've done some quite subjective SoC testing.
  • aebiv - Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - link

    *Objective. No coffee yet.

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