Qualcomm Oryon CPU text on red and blue stylized background

Qualcomm has a name for its custom Windows on Arm silicon: Oryon

Qualcomm has announced that its upcoming custom Windows on Arm silicon cores will be called Oryon. There were no other details.

At Snapdragon Technology Summit 2022 in Maui today, Qualcomm announced a name for its custom Arm cores: Oryon. These are going to be included in the chips that are designed to take on Apple’s M-series custom Arm processors. The company didn’t offer any further details.

Qualcomm has been on this path for a while, having bought Santa Clara firm Nuvia for $1.4 billion back in January 2021. Nuvia was working on custom Arm architectures, and that’s exactly what Qualcomm needed to compete with Apple, particularly in the laptop computing space.

As it stands now, Qualcomm’s CPUs are based on Arm’s designs. For example, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 has four Cortex-X1 cores and four Cortex-A78 cores. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has a powerful Cortex-X3 core.

Custom silicon allows Qualcomm to own the whole stack. There’s no more relying on Arm to put out its designs. That means that it can operate more like not only Apple, but Intel and AMD too.

The new Qualcomm Oryon based chips were set to be sampling with OEMs in the second half of this year, and while Qualcomm had originally said devices would ship in the second half of 2023, that seems to have been pushed back to 2024. And given how long this product has been in development, it’s likely that it will still be behind whatever Apple has out by then, probably the M3. Still, it’s a first-gen product and Qualcomm will make it a priority to push forward, especially since the roadmap for Oryon extends beyond Windows on Arm and into mobile.

The bad news is that for Windows on Arm users, it seems like it’s going to be another year before we see a better entry from Qualcomm, assuming that the San Diego firm wants to announce the Oryon chip at its flagship event. That means we’re stuck with another year of Cortex-X1 cores while mobile is up to Cortex X3, USB 3.2 while Intel and AMD are up to USB4, and LPDDR4x while everyone else is on LPDDR5.

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