Possible Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 hits Geekbench with better scores than modern Intel processors, but it is no match for the Apple M1
Last month, Roland Quandt claimed that Qualcomm was testing a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 successor, referred to internally as the SC8280. The report added that the SoC would have Gold+ and Gold cores, eschewing the power-efficiency cores that it included in the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2. Apparently, Qualcomm has been testing its Gold+ cores at 2.7 GHz and the Gold ones at 2.43 GHz.
Now, a Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) supposedly containing the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 has made its way to Geekbench. According to the listing, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 has eight cores and a 2.69 GHz clock speed. While we cannot verify the listing, its ARMv8 (64-bit) Family 8 Model D4B Revision 0' identifier does not correlate with any other chipsets we are aware of. The listing does not provide any other details about the QRD, but it offers insight into its relative performance.
We should stress that these scores would have been achieved with an engineering sample, if they are indeed legitimate. Hence, they will probably be lower than any retail SoC. According to the listing, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 has 40% better single-core performance than the Snapdragon 8cx, we have not benchmarked the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, and 15% lower than the Snapdragon 888. Additionally, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 manages just 56% of Apple M1's performance in the same benchmark.
The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 gets closer to the Apple M1 in the multi-core benchmark, but its score is only 64% of what Apple's chipset achieves. However, these difference only serves to highlight how powerful the Apple M1 is in short bursts, as the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 outscores the Snapdragon 8cx by 78% and the Snapdragon 888 by 31%.
Moreover, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 beats the Core i7-1065G7 by 5% in multi-core work and is 9% short of the Core i7-1165G7. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 is also about 20% shy of the AMD Ryzen 7 4800U and 14% behind the Ryzen 5 4600U.
In short, these scores would represent a generational leap in performance from the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. They do not come close to matching the Apple M1 though, which is ultimately the SoC against which people will compare any future Qualcomm laptop SoCs. In saying that, the performance shown here would put the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 in the same ballpark as Ice Lake-U and Tiger Lake-U processors, which is something that we cannot say of other ARM chipsets like the Microsoft SQ1 or Microsoft SQ2 in the Surface Pro X.