While the ARM-based Surface Pro X might have been leaked out early, there were still plenty of new details regarding the latest addition to the Surface family that was unveiled at Microsoft’s special event in New York. One of them is the Microsoft SQ1, the very chip that powered the new product in which the company co-developed with Qualcomm.
On-stage, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay has stated the SQ1 has much higher power ceiling level than a normal smartphone chip at 7W in order to have the performance that required for Surface Pro X. In an interview with The Verge, Miguel Nunes, the Head of Mobile Compute Products at Qualcomm, also mentioned that the chip has scalable burst headroom that goes up to 15W.
The Verge’s article also pointed out the SQ1 is based on the 7nm Snapdragon 8cx chip that was revealed at Qualcomm Tech Summit in Hawaii last year. In its official website, Microsoft proudly listed the fact that the octa-core chip is the first ARM processor to have a CPU speed of 3GHz which is slightly faster than the 2.84GHz Snapdragon 8cx inside another ARM-based Windows 10 laptop, the Samsung Galaxy Book S.
With around 2 teraflops of processing power, the work done on the integrated Adreno 685 GPU inside the SQ1 is apparently exclusive to Microsoft. Similar to the Snapdragon 8cx, the SQ1 also comes with integrated Snapdragon X24 LTE modem that provides Surface Pro X with LTE-A connectivity.
This is indeed another huge milestone for the relationship between Microsoft and Qualcomm as they are now working directly on the silicon level, almost three years after the first public demonstration of Windows 10 running on a Snapdragon chip. It is also another proof of the company’s love for custom chips, just like the NVIDIA GPU on the first-generation Surface Book and the AMD SoC on its Xbox Project Scarlett.