Can ARM Based Devices Out-Muscle the Establishment

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There has been some excitement recently centred around a new client platform launch. Now, I don’t say this lightly, as we see so many, and it is always interesting to see innovation in design and feature upgrades. However, I believe that we are on the brink of something new, that may challenge the current status quo in the mobile computing space, and this is why I feel very excited about this and what it means. For many years device selection for corporate users has ultimately resulted in a proven and agreed specification being matched to an OEM’s latest device from their business range of products. This scenario has traditionally been a strong hold for Intel, from a hardware platform and a Microsoft Operating System, from a software platform perspective. Latterly we have seen AMD make strong gains into the commercial hardware market share based on their Ryzen CPUs.

Organisations are increasingly facing challenges such as:

  • Device performance.
  • Ensuring devices and their data are both secure.
  • Rising energy costs.
  • The increasing demands of the end user to support hybrid working.
  • Sourcing IT that can contribute to the business sustainability targets and goals.

 

All these factors now need to be considered at the point of device selection in all organisations for their user communities.

Enter Qualcomm, who are not new to the industry, after all they have been in business for many years producing the components that are found in smartphone, IoT solutions and automotive technologies.  However, this is the interesting bit - for a couple of years now their Snapdragon CPU has not only been powering the leading smartphones but is also deemed powerful enough by some PC OEMs to be the primary compute CPU in certain laptop products. Their latest mobile CPU, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen3, has broken through for the first time into a true commercial device, the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s resulting in a new hardware platform option for corporate IT departments to consider.

The Snapdragon CPU by its heritage and 5nm architecture is very mobility focused and therefore extremely energy efficient. For example, it is claimed that over a full day’s use of a laptop device is easily achieved from a single charge such is the low power draw of the CPU. Addressing the performance question is also a key point. We are under no illusion that the latest Snapdragon CPU will be aligned to those personas or workstyles that demand the complex and heavy compute power of high-end systems or mobile workstations. However, for most corporate users whose main applications are contained with the Microsoft Office suite this CPU should be more than capable.

The emergence of Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 based devices in commercial laptops appears to offer organisations real food for thought as a new alternative platform. As the year progresses, we understand more device options and manufacturers will start to include the Snapdragon CPU in their devices, making device choice more compelling. Consideration needs to be made that the Snapdragon CPU is optimised for Windows 11 and modern deployment methodologies using Intune / Autopilot, however many organisations are already in the process of running Proof of Concepts on Windows 11 and if they haven’t already, are planning to move to modern deployment methods. Being an ARM based architecture, there is a need to perform an element of application assurance testing for the current software application stack, however this is also true when moving from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

Computacenter has developed services to help our customer along both journeys so I would encourage any organisation that is looking to actively test Windows 11 and or modern deployment methods to include those products based on the Snapdragon platform in their evaluation process, to evaluate if all the benefits the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen CPU offers can be realised. 

If you require more information on this subject, then please reach out to your aligned Computacenter Sales team.


Mark Kennell

Solution Leader – End User Computing

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