VP for Home windows and Chrome PCs, Qualcomm

Throughout this time of provide crunch, there’s extra give attention to ever on the PC and laptop computer markets – each little element will get scrutinized relying on what fashions have what options and the way these corporations are nonetheless updating their portfolios yearly regardless of all of the excessive demand. One of many secondary gamers within the laptop computer area is Qualcomm, with their Home windows on Snapdragon partnerships to convey Home windows to Snapdragon powered laptops with x86 virtualization and a giant bump in battery life in addition to connectivity. The massive crest on Qualcomm’s horizon on this area is the 2023 product strains, utilizing CPU cores constructed by their acquisition of Nuvia. At Tech Summit in December 2021, we spoke to Qualcomm’s Miguel Nunes, VP of Product Administration for Cell Computing, who leads up the cost of the laptop computer division to see what’s coming down the pipe, and what measures Qualcomm are taking to convey a aggressive product to market.

Miguel has spent 12 years at Qualcomm, working by means of the product administration of the smartphone, pill, and now compute portfolio. This entails managing a number of design groups globally, directing technique, and enabling partnerships with OEMs. This comes on the again of seven years at Intel as an utility engineer and technical advertising supervisor at Intel. Miguel’s background is heavy within the interface between engineering and precise finish product, and it’s clear in speaking to him he likes to get his palms deep into how the methods he manages performs.

Miguel Nunes


Ian Cutress



Ian Cutress: My first query I feel is one which’s fairly private to me, as a result of I have been ready for it for therefore lengthy! We lastly acquired the announcement that 64-bit x86 emulation is coming to every thing Snapdragon 7c and above operating Home windows 11. Why has it taken so lengthy?

Miguel Nunes: It took a little bit of time to get proper! If there’s one factor we have seen going by means of quite a lot of these utility journeys, is that there is quite a lot of badly written software program on the market! I imply, there’s. It has nothing to do with the structure actually, however the software program might be horribly… simply the quantity of points you run into. It isn’t stuff you anticipate. Simply unusual stuff pops up that you must work by means of.

IC: Are you speaking like instruction circulation not likely mapping correctly to the core?

MN: There was a few of that, however you’ll most likely perceive what I imply once I say that half the stuff we noticed was installer bugs doing ‘if machine’ kind checks. So the set up fails, or the motive force does not unload as a result of it is attempting to place it within the x86 listing. I imply simply little issues like that, that has brought on issues. So yeah, whereas it ought to have labored on paper however it does not as a result of it is within the improper place, or the DLL isn’t loading, stuff like that. We took some time to get there. When it comes to instruction optimizations, I feel there are some that are not tremendous optimized, however that wasn’t nearly all of points. Nearly all of points are principally simply loading points, CPU detections, and there is quite a lot of software program on the market that use libraries they get from some place else. These libraries are doing the precise factor, so it is only a linking downside, and it took a bunch of time to get that stuff ported. So you may see a bunch of open-source stuff ported as nicely. It simply takes time to get that prepared.

IC: So it is not essentially an instruction translation situation, it was dealing above that on the OS layer?

MN: Yeah, it was stuff we didn’t anticipate. However it [Windows] is a legacy ecosystem that hasn’t modified – so no person’s had that downside earlier than!

IC: And in comparison with another x86 translation fashions by your opponents, who personal their very own ecosystem, signal the software program, they do not essentially have these points.

MN: [nods] That’s proper.


IC: There have been some previews with Home windows 10 with it enabled, however you’re doing a clear lower with Win11. Is there a technical cause behind locking it into Home windows 11?

MN: Not our choice. There’s nothing technical.

IC: So it’s purely a subsequent technology of {hardware}, it is all Home windows 11, so let’s have that as the start line?

MN: Yeah, it wasn’t a Qualcomm choice. You’re proper, as a result of if you consider the earlier OS is Home windows 10, and Home windows 11 is the brand new platform. It was a Microsoft choice of the place it lands.

IC: At this occasion, I do know this yr Qualcomm isn’t saying a lot concerning the Nuvia acquisition, however on the launch Qualcomm mentioned that in 2022 there could be sampling silicon, for 2023 merchandise. That was reiterated that on the investor day a month in the past. So every thing’s nonetheless heading in the right direction?

MN: Sure. 

IC: Simply to make clear for me, is Nuvia engaged on a selected core? Or is it a full SoC, paired with an Adreno GPU and Qualcomm’s 5G and others?

MN: It is a good query, as a result of I do know everybody thinks ‘Nuvia chip’. It requires much more of a chip than what Nuvia had [when we acquired them]. They have been primarily the CPU core on the time. There’s a cloth round that as ordinary that glues it collectively, with our optimized reminiscence IP and stuff round that. So consider it extra on the CPU efficiency subsystem. On the GPU, we have got the GPU belongings in Adreno. We’re [going to be] making quite a lot of adjustments there too. On the GPU aspect we’ll be making it extra PC pleasant, after which we’re scaling the opposite stuff resembling AI, and different issues like that too. Nuvia is a part of the answer, however there’s different stuff there after all.


IC: Historically Qualcomm has used a giant/little, or a giant/medium/little hybrid design. It sounds to me that Nuvia is solely engaged on that high-performance core. Are you able to develop in the event that they’re doing an equal efficiency-core to go along with it? Ought to we anticipate that to be one thing to be known as Kryo?

MN: We may have two core constructions that might be just like be what we have already got. We actually consider that the efficiency and the effectivity optimized combos work. We see that in our lengthy battery life information, as a result of quite a lot of the workloads do not want that efficiency. So you will note that construction nonetheless in place – what precisely we do on every core, is TBD. However you will note an analogous construction – you simply will not see a bunch of massive cores!

IC: The objective with the Nuvia design is to scale from 7c+, all the way in which up?

MN: Oh, finally we wish to use it throughout the board. This know-how scales very well. As Cristiano and others have talked about, our focus primarily goes to be after the upper efficiency computing first, however our roadmap will scale. The opposite factor we’ll see us attempt to do, which we have been attempting for some time on this trade, is to speed up. The pocket book trade is a little bit bit slower than the cell trade, so how can we speed up the tempo of innovation? So you may see some exercise there as nicely in order that we are able to actually drive innovation sooner.


IC: On the investor day, it was fairly poignant that on the slide it mentioned ‘Nuvia Group’. So ought to we consider the Nuvia workforce as a separate design home internally, in comparison with say, Kryo and Adreno? I am questioning to what stage they’re built-in into the corporate? Final I heard, they have been nonetheless in the identical workplaces they have been once they have been a startup!

MN: I feel quite a lot of that’s simply COVID, relating to workplaces and issues like that. However no, they’re a part of the corporate, they usually’re a part of the workforce right here. I see them as our CPU workforce. We do have completely different groups, so it is exhausting to say as a result of some groups in a single location will work on a core, others work on one other core, however on the finish of it, they’re a part of a workforce. They’re simply half Qualcomm, they are not separate, simply a part of our CPU workforce.

IC: When it comes to inside roadmaps, the large focus with Nuvia is this primary laptop-focused chip in 2023. Normally after we communicate to corporations, particularly the scale that Qualcomm is, we talk about 3-year, 5-year roadmaps, after which 7-year exploratory roadmaps. Is that each one on the playing cards with the Nuvia workforce?

MN: Oh completely. We’re wanting how we scale the capabilities method into the longer term. Do you wish to see our long-term roadmap?

IC: Sure, please!

MN: [laughs] However for certain, you realize it is one thing we wish to leverage as a lot as we are able to. The know-how is nice, we have got the efficiency, we have got the effectivity, and we have got a lot IP that we really feel fairly good. You have most likely gathered that, as we hinted at analyst day, we really feel fairly good that we are able to construct out. It’s actually superior.


IC: One query that has come up which I feel is related given what Apple is doing within the area – A variety of the senior employees at Nuvia are the individuals who really have been behind that chip. However as a result of Qualcomm is concentrated on this Home windows on Snapdragon ecosystem, do you see the competitor for that Nuvia laptop computer to be Apple as a result of each the chips are ARM-based, or Intel, as a result of with Intel, you are each utilizing Home windows as the primary working system?

MN: That may be a actually good query. , I might actually say each, and each within the sense that, there’s going to be ‘inside ecosystem’ competitors, as a result of one ecosystem is a Home windows ecosystem and one is a Mac ecosystem. It additionally is dependent upon the section. I might say it is most likely a section query. As a result of for those who have a look at sure segments, Home windows is king, and that’s saying they’re nearly all of that section. So for there, Intel is our competitors. Then for different segments, we are able to present the identical capabilities, if not higher, than what Apple is doing. So it is dependent upon the lens you are it although, however it’s actually each. And we’re pretty agnostic, and actually, if it is Home windows or if it is Chrome in that area, our worth is unbiased of the working system. There’s quite a lot of work that goes into the working system tuning and, getting the product working nicely, which Microsoft spends a bunch of time doing, however you realize, our platform is unbiased of that.

IC: So at this occasion, you are asserting Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. Is it a holdover till the Nuvia-equipped chips are prepared?

MN: No, no, by no means. The best way I might see it, and if you see the stuff we talked about if you get your palms on – the information we confirmed places our 8cx Gen 3 as a mainstream product. So you may see our comparisons are in opposition to mainstream Core i5, which is de facto nonetheless the mainstream CPU for customers. In order that’s the place 8cx Gen 3 competes actually very well. You will see the efficiency, the ability, and also you’ll see the AI story carry out very well. That is what we meant to do.

It was focused there, focused on the principal section. Our roadmap sooner or later takes us in a special stage of efficiency. So it is simply actually completely different tiers, and we consider we’ve to maintain the tiers going, as a result of this market is a killer market. Even our Snapdragon 7c+, the stuff we’re doing there’s actually retaining the nice/higher/greatest mannequin going and bringing worth to the entry tiers. It’s actually attention-grabbing really – the entry tier has developed a lot over the previous 24 months, greater than I feel anyone anticipated, and so there’s quite a lot of worth there, too. So we’ll proceed to go after the nice/ higher/greatest or the low/mid/ excessive kind of merchandise.


IC: So one of many issues that has me is that Qualcomm performs so much on this ultra-thin, ultra-portable market – it’s known as an ACPC, however it’s ultra-portable with further connectivity in a conventional sense. What is the scope for going past that? At present we see the ultra-portable market round 15-20 watts, possibly as much as 28 watts, however then the laptop computer area additionally expands to 45 and 65 watts. Qualcomm has Adreno graphics IP that the corporate retains saying it scales – however does it scale to one thing greater?

MN: It is an attention-grabbing query. , this wattage factor, both method, it drives me loopy, as a result of what are you evaluating it to? TDPs are a little bit bit mysterious because it is dependent upon the way you measure TDP.  However we’ll ship efficiency TDP, and this ‘increased stage TDP efficiency’ at a decrease tier. So even you may see at the moment, after we’ll present you’ll present you i5 stage efficiency, which is at a 22 watts TDP, we ship it at like 9 watts. So we’ll ship perf at a TDP.

Actually, you realize, to let you know the reality – we are able to scale fairly excessive. It is what the market desires, and what merchandise we goal to compete with. However we wish to compete within the ultra-mobility area as a result of it’s necessary to us. We aren’t targeted on desktops at the moment and issues like that, but when the market sees worth, and our merchandise are good in that market, it is one thing we undoubtedly have a look at. We give attention to the cell market, however with a a lot increased stage of efficiency at a decrease TDP.

IC: So only for my private edification, if you say ‘22 watts efficiency at 9 watts’, that is nice. However I simply need that very same effectivity at 22 Watts!

MN: You need increased efficiency on the identical TDP! Which once more, it is a good query – only a few individuals perceive that. It is going to be an OEM design level selection. The OEM resolve if it desires to construct a thinner kind issue, or it desires increased perf on the identical TDP. I feel there’s most likely a mixture of each, however we’ll scale pretty nicely, however nonetheless at a considerably decrease TDP than what you’d get with others – considerably. So then the query is whether or not it’s time [for Qualcomm to move into the new market]? I imply, I am a giant fanless believer, and so I like fanless designs. However we may scale on the know-how. So it is actually about what are the merchandise the precise design factors/


IC: I am coming to your occasion with the Intel flagship EVO design laptop computer – a Core i7-1195G7 within the MSI Status 14. On the airplane it provides me 16 hours battery life – which I do know remains to be technically six hours lower than what Qualcomm supplied three years in the past, however it runs all my software program. At what level does Qualcomm demand a minimal specification? You have already got reference designs – at what level do you design together with your companions an equal to the Intel EVO ecosystem making certain that each one designs meet very particular certification, in addition to driver assist over 12/24 months making certain that efficiency remains to be excessive? Is there scope for that type of platform in your ecosystem?

MN: we do not have a platform like that. It is attention-grabbing – we consider that each product must be optimized. That’s the place we work with our companions – we actually push that aggressively. Each product must be optimized to the very best capabilities. You will see this after we speak about safety, as we’re not merely throwing a bunch of security measures in there. We do not consider, we do not need an EVO programme, we do not need a completely different factor – all people ought to get an excellent minimal. Why should not you, as a shopper. get the very best safety? You do not wish to go create a bunch of sub-brands and confusion available in the market – we wish each product to be extremely optimized.

Finally, simply search for the Snpadragon brand, and also you get safety, and also you get increased effectivity. Perhaps it is a scale factor, as we are able to do it now, as a result of we’re working with a smaller variety of designs. In actuality, we may do it, and however we simply wish to get to a degree the place we the software program is so extremely optimized, we cannot see quite a lot of product variants which might be exterior of parts choice.

IC: I’ve acquired just a few selection phrases for a few of your companions on that!

MN: [laughs] It is not like getting within the x86 world, as if you design these issues, cooling is a giant deal as a result of it’s going to throttle for those who don’t optimize. That is not a problem for us. We’ve got an excellent system design, and it is simpler for individuals to observe – then it comes all the way down to part selection: are they choosing the right shows that aren’t power-hungry, stuff like that.

IC: So I discover you might have a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 laptop computer beside you – is that the Qualcomm reference design, or is {that a} accomplice design?

MN: It’s our design. 

IC: What’s so particular about it?

MN: It is really what we use to develop o. It is an actual factor, it’s an actual PC, and it is an actual kind issue. It is usable, and I exploit it as my each day system now, so it is an actual factor.

IC: So it is a improvement platform, not a reference design?

MN: For us it’s a improvement platform, each {hardware} and software program. We’ve got a bunch of connectors in right here that join and stuff, however it’s as near an actual product as doable.

IC: It’s a really vibrant pink!

MN: Snapdragon pink. That is why we had it made.

IC: Do you thoughts me asking who your accomplice with that’s?

MN: We used one of many extra mainstream ODMs. We designed it they usually simply manufactured it.

IC: And also you’ve acquired two cameras on the prime?

MN: Sure, and we’ve different demos with different cameras within the demo room. 


IC: Talking of issues that use AI performance, I exploit NVIDIA’s RTX voice on my principal PC for dwell recordings to assist with background noise. But when I have already got audio recorded, there isn’t any RTX Voice-like post-processing software program that I can simply drag a file into. You probably have the {hardware}, can Qualcomm do it?

MN: If you requested me this final night time (earlier than the occasion), I mentioned I’d look into it for you. The result’s I feel we are able to! We’re getting ready a demo on it. I requested the inner workforce if we are able to post-process, and we really can.

IC: Additionally on the AI entrance, this has been one in every of Qualcomm’s strengths in smartphones. However in relation to laptop computer design, your opponents have an issue with the truth that there aren’t that many purposes that they’ll give attention to once they speak about AI, except for digicam, they usually begin clutching at straws to advertise the AI. Finally they’re optimizing some software program that has restricted scope. So how are you approaching the messaging and the applying because it involves ACPC AI?

MN: We’ll have some demos on stage at the moment with us with Microsoft, and you will note them speak about AI and a few of the issues they’re doing. We see important worth for AI in productiveness use instances. In the event you simply take into consideration all of the stuff that is occurring within the cloud, Workplace 365, there is a bunch of stuff. There’s quite a lot of AI processing in cloud at the moment, however you wish to convey that nearer to the sting. So quite a lot of productiveness issues for Workplace, and quite a lot of issues in Microsoft Groups. A variety of it’s centered on the digicam, however it’s not only for photos, it is for taking the digicam inputs and utilizing it for issues. So you may see quite a lot of innovation round that.

As you realize, the processing energy you must run that stuff may be very excessive. In our Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, we’ve 29 TOPs of AI. It is simply huge quantities of AI efficiency, and we’ll use all of it.

IC: Is that 29 TOPs for CPU, GPU plus Hexagon, all three mixed collectively? (MN: Sure) Do you even have software program that may use all three concurrently, or are you counting on three separate purposes utilizing it?

MN: It is dependent upon the software program. There’s software program that would go throughout them, after which for some software program it is smart to make use of one accelerator versus the opposite. However you can go throughout them for those who needed to.

IC: So may I argue that you simply’re focusing so much on company use case for AI acceleration first, as a result of that is been your main market at the moment?

MN: Appropriate, sure. I feel that is the place all of us relate to, as a result of we have been utilizing these items a lot for Groups, and Zoom, and issues like that. There’s simply a lot stuff you are able to do to make these experiences higher. Decision cleanups, I imply, there are such a lot of issues you are able to do.

IC: Video upscaling? So you may simply transmit 240p and it scales to 1080p?

MN: Numerous issues like that. Cleansing the background lights, as cameras on these items aren’t at all times nice, to make it look higher. So there are many various things round that, and we have got a giant give attention to digicam too – cameras have change into tremendous necessary in PCs rapidly. So quite a lot of work on digicam, audio, and it is quite a lot of use instances together with productiveness, so it is not only one factor.

IC: Please mandate a minimal 1080p 60 fps digicam in each Snapdragon laptop computer!

MN: Oh, I want I may! I want to go increased than that! However sure, we all know what you imply.

IC: With every thing Qualcomm is asserting at Tech Summit about ACPC, what do you assume will fly beneath the radar that individuals ought to really give attention to?

MN: It is a good query. There are particular issues we’re doing to digicam, and with audio, the place individuals have it good at the moment, however it’s not nice. It might be so a lot better. The enhancements we’re making are actually going to make it so a lot better. Some of these items will not be new per se, however it’s considerably higher than what most have, and it is doable to enhance these experiences and I feel quite a lot of the laptop computer experiences have gotten nearer and nearer to your cellphone.

IC: Do these experiences nonetheless depend on the OEM shopping for into these options? 

MN: Not that a lot. In actual fact, one of many issues we wish to do, and again to your Evo questions, is simply to guarantee that some of these items is all over the place. Simply the essential capabilities that everyone ought to get – it is not non-compulsory and it is simply in your product. Everyone ought to have nice audio, and we’ll work to guarantee that these options are there. Even with cameras, for instance, we’re working with the sensor ecosystem to guarantee that the PC OEMs have entry to sensors which might be really higher than 720p. There’s an entire enablement piece to go make these issues normal. Our objective is to make sure each system goes to have an amazing expertise, not simply the particular ones that OEMs that select to make.


Many due to Miguel and his workforce for his or her time.


Supply By https://www.anandtech.com/present/17253/anandtech-interview-with-miguel-nunes-senior-director-for-pcs-qualcomm