On Tuesday, during its annual Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, Qualcomm made a significant announcement that has the tech world buzzing. The company unveiled its latest innovation, the Snapdragon X Elite, which it proudly proclaims to be its most potent processor to date.
The Snapdragon X Elite represents a significant leap forward in Qualcomm’s chip technology. This Arm-based chip succeeds last year’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and boasts a remarkable performance boost. Fueled by 12 Oryon cores, Qualcomm claims it delivers up to two times faster CPU performance compared to Intel’s 13th-gen Core i7-1360P and i7-1355U processors, all while drawing up to 68 percent less power.
The chip is built on a cutting-edge 4nm design fabricated by TSMC, offering standard clock speeds of 3.8GHz with a dual-core boost reaching up to 4.3GHz. It comes equipped with 42MB of total cache and an LPDDR5x memory bandwidth of 136 GB/s. In comparison to Apple’s M2 chip, the Snapdragon X Elite boasts 50 percent faster peak multithreaded performance. Additionally, thanks to its integrated GPU, it offers double the graphics performance compared to Intel’s i7-13800H at ISO power.
The Snapdragon X Elite is not only about raw power. Qualcomm’s new AI Engine, which combines the Oryon CPU, Adreno GPU, and Hexagon NPU, promises to deliver up to 75 TOPs, positioning it as 4.5 times more powerful than its competitors. It is also designed to efficiently run large language models with up to 13 billion parameters, boasting the fastest Stable Diffusion performance among laptop chips.
Other notable features include support for AV1 4K HDR video encoding/decoding, 5G connectivity with downloads of up to 10 Gbps, Wi-Fi 7 support, and Qualcomm’s built-in Sensing Hub.
This announcement marks a pivotal moment for Qualcomm as it seeks to compete more effectively with industry giants like Intel and, more specifically, Apple. With Apple’s shift away from x86-based chips to its custom-designed M-series silicon, Qualcomm’s development of the Snapdragon X Elite’s Oryon cores over the past few years, following its acquisition of Nuvia in 2021, is poised to challenge the status quo.
However, the challenge remains to translate the chip’s impressive specifications and power into real-world performance. Unlike Apple, Qualcomm doesn’t have the luxury of designing both its chips and the software/OS its processors run. The effectiveness of the Snapdragon X Elite in systems running Windows on Arm will be closely watched.
Retail PCs powered by the Snapdragon X Elite are expected to hit the market in mid-2024, providing an opportunity to assess how Qualcomm’s latest laptop chip performs in practice.