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Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite aims to take on Apple’s M2

Published Oct 24th, 2023 3:00PM EDT
Qualcomm Snapdragon X1 Elite on a laptop
Image: Qualcomm

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For a number of years now, Qualcomm has been building ARM-based computing chips designed to power lightweight, power-efficient computers — but it looks like the company is about to take computing a little more seriously. At its annual Tech Summit, Qualcomm unveiled the new Snapdragon X series of computer chips — with the first of those called the new Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite.

Qualcomm hails the new chip as the “most powerful, intelligent, and efficient processor in its class for Windows,” and at first glance, the company could be on to something — finally bringing Windows laptops to the level of performance-per-watt that MacBooks have offered for a few years now. Qualcomm flew me out to its Tech Summit in Hawaii to learn everything there is to know about the new chip.

Snapdragon X Elite Performance

Of course, while Qualcomm is emphasizing AI on its latest mobile chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, basic performance is the most important aspect of a new compute chip. After all, we’ve had a few years of ARM-based chips for Windows, but to date, they’ve been a little disappointing in performance overall.

The Snapdragon X Elite is built on a 4nm process and delivers 12 high-performance cores with a clock speed of 3.8GHz. And, it boasts a dual-core boost of up to 4.3GHz. The chipset is capable of a memory bandwidth of up to a massive 136 GB/s.

The makeup of the chip, of course, doesn’t necessarily tell the full story. According to Qualcomm, the chip is able to deliver 50% faster multi-threaded performance compared to the Apple M2, which means that Qualcomm chips could finally offer some serious competition in the world of computing. Of course, Apple’s M2 chip is its base chip — so we’ll have to see how the X Elite compares with Apple’s higher-end silicon.

Snapdragon X Elite Graphics

Qualcomm Snapdragon X1 EliteImage source: Qualcomm

The Snapdragon X Elite doesn’t leave graphics behind either. The new platform offers up to 4.6 TFLOPS of graphics performance, with support for a 4K 120Hz internal display — and the ability to power triple ultra-HD external displays or two 5K external displays. Qualcomm doesn’t compare its graphics performance against the likes of the M2 series, but it does highlight the fact that the X Elite can match the peak performance of a Ryzen 9 7940HS at 80% less power.

Everything else

Of course, as you would expect, Qualcomm does still put somewhat of an emphasis on AI performance. The Snapdragon X Elite is capable of delivering 75 TOPS (trillion operations per second) Additionally, the chip features the Qualcomm Sensing Hub, which enables things like always-on sensors and connectivity.

Qualcomm’s partners have yet to announce any new laptops with the new Snapdragon X Elite, however, the company says that laptops with the chip will start rolling out in mid-2024. That said, we’ll have an opportunity to run a few benchmarks on a laptop with the chipset over the next few days, and we’ll update this story once we have results.

Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper is based in sunny Santa Cruz, California. He has been expertly reviewing tech products for more than 8 years, and brings experience in deep technical analysis of consumer electronics devices to BGR's reviews channel.