Recently, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon X Elite platform. This platform is poised to drive a new wave of Windows laptops, with a planned release in mid-2024. This unveiling represents a significant achievement for Qualcomm. They are competing directly with industry giants such as Apple and Intel.
Key Specifications of Snapdragon X Elite Platform
|CPU||Qualcomm Oryon, 64-bit architecture, 12 cores|
|up to 3.8 GHz, single and dual-core boost up to 4.3 GHz|
|GPU||Qualcomm Adreno, up to 4.6 TFLOPs, supports DX12|
|NPU||Qualcomm Hexagon, 45 TOPs|
|Memory (RAM)||LPDDR5x, 8533 MT/s transfer rate, up to 64GB|
|Storage||SD v3.0, NVME over PCIe Gen 4, UFS 4.0|
|Display||Qualcomm Adreno DPU, up to UHD 120Hz with HDR10|
|Connectivity||Snapdragon X65 5G Modem, up to 10 Gbps,|
|Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth LE 5.4|
|More Features||AV1 encoding, decoding for 4K HDR video,|
|lossless sound with Snapdragon Sound Tech Suite,|
|on-device generative AI at 30 tokens per second,|
|“enterprise grade” security|
Impressive Performance Metrics
The Snapdragon X Elite features the Oryon CPU, equipped with 12 cores and impressive clock speeds. It is capable of outperforming both Apple’s M2 Max and Intel’s Core i9-13980HX processors in single-threaded scores.
According to Qualcomm, it can achieve similar peak performance while consuming significantly less power, reducing power consumption by 30% compared to Apple and 70% compared to Intel.
Outstanding Graphics and Memory Capabilities
The Qualcomm Adreno GPU, integrated into the platform, delivers outstanding performance with up to 4.6 TFLOPs. It outperforms the graphics capabilities of both Intel Iris Xe and AMD’s Ryzen 9 7940HS, all while maintaining significantly lower power consumption.
Additionally, the Snapdragon X Elite supports memory (RAM) up to 64GB, providing ample resources for multitasking and demanding applications.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite platform supports 5G connectivity, along with the latest Wi-Fi standards, including Wi-Fi 7. While it doesn’t support Thunderbolt, it offers multiple USB ports, enabling seamless connectivity for various peripherals.
Advancements in AI and Sensing Hubs
The inclusion of Qualcomm’s Hexagon NPU, with a processing capability of up to 45 TOPs, signifies a new era in localized AI processing. The platform’s Sensing Hub likely designed for human presence detection, enhancing security and power efficiency in laptops.
While the specifications and claims are impressive, the real-world performance of the Snapdragon X Elite remains to be seen. It’s essential to conduct thorough benchmarks to validate Qualcomm’s assertions.
Announcing the most powerful, intelligent, and efficient processor in its class for Windows: #Snapdragon X Elite. 💪💯 It ushers in a new era of intelligent computing with best-in-class CPU performance, leading on-device #AI, and exceptional battery life. #SnapdragonSummit pic.twitter.com/VeQTqlxeE6
— Snapdragon (@Snapdragon) October 24, 2023
Snapdragon X Elite Release Date
Qualcomm anticipates that laptops powered by the Snapdragon X Elite platform will be available to consumers from mid-2024. This timeline aligns with previous releases, and we can expect various PC vendors to embrace this platform in different form factors.
In my view, the Snapdragon X segment of the livestream has concluded, and here are some noteworthy observations:
- They employed a mix of Linux and Windows for tests.
- Geekbench as exclusive CPU test utilized.
- 3DMark Wildlife Extreme was the sole GPU test employed.
- Real-world workloads were absent, mainly due to the WoA emulation layer.
- Surprisingly, there was no gameplay demonstration.
- They made no mention of compatibility with dedicated GPUs (dGPUs).
- The presentation featured Intel’s ‘most popular’ chips rather than the flagship chips for each TDP (1370p (14c)>1360p (12c) and 13900H>13800H).
- No pricing details.
- The transistor count not provided.
- There was no information about design wins or actual products; only three partnerships were mentioned.
- They showcased only 17 native non-Microsoft Arm apps, which included 6 video/music streaming apps, 3 messengers, and 8 photo editing apps.
- There was a bit of inconsistency between M2 for multi-threaded and M2 Max for single-threaded performance.
- The AI slide lacked specific details or disclaimers, offering only a vague reference to ‘PC laptop competition.’
While the technical achievements appear competitive, particularly against last-gen competitors, I remain skeptical about various aspects. Without information about the transistor count, we can’t estimate how much OEMs will invest.
The Broader Perspective
It’s worth noting that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite is not an isolated development. The company has announced that the Elite series is just one of many versions they plan to release over the coming years, targeting different PC categories and price points.
Although there are no recent breakthroughs in translating x86 apps to ARM64, the impressive performance of the Snapdragon X Elite might make up for the lack of optimization in legacy x86 apps.
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