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Snapdragon X Elite takes aim at Apple, Intel and AMD

Snapdragon X Elite announcement - Finger on chip next to Snapdragon X Elite logo

Qualcomm’s latest PC platform has on-board generative AI and promises class-leading performance speeds

Disclaimer: Qualcomm flew us out to Hawaii for the Snapdragon Summit. All opinions expressed in this article are unbiased and based upon the provided data.

The Snapdragon X Elite is the first of a new tier of computing platforms in Qualcomm’s 2023 lineup, and it’s apparently the brand’s best effort yet. Announced at the Snapdragon Summit 2023 alongside the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile platform, the X Elite integrates the same AI engine as its mobile counterpart, adding a range of intelligent features alongside some impressive proposed performance benchmarks.

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At the heart is the new Qualcomm Oryon CPU, a 4nm 12-core chip with 136GB/s of memory bandwidth that Qualcomm is calling the new CPU leader in mobile computing. As standard, the processor is clocked up to 3.8GHz, but you can use the Dual-Core Boost feature to bump two of the twelve cores up to 4.3GHz.

The claim of CPU supremacy was backed up by Qualcomm showing single-threaded performance benchmarks in which the Oryon outpaced Apple’s M2 Max by around 13%. The same claim also showed that the Oryon can hit identical performance speeds as the M2 Max while drawing 30% less power. These figures are a bit misleading, as the X Elite is more likely to be competing with the M3 by the time it starts appearing in devices (expected mid-2024), but as ever, just take these claims with a whole shaker of salt.

The showcase wasn’t just about taking swipes at Apple, either. When compared to a 12-core Intel Core i7-1360p, The Snapdragon X Elite apparently proved to be 2x faster at ISO power, and matched the Intel chipset’s peak performance while using 68% less power. Even compared to a 14-core chipset (Intel’s i7-13800H, in this case), the X Elite was apparently 60% faster and matched the competitor’s peak performance at 65% less power.

Snapdragon X Elite announcement - Laptop showing Snapdragon X Elite logo

It’s a similar story with the Adreno GPU; this time, Qualcomm compared it with a Ryzen 9-7940HS GPU, and the results saw the Adreno apparently performing 80% faster than the Ryzen, and hitting the latter’s peak performance at 80% less power. Qualcomm also stated that this GPU can support up to three 4K external monitors or two 5K external monitors at 60fps.

Alongside the various benchmark flexes, Qualcomm also detailed the built-in generative AI that is set to feature on the X Elite. We’ve once again got the Hexagon NPU, but it’s beefed up here to apparently manage 45 TOPS by itself, outdoing its predecessor by 98%. The chipset is also capable of heterogeneous AI – in which the CPU, GPU and NPU all contribute – which Qualcomm claims can reach speeds of up to 75 TOPS. 

Snapdragon X Elite announcement - Finger touching laptop screen next to Snapdragon X Elite logo

The Snapdragon X Elite is said to be capable of running generative AI LLM models with over 13 billion parameters on-device, as well as generating 30 tokens per second when running with up to 7 billion parameters. No names were named here, but it’s also apparently 4.5x faster at AI processing than “competitors”. 

We’ll be able to take a Snapdragon X Elite-powered device for a test drive when they start to enter the market in mid-2024, so check back in with us then to see if the chipset’s performance can cash the checks that Qualcomm has been writing.

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