How Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite processor will reshuffle the cards on laptops – Les Numériques

The numbers are finally here! After more than two years of waiting, Qualcomm communicates about the performance of the Snapdragon X Elite. And if the numbers announced are to be believed, the Oryon cores resulting from the acquisition of startup Nuvia are devilishly efficient.

The processor itself

Summary of the technical characteristics of the Snapdragon X Elite from Qualcomm.

The Snapdragon X Elite has all the features of a modern SoC.

© Qualcomm

The Snapdragon The GPU part is provided by Adreno with a computing capacity of 4.6 TFLOPS. Everything is engraved by TSMC in 4 nm and of course includes WiFi 7. The only thing missing is Thunderbolt, which is replaced by compatibility with USB4.0. The SoC can be accompanied by LPDDR5x memory, which can reach a maximum of 64GB.

characteristics
CPU Qualcomm Oryon, 64-bit architecture, up to 12 cores at 3.8 GHz, boost up to 4.3 GHz
GPU Qualcomm Adreno up to 4.6 TFLOPs, DX12 compatible
NPU Qualcomm Hexagon, 45 TOPs
Memory LPDDR5x, 8533 MT/s throughput, up to 64 GB, 136 GB/s bandwidth, 8 channels
storage SD v3.0, NVME PCIe Gen 4, UFS 4.0
engraving 4nm
Advertisement Qualcomm Adreno DPU, up to UHD 120 Hz with HDR10
Connectivity Snapdragon X65 5G modem with up to 10 Gbps, Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth LE 5.4

Impressive numbers

During the presentation of his Snapdragon

The Snapdragon X Elite achieves a score of 3,227 on a single core under Geekbench 6.2. That’s 14% more than Apple’s M2 Max and 1% more efficient than Intel’s Core i9-13980HX, a processor straight from desktop processors. The most impressive thing is not so much the raw performance but rather the efficiency, as Qualcomm claims that it uses 30% less energy than the M2 Max, which is currently one of the most efficient processors and uses 70% less energy than the Core i9-13980HX , which, by the way, is probably the most demanding processor in a laptop.

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Against Intel’s Core i9-13980HXsvg%3E
Given the increase in size of Apple’s M2 Max

The comparison then focused on the Core i7-1360P (12C/16T) and the Core i7-1355U (10C/12T), two processors found in many ultrabooks, including the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 and Book3. The snapdragon

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Against the Core i7-13800Hsvg%3E
Faced with the Core i7 U and P enlarge

To conclude the calculation part: the Snapdragon of an Apple M2 Max according to our database. Strangely, Qualcomm no longer mentions this processor when talking about the performance of its Snapdragon X Elite and all of its 12 cores.

Slide Qualcomm announces 50% more performance for the Snapdragon X Elite compared to the Apple M2/

According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon X Elite would be 50% more efficient than Apple’s M2.

© Qualcomm

The performance of the GPU part was also praised by the mobile chip designer. The comparison with the Ryzen 9 7940HS from AMD will remain in our memory, as the comparison with the 3-year-old Iris Xe from the Core i7-13800H seems biased to us. Qualcomm says its Adreno is 80% more efficient than the Ryzen 9’s 12 RDNA3 cores at around 30 watts, achieving the same level of performance with 80% less energy. These numbers are even more astonishing given that the Adreno is announced with a performance of 4.6 TFLOPS, while we know that the Ryzen Z1 Extreme with the same 12 RDNA3 cores of AMD’s Ryzen 9 7940HS is announced with 8.6 TFLOPS, so almost twice as much.

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Against AMD’s Ryzen 9 7940HS.svg%3E
Against the Core i7-13800H. enlarge

Apple M3 and Intel Meteor Lake in ambush

However, all of these numbers need to be put into perspective as Qualcomm compares its Snapdragon. Apple is already ready for the confrontation, as in the coming days the release of the M3 processors is expected with a switch to an engraving fineness of 3 nm, which should breathe new life into the M architecture. Apple.

As for x86 processors, especially from Intel, the Meteor Lake architecture, which has been completely redesigned specifically for use in laptops and benefits from the new Intel 4 (7 nm) engraving node, is, according to early rumors, up to 60% less energy efficient than the previous generation with equivalent performance. The first equipped laptop PCs are expected in December 2023.

Windows on ARM, the thorn in Qualcomm’s side

Another problem for Qualcomm concerns Windows support for the ARM architecture. While there is an ARM version of Windows, not all developers offer ARM versions of the software.
Qualcomm also brought Microsoft to the stage to convince the audience of this lack of compatibility by confirming that the vast majority of flagship Windows applications are natively compatible with the ARM architecture. However, it should be noted that Chrome, which is used by 80% of users on Windows, is still not available in an ARM version, although there is certainly an ARM version on Chrome OS.

In the absence of an ARM version of the software, you’ll have to make do with the x86 to ARM64 emulation that’s already present in Windows On Arm, like on the Surface Pro 5G we tested a few months ago. Microsoft didn’t announce any new features in this area as part of the Qualcomm presentation, so we’ll have to make do with that. The Seattle company limited itself to highlighting its tools for designing applications for Windows on ARM.

2024 promises to be exciting

A laptop PC on a table equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor.

Qualcomm has revealed some reference designs of laptops equipped with Snapdragon X Elite.

© Qualcomm

The first laptops with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite are announced for mid-2024. HP and Lenovo executives expressed all the good things they thought of this new SoC, but without introducing any specific laptop PC. Lenovo, which has a Thinkpad equipped with a Snapdragon 8cx Gen3 which is normally practiced in the industry. We’ll have to wait for the first equipped laptop PCs to form an opinion.

We should therefore see strong competition in laptops in 2024, with Apple and its M3, Intel with Meteor Lake and AMD with its Zen5 architecture expected early next year. The race for energy efficiency is on.

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