Qualcomm unveiled the new Snapdragon X Elite platform for PCs at the Snapdragon Summit yesterday, claiming it’s the fastest CPU for a laptop. It supposedly outperforms any chip from Intel, AMD, or Apple, while consuming a fraction of the power. It’s scheduled to hit the market later next year.
The Fastest Laptop Processor Ever
The Snapdragon X Elite features ARM architecture, which typically powers mobile phones. It’s a 4nm chip with 12 Oryon CPU cores — the fastest laptop CPU ever. It can outperform powerful Intel desktops with better power efficiency. “It’s the fastest CPU for a laptop, period. Period! It’s faster than anything Apple, anything AMD, anything Intel. It’s at the same level as some of the fastest CPUs you can buy from Intel for a gaming rig, one that is liquid-cooled,” Qualcomm’s CEO told Fast Company.
Qualcomm claims that the new Snapdragon X Elite beats Core i7 processors in Geekbench benchmarks. It’s also 50% faster than Apple’s M2 chip (which is also ARM-based) — at least on paper. Beyond the pure numbers, the real-world performance can only be tested when laptops featuring the chip come out next year. But Qualcomm seems ambitious, going as far as to promise “multi-day battery life on a single charge”.
Huge Leaps in On-device AI
Raw power isn’t all the Snapdragon X Elite has to offer. It’s also leagues ahead of the competition when it comes to AI. The integrated AI engine inside the X Elite is capable of running generative AI models with as much as 13 billion perimeters right within the device — 4.5x better than what AMD or Intel can currently do.
The press release also announced Snapdragon Seamless. It’s a cross-platform technology that allows devices to “talk” to one another and share data. Snapdragon Seamless will allow users to quickly switch between devices. Think dragging files across or automatically handing off your earbuds between them.
The one major challenge for wider adoption of ARM-based chips in the PC space is the operating system. The large majority of laptops and PCs run on x86, and that’s what Microsoft Windows is designed for. But x86 software isn’t directly compatible with ARM. It’s a problem that OEMs will have to solve to pave the way for wider ARM adoption.