Apple's M3 chip is highly anticipated for its performance prowess, but according to a recent demo from Qualcomm shown to Digital Trends (via Tom's Guide), the Snapdragon X Elite is 21% faster than the M3 processor. In the Geekbench 6 multi-core test, the Snapdragon X Elite scored 15,300 and the M3 chip scored 12,154.
Leaked multi-core benchmark results for the M3 chip were 11,700, which isn't too far off from Qualcomm's test results above or the 11,870 score pulled by Tom's Guide during a Geekbench 6 test of Apple's M3 MacBook Pro 14 with 8GB of RAM. Could the Snapdragon X Elite actually be this much faster than the M3 chip? Quite possibly, but there are a few key things to note.
There are two versions of the Snapdragon X Elite
The first major performance difference between Apple's M3 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite is the operating system. Sascha Segan from Qualcomm told Digital Trends, "The experience is not going to be the same because they're running macOS and we're running Windows, but in terms of hardware, which is the only thing we can control, it's good hardware."
It's also unclear which thermal design of the Snapdragon X Elite was tested. Tom's Guide learned at the Snapdragon Summit this year that "the Snapdragon X Elite will have at least two thermal designs: one for 23W and another for 80W." At the Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm shared benchmark scores of 15,130 and 14,000 for the 80W design and the 23W design, respectively.
While we can't know for sure whether the 80W or 23W Snapdragon X Elite was tested against Apple's M3, our best guess would be the 80W version. How the 80W Snapdragon X Elite (or the 23W design) will compare to Apple's higher-end M3 Pro or M3 Max chips remains to be seen.
Regardless, Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite being able to successfully compete with Apple's entry-level M3 chip is an impressive feat. The X Elite also features AI capabilities that Apple's M3 chip currently doesn't, which could give it a nice edge.
Right now, the estimated release window for laptops equipped with the Snapdragon X Elite is the middle of 2024. To add more interest and competition to the mix, we should start seeing laptops with Intel's AI-driven 14th Gen Meteor Lake chips in the beginning of 2024.
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