Qualcomm's latest chip may outperform Apple's M2 — here's when it's coming

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite reference design laptop on a bench with a camera and coffee mug
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

While the Qualcomm Snapdragon X name was announced earlier this month, today at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit we got the full details on the Snapdragon X Elite chip that may be the first real threat to Apple's M-series chips since their debut 3 years ago.

Now so far we are just seeing reference designs and benchmarks from Qualcomm, but we're live at the Snapdragon Summit event and will get some chance to go hands-on and get some live benchmarks over the next couple of days.

Based on what Qualcomm has shown us so far there is certainly reason for hope that this could be the game-changer that Windows on ARM fans have dreamed over over the last several years with performance, efficiency, and a healthy dollop of AI on top.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite vs. Apple M2 vs. Intel 13th Gen CPUs

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chip is built on a 4nm processor, with 12 high-performance cores at 3.8GHz, with a dual-core boost up to 4.3GHz. Qualcomm has also upped its CPU memory game with up to 136 GB/s memory bandwidth. 

Qualcomm indicates that this yields "50% faster peak multi-threaded performance vs. M2" and "up to 2x faster CPU performance" than an Intel Core i7-13800H while offering the same peak performance with "65% less power" consumption. 

While this could all be talk, Qualcomm is at least showing its work and the underlying hardware upgrades suggest it could be the real thing. We'll take it with a grain of salt until we can get our hands on it, but meaningful Windows competition when it comes to the balance of performance and efficiency of Apple's M2 is incredibly exciting.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite vs. Intel 13th Gen vs. AMD Ryzen 7000 GPUs

Qualcomm is also taking aim at the integrated GPUs from Intel and AMD. Now we remain pretty disappointed in the integrated GPU performance from both Intel and AMD in the current generation, so this is less of a hurdle to clear, but we'll happily take better performance and efficiency.

Facing off against Intel, Qualcomm claims to have "up to 2x faster GPU performance" compared to an Intel Core i7-13800H, while matching its peak performance with 74% less power consumption.

Turning to AMD, Qualcomm isn't quite as dominant on performance with "up to 80% faster GPU performance," but it delivers an even more decisive victory on efficiency with 80% less power consumption at the same peak performance.

When will we get laptops with Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite inside?

Unfortunately Qualcomm has only been able to say that we should expect to see some laptops with Snapdragon X Elite in the first half of 2024. Here's hoping it's early in 2024, but we would have expected them to say first quarter of 2024 if that was the case.

Bottom line

There are always some caveats with the claims that every company makes with their next-generation chips. While there is a lot of compelling stuff from Qualcomm here, the most obvious warning is that these comparisons are against the current gen, but by the time laptops with these chips launch we should have Apple M3, Intel 14th Gen, and AMD Ryzen 8000 series.

However, in comparison to where Snapdragon chips have fallen in the past, if Qualcomm can hit the metrics it is showing here that will still be a massive win and perhaps enough to stay ahead of some of those other next-gen chips, particularly when it comes to efficiency. 

We'll be bringing you more from Snapdragon Summit this week and of course straight up until the chips launch next year.

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Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.