We all know Qualcomm Snapdragon has been a dominant force in the Android smartphone market. But, when it comes to Windows-on-Arm laptop processor, Snapdragon has been less than stellar. This might change with newly announced Snapdragon X Elite SoC.
Qualcomm announced their latest Windows-on-Arm laptop processor Snapdragon X Elite along with launch flagship mobile processor Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
The latest Snapdragon X Elite SoC, featuring the brand-new Oryon CPU cores, might change things in the Windows laptop CPU market dominated by AMD and Intel.
Qualcomm has been trying for years for pie of Windows laptop processor. The journey started with Snapdragon 8cx Gen 1 then some more generations. This was not enough for to gain much interest from Laptop manufacturers and consumers alike.
Things took a change in direction with Qualcomm’s Nuvia acquisition from early 2021 paving way for what we have today, Oryon CPU cores powering Snapdragon X elite processors.
Now, let’s dive deeper into the next generation of Qualcomm’s laptop chips.
Technical Specifications of Snapdragon X Elite
- CPU – Prime Cores: 12x Oryon, 3.80 GHz (2C Turbo: 4.3GHz) | mfg Process: 4nm
- GPU – Adreno SD X Elite: 4.6 TFLOPS
- NPU/AI – Hexagon: 46 TOPS (INT4)
- Memory – LPDDR5x-8533: 136GB/sec | Capacity: Up to 64 GB
- Storage – UFS 4.0
- Connectivity – Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 7 + BE 5.4 (Discrete) | Modem: Snapdragon X65 (Discrete) | USB – 3x USB-C, USB 4
High Level Overview
|Snapdragon X Elite comparison with previous generations|
|Snapdragon X Elite||Snapdragon 8cx|
|Prime Cores||12x Oryon|
3.80 GHz 2C Turbo: 4.3GHz
|4 x C-A76|
|4 x C-A76|
|Efficiency Cores||N/A||4x C-A78|
|4 x C-A55|
|4 x C-A55|
SD X Elite
8cx Gen 3
|Adreno 690||Adreno 680|
46 TOPS (INT4)
|Hexagon 8cx Gen 3|
|Memory||8 x 16-bit|
|8 x 16-bit|
|8 x 16-bit|
|8 x 16-bit|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-FI 7 + BE 5.4|
|Wi-Fi 6E + BT 5.1||Wi-Fi 6 + BT 5.1||Wi-Fi 5 + BT 5.0|
|Process||4nm||Samsung 5LPE||TSMC N7||TSMC N7|
The Oryon CPU: A Game-Changer
The Oryon CPU cores are the result of Qualcomm’s acquisition of Nuvia in early 2021. These cores are designed to be high-performance, fully-custom Arm CPU cores, marking a significant departure from Qualcomm’s previous reliance on Arm’s Cortex designs in previous generations like 8cx.
Unlike its predecessors, the Snapdragon X Elite SoC will feature 12 Oryon CPU cores, replacing the traditional big.LITTLE architecture for a homogenous CPU design. This is a great move that could redefine the performance metrics for Windows-on-Arm laptops.
Memory Powering the Orion CPU
The Orion CPU is powered b latest LPDDR5x RAM which can go up to insane 8533 Mbps. Making X Elite with one of the fastest memory in the market. The connection between RAM and CPU will be via 128-bit LPDDR5x memory bus.
Coming to cache, Qualcomm has stated total combined cache (L2 + L3) at 42MB. This is the total of all cores. In comparison, Apple M2 processor at 28 MB combined cache and M2 Pro has 56 MB of combined (L1 + L2) cache. So
The GPU : Powered by latest Adreno
The Snapdragon X Elite also features Qualcomm’s latest generation Adreno GPU, which supports DirectX 12 and ray tracing.
The GPU game of Snapdragon has always been great. No surprise, the GPU specs of Snapdragon X elite is great too.
NPU: ready for AI era
On the AI front, the Hexagon NPU has been significantly revamped, offering 45 TOPS of performance, a substantial increase from the previous generation.
Qualcomm categorically stated capability of X Elite to run generative AI workloads, like –
- running 7b Llama 2, at an astounding 30 tokens per second.
- Ability to run generative AI LLM models over 13B parameters on-device with blazing-fast speeds.
The SoC supports USB4 and offers PCIe 4.0 connectivity for NVMe storage. Interestingly, both Wi-Fi and the modem are discrete components, indicating Qualcomm needing this processor in market as soon as possible, as integrating their own Wi-Fi- modem would have taken more time.
Performance Metrics and numbers
Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon X Elite delivers twice the multithreaded performance in Geek bench 6 compared to an Intel 12-core mobile CPU design.
Even more impressively, it reportedly achieves this at one-third of the power consumption. Against Intel’s best 14-core (H-class) chips, Qualcomm still leads by 60% in performance.
Even though X Elite numbers are great. They are practically comparing to be launched (2024) Processor with current gen Intel processors. Gap ma reduce by then
The Road Ahead
The Snapdragon X Elite is slated for a mid-2024 release, and it’s clear that Qualcomm is betting big on this chip. It will not only define the company’s future in the Windows-on-Arm laptop market but also set the stage for its next generation of mobile SoCs.
The Snapdragon X Elite SoC is a defining moment for Qualcomm. With its Oryon CPU cores, revamped GPU and NPU, and cutting-edge I/O capabilities, this chip has the potential to redefine the Windows-on-Arm landscape. Apple has already proved ARM powered PC CPU’s can be beast, especially in perf/Watt.
Thus, Snapdragon X Elite is not just an incremental update; a substantial shift. And if Qualcomm’s performance claims hold up, Intel, AMD, and even Apple should be on notice.