While Apple’s shift from Intel’s x86 processors to its own custom series of ARM-based “Apple Silicon” chipsets might have gotten a bulk of the attention, the Cupertino company certainly wasn’t the first to attempt to create ARM-powered PCs. Qualcomm actually beat Apple to the punch with the Snapdragon 850 back in 2018.
But one of the reasons it never got the same attention Apple did was because for the most part, it was underpowered compared to x86 offerings from companies such as Intel, but the company is hoping to change that perception with the launch of its newest chipset for Windows, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite.
One of the reasons to be excited for the Snapdragon X Elite over Qualcomm’s previous releases is that this chipset is apparently built using Nuvia’s technology, a company that Qualcomm had acquired back in 2021. While there is no mention of Nuvia in its press release, Qualcomm does mention how the Snapdragon X Elite will utilize the Oryon CPUs that they claim offers up to 2x faster CPU performance compared to the competition.
The chipset has a 12-core design with cores that reach clock speeds of up to 3.8GHz. It also boasts the use of Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU technology that they say is 2x faster versus x86 processors, and it was also built with AI in mind thanks to the inclusion of the Hexagon NPU, which allows it to apparently process AI 4.5x faster than its competitors.
With the new Snapdragon X Elite chipset, Qualcomm claims that we can look forward to PCs with up to multiple days of battery life, while also supporting connectivity such as 5G, making it perfect for laptops and situations where WiFi might not be available.
It all sounds promising on paper and recently-leaked benchmarks have indicated that it has surpassed Apple’s M1 in terms of multi-core performance, but still falls short when compared to the M2. As to when we can expect to see Snapdragon X Elite powered PCs? According to Qualcomm, the first PCs are expected to arrive mid-2024.