Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite Takes Aim at Apple's Mac Chips

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite Takes Aim at Apple's Mac Chips

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite poses a formidable challenge to Apple's Mac chips, potentially marking the arrival of the first ARM-based PC chip capable of rivaling Apple Silicon

Apple's transition from x86 Intel chips to its own ARM-based silicon for Macs has been incredibly successful. Apple has managed to create chips that outperform the Intel chips used in its older MacBooks. However, the PC industry has largely remained loyal to x86 architecture, with only a few ARM laptops available. Qualcomm aims to change this with the release of the Snapdragon X Elite chip, which they claim will rival Apple's silicon.

When it comes to desktop ARM chips, Qualcomm may be the strongest contender against Apple, as they produce the System-on-Chips (SoCs) for most Android smartphones. Recently, Qualcomm announced that they would be rebranding their Snapdragon 8cx line of ARM chips to "Snapdragon X," hinting at significant improvements. Now, they have introduced their first chip in the Snapdragon X range. The company is confident enough to dub it the "most powerful, intelligent, and efficient processor ever created for Windows in its class."

Starting with the specifications, the processor features Qualcomm's latest Oryon cores. There are twelve cores in total, clocked at a maximum of 3.8 GHz with a boost capability of up to 4.3 GHz. The company is making bold claims about the Oryon CPU, stating that it surpasses the performance of both Intel's top-tier laptop chip, the Core i9-13980HX, and Apple's M2 Max. Additionally, Qualcomm boasts that the CPU matches the M2 Max's performance while consuming 30% less power.

If these claims hold true (pending independent testing), Apple will face significant competition in a segment where they have been dominant. It is worth noting that NVIDIA and AMD are also reportedly entering the race by developing ARM CPUs for PCs, further intensifying the competition against Apple and Qualcomm. With a potential four-way battle looming, Intel appears to be the only true loser in this scenario.

Other specifications for the Snapdragon X Elite SoC include a powerful Adreno GPU with a capacity of 4.6 TFLOPs, which is compatible with DirectX 12. It utilizes a 4nm process and has the ability to support up to 64GB of LPDDR5X RAM. Additionally, the Snapdragon X65 5G modem sets Qualcomm's hardware apart from Apple's desktop chips by offering cellular connectivity, enabling laptops to connect anywhere. The SoC also supports Wi-Fi 7 and PCI Express Gen 4. Keep an eye out for announcements from hardware manufacturers as the Snapdragon X Elite will be featured in the top ARM-based Windows laptops next year.

Source: Qualcomm