Snapdragon X Elite hype builds as Qualcomm shows off Apple M3-beating CPU that can handle laptop gaming nicely

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm continues to keep itself busy building up expectations for the incoming Snapdragon X Elite processor, and some freshly revealed hands-on experiences certainly add fuel to this particular fire.

Our sister site Tom’s Hardware got the chance to try out a bunch of laptops that have the new ARM-based chip, while listening to claims from Qualcomm about how the Snapdragon X Elite will outgun both Intel’s Core Ultra (Meteor Lake) laptop CPUs and Apple’s M3 silicon (which is a rival ARM part).

According to Qualcomm’s testing – add a little seasoning as always with internal benchmarks, not that they’d be faked, of course, but they’re inevitably cherry-picked to present hardware in the best light – the Snapdragon X Elite easily beats Apple’s M3 SoC in Geekbench 6. In multi-threaded testing, the Snapdragon was close to 30% faster than the M3, in fact – although Qualcomm did not provide a single-threaded comparison.

Even more eye-opening was the race against Intel, which pretty much saw Team Blue eating Qualcomm’s dust. The Snapdragon X Elite proved 52% quicker in multi-threaded performance, and 54% faster than the Core Ultra 7 155H for single-threaded performance. That’s when both chips have the same power usage – alternatively, the Elite could match the 155H performance-wise while using 60% or 65% less power (for multi- and single-threaded respectively).

Pretty impressive? Certainly, although we should bear in mind that Intel does have Lunar Lake CPUs inbound this year, which may not be too far behind Qualcomm’s chip – and those next-gen laptop processors promise to seriously drive forward with power-efficiency.

Turning to integrated graphics, the Snapdragon X Elite is apparently up to 36% faster than Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H, although note the ‘up to’ and that this is a vague assertion (we’re not told what the benchmarking involved). That’s what we mean about cherry-picking, and in the case of integrated graphics, Qualcomm didn’t draw any comparison with the Apple M3 (or faster Intel silicon such as the Core Ultra 9).

Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit photos from stage and demo samples

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

Gaming goodness

On the gaming front, we also have the hands-on experience of Digital Trends to draw on. The site found that on one of Qualcomm’s reference laptops, the Snapdragon X Elite was able to run Control fairly smoothly at 35 frames per second (at 1080p, with low to medium graphics settings). With the same settings, Baldur’s Gate 3 ran at 30 fps on average.

Those are pretty impressive results for contemporary games running under emulation (as it’s an ARM chip, remember, not x86).

One of the big hopes for Windows on ARM devices is that emulating software and games (that can’t be run natively as they’re x86) will reach a level where it’s more than palatable, and the Snapdragon X Elite seems to be a good step forward in that direction.

Via VideoCardz

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).