The Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor is an ARM-based chip that Qualcomm says delivers up to twice the performance of comparable x86 processors in at least some situations. And it’s also more energy-efficient, with Qualcomm claiming it can match competitors’ performance while using just one third as much electricity.

Those are bold claims that may not be independently verifiable until the first PCs with Snapdragon X Elite chips hit the streets in mid-2024. But it looks like most major PC makers are willing to at least give the processor a try: Qualcomm has announced 9 “partners” who are likely planning to launch systems featuring the company’s new chip.

While Qualcomm isn’t explicitly promising that all 9 companies will launch PCs with Snapdragon X Elite chips, the company released a list of names and some short testimonials from representatives of the companies, which strongly hints that they’re at least considering building systems that use the chip.

And that would represent a pretty significant change from Qualcomm’s earlier attempts to make ARM-based chips for Windows PCs. We’ve only seen a few PC makers adopt chips like the Snapdragon 8cx series. The list looks a lot longer for the new chips, and includes most major Windows PC makers:

  • Acer
  • Asus
  • Dell
  • HP
  • Honor
  • Lenovo
  • Microsoft
  • Samsung
  • Xiaomi

What’s different now is that Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X Elite chips are designed around a brand new custom CPU core called “Oryon,” which makes use of the technology developed by Nuvia, a chip design startup that Qualcomm acquired a few years ago, which had been founded by former chip designers from Apple, Google, AMD, ARM, and Broadcom.

It’s worth noting that a few of the companies listed above, like Honor and Xiaomi, don’t typically sell their PCs in North America, but have a significant presence in China and other countries. But it’s interesting to see Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo on the list as they’re the top 5 companies in the Windows PC space. And Microsoft’s Surface line of devices may not make the best-sellers, list, but they often set a standard for what expect from certain classes of computers, so I’ll be curious to see what a next-gen Surface tablet or laptop with a Snapdragon X Elite chip looks like.

The Snapdragon X Elite processor features:

  • CPU: 12 Oryon CPU cores
    • Single-core and dual-core boost speeds up to 4.3 GHz
    • 12-core speeds up to 2.8 GHz
  • Cache: 42MB
  • GPU: Qualcomm Adreno
    • Up to 4.6 TFLOPS performance
    • DirectX 12 support
    • AV1 4K decoding
  • NPU: Qualcomm Hexagon
    • Up to 45 TOPS AI performance
  • Memory: LPDDR5x-8533
    • Up to 64 GB
    • 136 GB/s bandwidth
  • Storage
    • PCIe 4.0 NVMe
    • UFS 4.0
    • SD 3.0
  • Processor node: 4nm

The chip also supports up to four USB4 Type-C ports, devices with display resolutions up to 4K/120 Hz, external displays up to 4K/60 Hz, and up to three total displays, and up to a 64MP single camera or dual 36MP cameras.

There’s also support for WiFi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4 and optional support for a Qualcomm Snapdragon X65 5G modem with peak download speeds up to 10 Gbps and upload speeds up to 3.5 Gbps.

Qualcomm says in addition to working with PC hardware companies, it’s been working with game developers to ensure many popular titles can run smoothly on systems with Snapdragon X Elite chip, including games from Electronic Arts, Paradox Interactive, THQ Nordic Larian Studios, and others.

There’s still no word on exactly when you’ll actually be able to buy a computer with a Snapdragon X Elite chip, how they’ll compare with similar models featuring next-gen chips from Apple, AMD, or Intel, or how much they’ll cost. But with 9 PC makers on board, it looks like Qualcomm is making its biggest play for the Windows personal computer space yet.

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  1. Good luck. Nuvia was bragging on this CPU arch ages ago as their x86 killer. It’s 4 years later and its just reaching the market. Lets see how the real world holds up against a lot of bravado years ago.

    1. That’s the right question.
      I think back then the ARM Cortex-A76 was pretty new, so the original Nubia Core would have been up against the Cortex-A77. ARM responded shortly after with the Cortex-X1 which hasn’t been a worthy solution. Still I feel like the original V1 Cores would have had a distinct advantage over the X1 cores. However I feel like Nuvia V2 Cores would have occured somewhere during development, and they would have been probably about on-par with the Cortex-X3 cores we’re seeing now. The upcoming Nuvia V3 Cores, ie Snapdragon X Elite, should be a little bit ahead of that.

      In large, I think the Standard Cores have largely caught up to the special sauce Nuvia Cores.

      The bigger problem is the software. The Apple M1 variants are ARM cores with additional hardware which helps accelerate x86 instructions. Hence, macOS does not emulate OS X Programs, it is a hybrid translation. Windows has no solution to this.

      So if we look back to 2021 and the release of the M1 Max chipset, that was proper revolutionary. This Snapdragon X Elite sounds like it is roughly equal to that in CPU, GPU, and potentially Battery Life. But we’re talking (-5nm) 2021 versus 2024 (+4nm), so it’s not very exciting. Also we’re talking about an optimised macOS software versus Windows 11S that’s much less stable.

      On top of that, it may have been more appropriate making comparisons to Intel 12th-gen and AMD r-5000 chipsets in terms of CPU/Efficiency. See Apple M1 Max. The market competitor for the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite, is going to be Intel 15th-gen and AMD Ryzen-8000 chipsets.

  2. “The chip also supports up to four USB4 Type-C ports, devices with display resolutions up to 4K/120 Hz, external displays up to 4K/60 Hz (…)”

    External displays should be up to 4K/120 Hz………..

  3. In 9 months we will have Ryzen 8000 CPU’s that will completelly obliterate this Snapdragon. With more power consumption, of course, but not that much.

  4. Hoping the promises of what ARM brings finally delivers. Although, my main reason is I want it to trickle into niche products like UMPCs that have long battery life, built-in 5G and still perform very well. For that to happen, mainstream ARM notebooks need to deliver. So far they haven’t. At least the effort hasn’t been dropped though.