Snapdragon X Elite Benchmarks: Can it Beat Apple M3?

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite promises powerful ARM performance. But how do benchmarks compare to Apple's M3?

The Snapdragon X Elite Arrives: Can it Compete?

The first computers powered by Qualcomm's ARM-based Snapdragon X Elite chip have hit the market, and tech reviewers are eager to see if it can hold its own against offerings from Apple, Intel, and AMD.

Snapdragon X Elite

Under the Hood:

Qualcomm offers four configurations of the Snapdragon X Elite, each with varying clock speeds and TDP. All versions boast 12 CPU cores (eight performance and four efficiency), an Adreno X1 GPU, and a Hexagon neural processor capable of 45 TOPS (trillion operations per second). The chip is manufactured using TSMC's 4nm process.

The "Elite" Snapdragon X supports Wi-Fi 7, UFS 4.0 storage, USB4 ports, ray tracing, and can drive up to three 4K monitors at 60Hz.

Snapdragon X Elite

Benchmark Results:

YouTuber Max Tech reviewed both a mid-range and top-tier X Elite configuration, using the Microsoft Surface Laptop 13.8 and Samsung Galaxy Book 4 Edge, respectively. The main difference lies in the CPU clock speed: 3.4GHz (boosting to 4.0GHz) for the mid-range and 3.8GHz (boosting to 4.2GHz) for the top-tier, alongside different GPUs with 3.8 TFLOPS and 4.6 TFLOPS, respectively. Both test units came equipped with 16GB of RAM.

Snapdragon X Elite

Here's a breakdown of the benchmark results:

Geekbench 6:

  • Surface Laptop 13.8 (mid-range X Elite): 2765 / 14,220
  • Galaxy Book 4 Edge (top-tier X Elite): 2838 / 15,351 (+8% in multi-core)

Cinebench 2024:

  • Surface Laptop 13.8 (mid-range X Elite): 121 / 906
  • Galaxy Book 4 Edge (top-tier X Elite): 127 / 867 (-4% in multi-core)

3D Mark Wild Life Extreme:

  • Surface Laptop 13.8 (mid-range X Elite): 38.09 fps
  • Galaxy Book 4 Edge (top-tier X Elite): 40.89 fps (+7%)
  • MacBook Air with Apple M3: 42 fps

Max Tech also tested battery life under load, noting minimal performance loss on the Surface Laptop, while the Galaxy Book throttled considerably. He speculates Samsung prioritized battery life over performance when unplugged.

Thermal performance saw the Galaxy Book reach 40°C after 10 minutes of stress testing, while the Surface Laptop hit 47°C, likely due to the Samsung's larger chassis.

Based on these benchmarks, Max Tech believes there isn't a significant difference between the various Snapdragon X Elite configurations, urging consumers to consider other aspects of a laptop rather than solely focusing on the chip model.

Real-World Performance and Battery Life:

Dave Lee of Dave2D explored the new processor's real-world performance using the ASUS VivoBook S15.

In a CGI rendering test, the VivoBook completed the task in 371 seconds using optimized software and 412 seconds with a non-optimized version of Blender, showcasing a roughly 10% performance penalty when emulating x86 programs.

Rendering a typical project in Premiere Pro took 678 seconds, compared to the AMD 8745HS's 517 seconds.

Snapdragon X Elite

Gaming performance at 1080p with minimal settings yielded the following results:

  • Cyberpunk 2077: 34 fps
  • Baldur's Gate 3: 35 fps
  • Overwatch 2: 83 fps
  • Palworld: 39 fps
  • Helldivers 2: 41 fps

Fan noise reached 28dB while watching YouTube, 31dB under Photoshop load, and 42dB when running Blender.

Battery life on the VivoBook S15 reached 4 hours and 12 minutes with Photoshop, 7 hours and 47 minutes for Netflix playback, and 10 hours and 46 minutes for web browsing. The MacBook Air 15" with Apple M3 lasted 15-20 minutes longer in two out of the three scenarios. Standby drain was minimal, with the VivoBook losing 1-2% overnight.

The Verdict is Still Out:

The Snapdragon X Elite shows promise, particularly for its efficiency and connectivity features. However, it still lags behind competitors in raw performance, particularly in demanding tasks and gaming. While early adopters might find the X Elite intriguing, most users might be better served waiting for further development and optimization before making the switch.

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