3 min

Faster than expected, there is Qualcomm’s new ARM chip for Windows laptops. People have great expectations of the Snapdragon X Elite. The theory is that this chip should be able to turn the PC market on its head. According to Qualcomm, the chip is faster than existing laptop processors from Intel and also more energy efficient.

Apple has been very successful with its switch from Intel to ARM-based chips. The Cupertino-based company has managed to double its market share. It can simply offer more performance, at lower cost and power consumption with the ARM chips. This is of course a thorn in Microsoft’s side; the company has been working on support for ARM in Windows for more than a decade, but has never been able to reach the masses with it.

Until now, Qualcomm’s chips always fell short of Intel in terms of performance. With the new Snapdragon X Elite, that should be over. The chip is faster than any of Intel’s current laptop chips. The Snapdragon X Elite features 12 cores that can reach a speed of 3.8 GHz. There is also another GPU on board with a speed of 4.6 teraflops and the chip has an NPU on which AI models with 13 billion parameters can run. According to Qualcomm, this results in double the performance compared to comparable laptop chips from Intel. In addition, the chip is much more energy efficient, up to 70 percent in some scenarios.

By the middle of next year, we can expect the first laptops powered by a Snapdragon X Elite. This can be done through passive and active cooling (with a fan). In the latter case, more performance can be expected. Right now, we mainly expect a Surface Laptop from Microsoft with this Snapdragon X Elite.

Currently, Qualcomm has an exclusivity agreement with Microsoft to supply ARM chips for Windows laptops. That agreement will come to an end next year, and Nvidia and AMD can’t wait to release ARM chips for Windows laptops as well.

Qualcomm also presents Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for smartphones

In addition to the new chip for Windows laptops, Qualcomm is also presenting its annual update for the mobile market. The Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 3 will be found in many high-end smartphone next year. This new chip features three different CPU cores. The prime core, this is the fastest with a clock speed of 3.3 GHz, followed by five performance cores with a clock speed of 3.2 GHz and another four efficient cores with a clock speed of 2.3 GHz. The purpose of all those different cores is to actively switch processes across cores when more and less processing power is needed. This should ultimately benefit battery life.

Key addition this year is a new NPU for AI workloads, which is almost twice as powerful as this year’s model. The embedded GPU also takes a step forward, being 25 percent faster. Furthermore, Qualcomm has implemented new AI algorithms in the chip for using sensors and the 5G modem to make the best use of these.