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"Independent" Snapdragon X Elite benchmarks arrive

by on24 May 2024

Look pretty good

A consultant paid by the software king of the world, Microsoft, has been benchmarking Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite, and it has come out pretty well.

Qualcomm has been telling the world+dog that its Snapdragon X Elite was the bestest and and its rivals smelt of Nintendo, but for obvious reasons no one believed.

Now Ryan Shrout, an ex-Intel Arc graphics mouthpiece, has given the world some non-Qualcomm test results, and they're not half bad. These new results, though, suggest Qualcomm can stand by its boasts about the X Elite's muscle and thriftiness.

The Surface's battery life looks pretty nifty, clocking in at 21 hours for local video playback.

The benchmarks cover a fair bit and generally paint the X Elite as a beefy and frugal SoC. The X Elite packs a 12-core CPU, an Adreno GPU, and an NPU that can handle 45 TOPS (that's terra operations per second). The shiny new Qualcomm chip got put through its paces in one of the fresh-off-the-press Surface AI PCs. It was up against the old guard: an Intel 12th Gen Core i7 CPU, the previous Arm chip called SQ3, an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, and an Apple M3 system.

Kicking off with battery life,  the Surface sporting the X Elite SoC outlasted every other contender in a video-playback marathon, hitting a whopping 21 hours on a single charge. The nearest rival was the MacBook Air with M3, trailing with 16 per cent less juice. The Surface also outdid the Core Ultra 7 155H system by 25 per cent, which ought to give Intel food for thought.

In Geekbench, the X Elite topped the charts in multi-threaded shenanigans but had to tip its hat to the M3 chip in single-threaded antics. Cinebench 2024 told a similar tale, with M3 clinging onto a 17 per cent lead in the single-threaded tussle, while the X Elite trounced Apple's silicon by 30 per cent in the multi-threading rumble. Worth noting, though, the Core Ultra 7 155H was hot on its heels, just five per cent behind in the multi-threading scuffle.

The M3's still the king of single-core oomph, but the X Elite's got the edge in the multi-core hustle, with the Core Ultra breathing down its neck..

But where it really counts for an AI PC, the X Elite left its rivals in the dust in AI-focused benchmarks. In the Procyon AI Computer Vision test, which sizes up AI inference, the X Elite wiped the floor with the lot, thrashing the Core Ultra system by a massive 70 per cent and the M3 by nearly 50 per cent.

 Sure, there's a whole bunch of AI tests out there since it's early days for this tech, and there's more on the horizon. Intel and AMD are busy prepping their own souped-up NPUs for their upcoming Lunar Lake and Strix platforms, so the AI scrap will only get hotter as the year rolls on. For now, though, Qualcomm's flexing a seriously brawny NPU, which explains why Microsoft's gone all-in with the Snapdragon X Elite for its first wave of AI PCs.

In this particular showdown, the Snapdragon's NPU seems top-notch, but we'll have to hang tight to see how this fledgling market shapes up. Big up to Signal65 for the scoop.

It wasn't all roses for the Qualcomm chip, mind you. It got shown up by the Core Ultra 7 155H in media wrangling by a fair margin, the M3 pipped it at the post in "web performance," and its GPU couldn't hold a candle to the Arc graphics in Intel's Core Ultra 5 155H. Despite taking a few knocks, the emulation game for non-native apps is looking solid. But this is all new territory for Windows laptops, so we're on standby for more apps to be built for Arm or ported over the next year.

The emulated version of Lightroom's running neck and neck with the native x86 version on the Intel CPU, but Blender's showing off the perks of apps made for the home team.

Independent reviews of the X Elite, which should be landing any minute now. But from what we've clocked so far, the chip's shaping up to be a real threat to x86 on Windows, a first for the industry. The first batch of these AI PCs with the Snapdragon X Elite is due out on June 18, so it won't be long before we see how they stack up.

Last modified on 24 May 2024
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