Snapdragon X Elite: Qualcomm crashes the party

Qualcomm has just announced the Snapdragon X Elite processor for PCs. This promises to be the SoC that should finally claim some ground for Qualcomm in the PC market. This SoC is designed with a focus on the Windows-On-ARM platform and it promises a balanced mix between improved CPU power and extended battery life.

Just like Apple, Qualcomm has also been making SoCs for Windows-On-ARM systems for a while now with little to no success. Whilst Apple’s M series has been a huge success, Qualcomm’s lineup of the Snapdragon 7c, 8c, 8cx, 8cx Gen 2, and 8cx Gen 3 have been largely forgettable.


Despite all of their best efforts, Qualcomm’s SoCs have failed to make a dent in Intel and AMD’s market share. As a result, something had to give for Qualcomm to break in. That something was Nuvia. So, a while back, a group of disgruntled Apple employees left Apple and formed their own company which they christened Nuvia.

Before forming Nuvia, they had worked on the Apple A and M series and the results were very impressive. Apple’s A and M series processors offer a fantastic balance of CPU performance and battery life. When Qualcomm bought Nuvia, they were buying that skill and expertise and the Snapdragon X Elite was the first fruit of this acquisition.

The Snapdragon X Elite is named to reflect its position as the best product in the company. Qualcomm has arranged its SoCs into tiers to show their different performance levels. These are the 4, 6, 7, and 8 series processors. The new X or 10 nomenclature is meant to show that the Snapdragon X Elite is at the top of the pile and it is the best processor that Qualcomm has made.

Key Specs For The Snapdragon X Elite

  • CPU: 12x Qualcomm Oryon cores (3.8GHz)
  • CPU Cache: L2-36MB, L3-6MB
  • GPU: Adreno for X Elite
  • ISA: ARMv9
  • Fab: 4nm TSMC
  • Platform: Windows
  • RAM: LPDDR5x (4266MHz) up to 64GB
  • Storage: NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 4), UFS 4.0, SDv3.0
  • ISP: Qualcomm Spectra
  • AI/NPU: Qualcomm Hexagon DSP (45 TOPS), Sensing Hub
  • Camera: 64MP, 36 + 36MP, 4K HDR Video
  • Display: 4K monitors @120Hz, supports 3 external 4K or 2 5K monitors
  • Modem: Snapdragon X65 5G (upload-10Gbps, download-35Gbps)
  • Connectivity: Qualcomm FastConnect 7800; WiFi 6E, 6, 7; Bluetooth 5.4, USB/ThunderBolt 4.0

Snapdragon X Elite: The Performance

The Snapdragon X Elite boasts 12 Qualcomm Oryon custom CPU cores. In the past, Qualcomm would usually go with a CPU microarchitecture of some big cores for performance and some little cores for battery efficiency. Not this time. Now Qualcomm is coming with all of its big guns.

Qualcomm Oryon for Snapdragon X Elite

The Oryon cores have a base clock speed of 3.8GHz but they can be boosted as high as 4.3GHz for more CPU-intensive tasks.

What does this mean?

What this means is that the Snapdragon X Elite is 2 times more powerful than Intel’s Core i7-1355U (10-core) and Core i7-1360P (12-core) whilst using 68% less battery. It also offers roughly 50% more multi-threaded performance when compared to the Apple M2 processor.

Snapdragon X Elite comparison


The integrated graphics unit on board is the Adreno for X Elite GPU. Now while Qualcomm has not been generous with the specifics of this GPU, they have given us a glimpse of its capabilities.

Snapdragon X Elite GPU

When compared with Intel’s Iris Xe (i7-13800H) and AMD Radeon 780M graphics, the Adreno for X Elite performed 50% better whilst using only a fraction of the power.

Snapdragon X Elite GPU performance


According to the benchmarks which were obtained from testing the reference devices offered by Qualcomm, the Snapdragon X Elite is much better than most of its closest competitors.

Snapdragon X Elite Geekbench

In Geekbench 6, the Snapdragon X Elite running at 23W of power is level with the Apple M2 and better than Intel’s Core i7-1355U, i7-1360P, and i7-13800H. When the power was increased to 80W, it far outstripped its nearest competitor which is the Apple M2.

RAM and Storage

The processor has support for LPDDR5X RAM which can accommodate up to 64GB. It can also support NVMe SSD (over PCIe Gen 4) as well as UFS 4.0 and SDv30 storage.

Artificial Intelligence

Like they did with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Qualcomm is putting a heavy focus on Artificial Intelligence. The Snapdragon X Elite is armed with a Hexagon DSP Neural Processing Unit (NPU) which is capable of running 75 trillion operations per second (TOP). In addition, there is an extra micro NPU (Sensing Hub) which handles privacy, security, and the ability to wake up the device from sleep using a voice prompt.

Qualcomm says that this AI engine is far better than what the competition is offering but we may need to wait for confirmation from independent reviewers.


This SoC is primarily designed for PC products running Windows-On-ARM. It is going to compete with products from Apple, AMD, and Intel and it already looks like it has stolen a march on them.



This SoC can support a primary display of up to 4K with a refresh rate of 120Hz and HDR10. In addition, it supports external displays of up to a maximum of 3 4K monitors. 


This SoC is well equipped in this department with a Snapdragon X65 5G modem with support for 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, Sub-6GHz, and mmWave 5G with a max download speed of 35 Gbps. This SoC also has Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800 with support for WiFi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4.


The Snapdragon X Elite is Qualcomm’s attempt to take on companies such as AMD, Apple, Intel, and Nvidia in the PC space. This processor offers a good mix of CPU performance and extended battery life. This should convince PC manufacturers to give Snapdragon processors a look over traditional names like Intel and AMD. How this would turn out is left for us to find out.

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