Apple M3 Vs. Snapdragon X Elite

Apple M3 Vs. Snapdragon X Elite

For a while, Apple was the dominant force utilizing Apple M series (ARM-based) processors on the PC market. They use these processors for their lineup of Mac PCs (MacBooks and iMacs). Qualcomm has towed the same path and has finally released a worthy contender. In this article article, we are going to compare two of their offerings. This is the Apple M3 Vs. Snapdragon X Elite.

Apple M3

The Apple M3 is the entry-level processor of the Apple M3 series. It was announced in Q3 2023 and can be found on the Apple Macbook Pro 14″  and the iMac 24″ running MacOS. It is the most affordable processor of the Apple M3 series. That notwithstanding, it is still a very capable performer. Key specifications of the Apple M3 include:

  • CPUs:
    • Big cores: 4x Everest high-performance cores (4GHz)
    • Small cores: 4x Sawtooth battery efficiency cores (2.47GHz)
  • GPU: Apple GPU (8-core or 10-core)
  • CPU cache: 192Kb (L1), 128KB (L2), 20MB (L3)
  • ISA: ARMv8.5-A
  • Fab: 3nm TSMC
  • Platform: MacOS
  • RAM: LPDDR5 (3200MHz)
  • Storage: NVMe SSD
  • AI/ML: Neural Engine 16-core (18 TOPS)

Snapdragon X Elite

The Snapdragon X Elite on the other hand does not belong to a processor family. It is a standalone processor from Qualcomm. Unlike its Apple M3 counterpart running MacOS, the Snapdragon X Elite is designed to run Windows. Since Qualcomm is a 3rd party manufacturer, it will be up to PC hardware companies like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, and co to take a punt on this processor. The key specifications of the Snapdragon X Elite include:

  • CPUs: 12x Qualcomm Oryon high-performance cores (3.8GHz)
    • CPU boost: single and dual-core boost (up to 4.3GHz)
  • GPU: Adreno GPU for X Elite
  • CPU cache: 36MB (L2), 6MB (L3)
  • ISA: ARMv9-A
  • Fab: 4nm TSMC
  • Platform: Window-On-ARM
  • RAM: LPDDR5x (4266MHz)
  • Storage: NVMe SSD over PCIe Gen 4, UFS 4.0, SDv3.0
  • ISP: Qualcomm Spectra
  • Camera: 64MP, 36+36MP, 4K HDR video
  • AI/ML: Qualcomm Hexagon (45 TOPS)
  • Primary display: 4K HDR @120Hz
  • Secondary display: 3 4K monitors or 2 5K monitors
  • Modem: Snapdragon X65 5G, 10Gbps (up), 35Gbps (down)
  • Connectivity: Qualcomm Fastconnect 7800: Wifi 6E, 6, 7; Bluetooth 5.4, USB 4.0

Apple M3 Vs. Snapdragon X Elite

Performance and Gaming on the Apple M3 vs. Snapdragon X Elite

The Apple M3 is designed like a typical smartphone SoC. It has 4x Everest high-performance CPU cores for the heavy CPU-intensive tasks and 4x Sawtooth CPU cores for battery efficiency. In the GPU department, there are two variants of the Apple M3: one with an 8-core Apple GPU and another with a 10-core Apple GPU.

The Snapdragon X Elite, on the other hand, has 12 Qualcomm Oryon high-performance CPU cores. There are no battery efficiency cores here as the clock speed on the CPUs can be adjusted to the tasks that they are performing. For graphics, there is an Adreno GPU here but Qualcomm has been very silent on the details of this GPU.

When it comes to actual performance, the Apple M3 does slightly better on single-core tests. Single core tests are short burst workloads that do not require prolonged processing power. However, for multi-core tests that require a lot of heavy lifting from the CPUs, the Snapdragon X Elite pulls far ahead of the Apple M3.


  • Apple M3: 3,136 (Single-Core)/11,820 (Multi-Core)
  • Snapdragon X Elite: 2,780 (Single-Core)/14,029 (Multi-Core)


  • Apple M3: 1,921 (Single-Core)/10,486 (Multi-Core)
  • Snapdragon X Elite: 1706 (Single-Core)/14,698 (Multi-Core)

What this means is that the Snapdragon X Elite may lag behind the Apple M3 somewhat in light tasks. The average user would be unable to spot such things unless they have an eye out for them. On the other hand, when it comes to serious CPU work, the Snapdragon X Elite is far ahead of the Apple M3.

For graphics and gaming, there is no information at this time to make a solid and definitive comparison. However, we should know that both the Apple and Adreno GPUs support Mesh shading, and ray tracing and are capable of handling console-level gaming.

Artificial Intelligence on the Apple M3 Vs. Snapdragon X Elite

AI is the new battleground for processor OEMs and these two are not left out. The Apple M3 is equipped with the Apple Neural Engine. It is a 16-core NPU made by Apple and it is capable of running 18 trillion operations per second. On the other hand, the Snapdragon X Elite incorporates a Qualcomm Hexagon NPU. This NPU is supported by a  smaller NPU known as a Sensing Hub. Armed with this set, the Snapdragon X Elite has an AI performance of 45 trillion operations per second (45 TOPS). This is more than double what the Apple M3’s Neural Engine is capable of.

RAM and Storage

The Apple M3 has support for up to 24GB of LPDDR5 RAM running at 3200MHz. The Snapdragon X Elite on the other hand, supports up to 64GB of LPDDR5x RAM running at 4266MHz. For storage, The Apple M3 has support for NVMe SSD. The Snapdragon X Elite matches the NVMe SSD support on the Apple M3 and goes on to add support for both SDv3.0 and UFS 4.0.

The Snapdragon X Elite RAM support is faster and it supports more storage options as well.

Camera and Video

The Snapdragon X Elite is equipped with a Qualcomm Spectra ISP and supported by the Qualcomm Hexagon NPU for image and video processing. It supports camera resolutions of up to 64MP (single) and 36 + 36MP dual cameras. For video, this processor can record up to 4K HDR Video. Qualcomm has been quiet on the frames per second. The Apple M3 on the other hand has no such provisions.


The Snapdragon X Elite can drive displays of up to 4K and can support up to 3 external monitors with up to 4K resolution. Apple however is rather silent on the capabilities of the Apple M3 when it comes to driving displays.


The Snapdragon X Elite is well equipped with a Snapdragon X65 5G modem and a Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 for connectivity. This means that the Snapdragon X Elite supports mobile networks, WiFi (6, 6E, and 7), and Bluetooth 5.4 on the chip. The Apple M3 is found wanting in this regard.

Battery life

The Apple M3 is built on a 3nm TSMC process and uses battery efficiency CPUs to manage the battery. As a result, it is expected to have a better battery life than the Snapdragon X Elite which is built on an older 4nm TSMC process.


The Snapdragon X Elite has better performance, artificial intelligence, RAM, camera and video, display, and connectivity. The Apple M3 on the other hand trails behind the Snapdragon X Elite in the aforementioned categories but should have a better battery life. There is no question that the Snapdragon X Elite is better. If you are keen on a MacBook then get one with the Apple M3 Pro instead.

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