Apple M3 Pro Vs. Snapdragon X Elite

Apple M3 Pro Vs. Snapdragon X Elite

In 2021, Apple switched from Intel’s x86 CPUs to its own in-house Apple M series processors. Whilst a lot of people initially doubted their decision, the Apple M series processors proved that ARM CPUs were capable of competing with x86 CPUs. Now that Qualcomm has thrown its hat into the PC race, let’s compare their processors. This is the Apple M3 Pro Vs. Snapdragon X Elite.

Apple M3 Pro

The Apple M3 Pro is a Midrange processor belonging to the Apple M3 Series. This processor occupies that sweet spot where performance meets affordability. The Apple M3 Pro powers a couple of Apple’s PCs and it can be found on the MacBook Pro 16″.


The key specifications of the Apple M3 Pro are:

  • CPUs:
    • Big cores: 5x or 6x Everest high-performance cores (4.05GHz)
    • Small cores: 6x Sawtooth battery efficiency cores (2.75GHz)
  • GPU: Apple GPU (14 cores or 18 cores)
  • 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 is a Windows-On-ARM processor from Qualcomm. It is designed to work with PCs that use the Windows operating system. Qualcomm is an OEM that manufactures processors for other companies. So it’ll be up to companies like HP, Dell, Microsoft, Toshiba, etc. to use this SoC for their PCs.

Snapdragon X Elite PC

The key specifications of this SoC 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 Pro vs Snapdragon X Elite

Performance and Gaming

There are two variants of the Apple M3 Pro processor. The first one has 11 (5+6) CPU cores and a 14-core Apple GPU whilst the second has 12 (6+6) CPU cores and an 18-core Apple GPU. Regardless of these differences in variations, both of them pretty much perform the same, although the 18-core variant will do better in tasks that require GPU power.

The Apple M3 Pro is built like most Apple A-series processors. It uses a big.LITTLE cluster for its CPU core configuration. The big (performance cores) are 5 or 6 Everest cores clocked at 4.05GHz whilst the small (battery efficiency) cores are clocked at 2.75GHz.

On the other hand, you’ve got the Snapdragon X Elite with its unconventional 12-core Oryon CPU cores all running at 3.8GHz. All 12 Cores here are performance cores but their clock speeds adjust to the task that they are working on. This then eliminates the need for battery efficiency cores as they can regulate their power usage. These 12 Oryon CPU core are paired with an unknown Adreno GPU which Qualcomm have been silent about.

For actual performance, the Apple M3 Pro performs slightly better on single-core tests. Single core tests are short burst workloads that do not require prolonged processing power. The same is true for multi-core tests that require a lot of heavy lifting from the CPUs. Here, the Apple M3 Pro also edges ahead of the Snapdragon X Elite.

GeekBench 6

  • Apple M3 Pro: 3,135 (Single-Core)/14,244 (Multi-Core)
  • Snapdragon X Elite: 2,780 (Single-Core)/14,029 (Multi-Core)

Cinebench R23

  • Apple M3 Pro: 1,987 (Single-Core)/15,200 (Multi-Core)
  • Snapdragon X Elite: 1706 (Single-Core)/14,870 (Multi-Core)

What this means is that the Snapdragon X Elite may slightly lag behind the Apple M3 Pro when it comes to performance. The gap isn’t that wide so the average user would be unable to spot such things. Unless of course, they have an eye out for them.

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

AI is now a key focus for processor manufacturers, and both Apple and Qualcomm are active in this arena. The Apple M3 Pro boasts the Apple Neural Engine, a 16-core NPU developed by Apple, capable of running at 18 TOPS. This NPU is featured in the entire Apple M3 series. In contrast, the Snapdragon X Elite utilizes a Qualcomm Hexagon NPU, supported by a smaller NPU called a Sensing Hub. With this combination, the Snapdragon X Elite achieves an impressive performance of 45 TOPS.

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RAM and Storage

The Apple M3 is compatible with a maximum of 36GB of LPDDR5 RAM at 3200MHz. In contrast, the Snapdragon X Elite supports up to 64GB of faster LPDDR5x RAM running at 4266MHz. In terms of storage, the Apple M3 supports NVMe SSD. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon X Elite not only matches the NVMe SSD support of the Apple M3 Pro but also extends its capabilities by adding support for SDv3.0 and UFS 4.0. The Snapdragon X Elite not only offers faster RAM support but also a wider range of storage options compared to the Apple M3 Pro.

Camera and Video

The Snapdragon X Elite features a Qualcomm Spectra ISP and is complemented by the Qualcomm Hexagon NPU for handling image and video processing tasks. It can handle camera resolutions of up to 64MP for single cameras and 36 + 36MP for dual cameras. In terms of video capabilities, this processor supports recording up to 4K HDR Video, although Qualcomm has not disclosed information about frames per second. Conversely, the Apple M3 Pro lacks such built-in provisions and would need to depend on third-party on-device support for these functionalities.


The Snapdragon X Elite has the capability to power displays up to 4K and can accommodate up to 3 external monitors, each with a maximum resolution of 4K. In contrast, Apple has not provided detailed information about the display-driving capabilities of the Apple M3 Pro but we can report that it drives a 3024×1964p display.


The Snapdragon X Elite comes equipped with a Snapdragon X65 5G modem and a Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 for connectivity. This implies that the Snapdragon X Elite provides comprehensive support for mobile networks, including WiFi 6, 6E, and 7, as well as Bluetooth 5.4 – all integrated into the chip. In contrast, the Apple M3 Pro falls short in this aspect.

Battery life

The Apple M3 Pro is built on a 3nm TSMC process and uses Sawtooth battery-efficient CPUs for battery management. This design is anticipated to deliver superior battery life when compared to the Snapdragon X Elite, which relies on an older 4nm TSMC process.


The Snapdragon X Elite has better artificial intelligence, RAM, camera and video, display, and connectivity while the Apple M3 Pro has better performance and battery life. Apple’s M series processors pride themselves on performance and battery life and the Apple M3 Pro is no exception to this rule. Qualcomm on the other hand packs the Snapdragon X with a bootload of features.

The choice between the Apple M3 Pro Vs. Snapdragon X Elite would depend on individual preferences. Would you want the enhanced features on the Snapdragon X Elite or the longer-lasting battery and slightly better performance of the Apple M3 Pro?

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