- The Snapdragon X Elite boasts impressive performance improvements compared to the M2 Max, with a 30% jump in single-threaded performance.
- While Snapdragon X Elite’s single-threaded performance may not be as significant as Apple’s M2, it still looks like a strong competitor to Apple’s M3.
- Although Qualcomm falls behind in multi-threaded performance, the efficiency improvements and lack of power consumption make the Snapdragon X Elite an intriguing contender in the Arm space.
Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon X Elite at this year’s Qualcomm Summit, sharing some pretty enticing performance figures. The company claimed a 30% improvement in single-threaded performance over the M2 Max, and a 50% improvement in multi-threaded performance when compared to the M2. There are some caveats and reading between the lines to be had here, but ultimately it boils down to the Snapdragon X Elite being not just an M2 competitor, but perhaps even an Apple Silicon M3 competitor.
Qualcomm’s comparisons to the M2 and M2 Max
When it comes to comparing performance, Qualcomm was a little bit sneaky. Single-threaded performance was compared to the M2 Max first, and then multi-threaded performance was compared to the regular M2 a little while later. This serves two purposes: the first is to make it seem like the Snapdragon X Elite is better than (or at least on par with) the M2 Max, and it also serves to mislead consumers somewhat as they already have the M2 Max in their mind when Qualcomm then compares multi-threaded performance.
To be clear, all three M2 chipsets benchmark close to the same way in single-threaded performance, and that’s because the single-core capabilities of all of them are more or less the same. Multi-core and other kinds of workloads are where the upper echelons of Apple Silicon really shine, and that’s why it’s not as big of a deal that Snapdragon X Elite bests Apple when it comes to single-threaded performance when compared to the M2 Max. A 30% jump is sizable, don’t get me wrong, but those multithreaded figures when compared to the regular M2 are likely to be expected.
Sneakiness aside, Snapdragon X Elite looks promising
No matter what though, the improvements that Qualcomm boasts make the Snapdragon X Elite look like an impressive M3 competitor. Apple claimed the M2 was 18% faster than the M1 in CPU speed and claimed a jump of 35%. Benchmarks aren’t everything, but Geekbench identified an even smaller jump in single-threaded performance. If the Snapdragon X Elite is 30% better than the M2 in single-core performance, then Apple has to cross a large gulf for the M3 to be capable of taking on Qualcomm in that regard. That’s without even thinking of the fact that Apple has reportedly suffered nothing short of an exodus in chip talent over the last couple of years.
With that as well, keep in mind that so far, the M1 has based its cores off of the A14, the M2 has based its cores off of the A15, and presumably, the M3 would base its cores off of the A16. There weren’t major jumps between those in CPUs that point to a 30% increase in the next generation, so it’s unlikely that the M3 will beat the Snapdragon X Elite in single-threaded performance.
Where things fall apart for Qualcomm a little bit is in multi-threaded performance, but it’s not bad. The Snapdragon X Elite beats the M2 fairly handily and even still surpasses the M2 Max in our testing. The M2 Max consumes a fair bit of power too, whereas Qualcomm’s own Oryon cores apparently don’t, and the company is touting a number of efficiency improvements that also look particularly interesting. We’re looking forward to testing out the M3 as its performance jump doesn’t necessarily look to be that large, and if that’s the case, then Qualcomm has suddenly made the Arm space very, very interesting.
The Snapdragon X Elite will be coming to some of the best laptops in mid-2024, which again adds credence to it being an M3 competitor. Apple’s M3 launched at the company’s event on Oct. 30, and unless Qualcomm’s chip is better, it may be seen as outdated before it’s actually available otherwise.