At the Snapdragon Summit in October, Qualcomm announced several future technologies that will set the path for upcoming tech gadgets in 2024. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile chip is one of the groundbreaking new announcements. It has a better CPU cluster that improves the efficiency even further, boosts the performance, and gives a tremendous boost to CPU performance.
The multi-core CPU performance of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 now matches and sometimes beats Apple’s A17 Pro chip- which is shocking to see since Qualcomm is using a 4nm fabrication instead of Apple’s 3nm. Apple theoretically can pack more transistors into a node since the node itself is smaller, and they can get better performance as a result. The A17 Pro still scores mildly higher on the single-core test.
After the 8 Gen 3 announcement, Qualcomm revealed that they’re taking ARM chips to the next level. ARM architecture is built for efficiency first. It was initially only for smartphones. However, Apple made a significant breakthrough with the M1 chip. The M1 was the first ARM machine in the world to perfectly balance high performance and maintain class-leading efficiency.
The use of ARM architecture over X86 no longer means a major compromise to performance. Since ARM integrates several components like CPU, RAM, and GPU, the efficiency gets better since information doesn’t have to travel longer distances and go through other components.
While macOS with ARM has been going great for years at this point, there was no progress from the Windows end. No company has put much effort into ARM chips for Windows until now, and Qualcomm’s offerings look very promising.
Snapdragon X Elite chipset
Many popular PC manufacturers are on board with the idea. They’re collaborating with Qualcomm instead of Intel and are making laptops with ARM chips. Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc, are included along with Samsung in this list. Most of these companies will probably focus on 2-in-1 tablet-style notebooks in mid-2024.
The Snapdragon X Elite is very ambitious and is packed with features. The team includes some engineers who left Apple to work on this project, and some of the intelligence behind Apple Silicon is now at Qualcomm.
The custom Oryon CPU delivers excellent performance, and it uses the TSMC 4nm node. It’s really good at both performance and efficiency. It has 12 custom cores, each at 3.8 GHz. Dual-core RWS can push the clock speed to 4.3 GHz. It also offers 136GBPS bandwidth and 42MB cache. This is clearly a powerhouse.
It completely outperforms Apple’s expensive M2 Max chip, which is also a 12-core chip. The Intel i7-1355U, an X86 chip, gets completely beaten by Qualcomm as well. Apple’s is an ARM chip, but it uses a 5nm process and isn’t as good as Qualcomm’s.
They claim up to 30% gains in power efficiency, so we can expect good battery out of the machines that use this chip. Whether manufacturers will allow RAM and SSD upgrades with this new architecture, we’re not sure yet. Apple solders all the components, but other brands might do it differently.
Brands can also pair this chip with a discrete GPU, and this improves performance flexibility. The integrated Adreno GPU is decent for most use cases but isn’t suitable for very heavy workloads. We don’t know how the GPU competes with the M2 Max yet.
Samsung’s Snapdragon X Elite PC: What to expect?
A representative of Samsung showed up on stage at the Qualcomm event and announced that they’re excited to work with Qualcomm on these PC chips. This indicates that Samsung will definitely launch new products with this chip soon.
According to many reviews, Samsung’s latest Galaxy Books are way better off with ARM chips due to their size and compact nature. If this collaboration continues, we might get much better compact notebooks from Samsung.
Samsung still makes their own ARM mobile chips- Exynos. The Exynos 2400 will ship in some regions, with the S24 and S24 Plus. We don’t yet know how it’ll perform, but Samsung is really confident about the performance. We hope they at least match the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 from last year- that gives a lot of hope for the future of Exynos. If Samsung successfully manufactures and designs mobile chips, they can move on to good PC chips as well.
The use of the Snapdragon X Elite PC chip will improve cross-device usability. Samsung might launch some new ecosystem features and improve interoperability. The Xpan technology will boost Bluetooth connectivity and also make the reception strength better. Qualcomm also claims some on-device AI support, and it’ll be interesting to see if Samsung takes advantage of all the features.