With the Snapdragon X Elite, Qualcomm is introducing a new computing platform that includes the Orion CPU for the first time. The system-on-chip will be used in notebooks with Windows on ARM, and will sometimes offer more performance than Apple’s M2.
Qualcomm’s new flagship platform for ARM-based notebooks is not called the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 4, but the Snapdragon X Elite. The changed branding should differentiate future computing platforms from other Snapdragon product categories and make them easier to distinguish from each other.
The US company talks loudly about the introduction of Snapdragon X Elite as a turning point for the PC industry. At the last Snapdragon Summit in November 2022, Qualcomm announced Orion CPUs for the first time. Apart from the AI feature, this is the main feature of the Elite SoC.
Big CPU bet
In early 2021, Qualcomm took over start-up Nuvia, which specializes in chip design and was founded by former Apple chip developers. Based on this, the Orion-CPU Specially developed by Qualcomm Customized ARM core Previously used, ARM Cortex cores were licensed as unmodified. Snapdragon has high hopes for the company’s new platform’s success, after spending $1.4 billion on the Nuvia takeover.
Comparisons should be made with its predecessor, the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 CPU and GPU are twice as fast to remain The Snapdragon X Elite is built using a four-nanometer process and has 12 Performance Core With a total cache of 42 MB. They are divided into three clusters and regularly clocked up to 3.8 GHz. However, the two cores also have a boost to a maximum of 4.3 GHz, the highest clock speed of an ARM core to date.
How high the cores end up clocking probably depends on the respective notebook. According to Qualcomm, the platform could be Scale for different device classes, such as a fanless Windows tablet or an actively cooled 17-inch notebook. Cores are only clocked high or low depending on the TDP design. The integrated LPDDR5X RAM size is up to 64 GB, offers 136 GB/s bandwidth and works with 8.533 MT/s.
More multi-core performance than Apple’s M2 chip
The company (unfortunately) copied the performance diagrams from Apple: the compared processors are not specifically named, which makes it difficult to categorize the performance. The only really useful statement is that the Snapdragon X Elite is about 50 percent Here is peak multi-core performance als der Apple M2 Regarding the Adreno GPU reached, Qualcomm specifies 4.6 TFLOPS, while for the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 it was around 3.3 TFLOPS. GPU drivers can also be updated and DirectX 12 is supported.
Regarding the video codec, the chip can encode and decode H.264, HEVC and AV1, and VP9 can also be decoded. The screen of the device can have a maximum resolution of UHD and display 120 hertz. Externally, up to three UHD or two 5K monitors can be connected via 60 Hz each DisplayPort 1.4 protocol Connected, at least in theory.
Like the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, they boast improvements to the Neural Processing Unit (NPU). The Snapdragon X Elite is compared to its predecessor NPU performance increased from 26 to 45 TOPS. Additionally, according to the manufacturer, the tensor unit is 2.5 times faster and the NPU’s memory has also been doubled.
The same is true for the Sensing Hub: double the AI performance and 50 percent more storage. The Sensing Hub enables, among other things, an always-sensitive image signal processor. In theory, this would allow the notebook to automatically lock itself when the webcam detects that no other user is sitting in front of it. According to the data sheet, the platform supports two cameras with a maximum of 36 megapixels or a single camera of up to 64 megapixels.
Wi-Fi 7 and 5G are optional
For connectivity, the Snapdragon X Elite includes the current FastConnect 7800 unit. It supports Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4, but the manufacturer mentions an M.2 interface in this regard. Which WLAN standard is ultimately supported obviously depends on the WLAN card installed. The Snapdragon X65 modem for 5G is also part of the new computing platform. However, Qualcomm leaves it up to its partners or notebook manufacturers to decide whether they will integrate it via an M.2 card or not.
Additionally, three USB4 ports (Type-C) are possible, alternatively two USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbit/s) and one USB 2.0 port are possible. In terms of memory, the SoC allows NVMe-SSDs via PCIe 4.0UFS 4.0 and SD 3.0.
Market launch in mid-2024
The first computers with Snapdragon X Elite are expected in mid-2024. Only then will it be clear whether Qualcomm can save its ailing computing business. Until now, so-called always-connected PCs have been criticized for their relatively low performance. Since the first computing platform in 2017, there have been only a few corresponding notebooks on the market, Usually too expensive.
Success or failure is the same Depends on Windows on ARM, which was recently plagued by compatibility and crash issues. After all, if software fails, the extra performance and efficiency won’t help provide a viable alternative to x86 computers. The new notebook will determine whether Qualcomm’s X-Elite platform is actually a leap forward or a leap beyond.
- Qualcomm (Basic Information)
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