Qualcomm, the leading chipmaker for smartphones, has announced a new processor for laptops that it claims will outperform Apple’s and Intel’s chips in some tasks. The new Snapdragon Elite X chip, which will be available in laptops starting next year, has been redesigned to better handle artificial intelligence (AI) tasks like summarizing emails, writing text and generating images.
What is the Snapdragon Elite X Chip?
The Snapdragon Elite X chip is Qualcomm’s first PC processor to feature completely custom computing cores designed by a team of ex-Apple engineers it acquired for $1.4 billion in 2021. The chip is based on the Arm architecture, which is widely used in mobile devices and offers advantages in power efficiency and performance.
The Snapdragon Elite X chip has four high-performance cores called Oryon and four power-efficient cores called Kryo. It also has a powerful graphics processor called Adreno and an AI engine called Hexagon. The chip supports up to 32 GB of LPDDR5 memory and up to 8 TB of NVMe storage.
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How Does the Snapdragon Elite X Chip Compare to Apple’s and Intel’s Chips?
Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon Elite X chip is faster than Apple’s M2 Max chip at some tasks and more energy efficient than both Apple’s and Intel’s PC chips. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon Elite X chip can run Windows 11 faster than any other PC processor, with up to 40% faster boot time, 30% faster app launch time and 25% faster web browsing.
Qualcomm also says that the Snapdragon Elite X chip can handle AI models with 13 billion parameters, a proxy measure of sophistication for AI systems that generate text or images. For comparison, Apple’s M2 Max chip can handle AI models with 10 billion parameters, while Intel’s 13th-gen Core chips can handle AI models with 5 billion parameters.
Qualcomm says that these AI capabilities will enable new experiences for PC users, such as generating realistic images for design projects, summarizing long documents or emails, creating captions or headlines for videos or photos, and enhancing video calls with background blur or virtual avatars.
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Which Laptop Makers Will Use the Snapdragon Elite X Chip?
Qualcomm says that several laptop makers have already committed to using the Snapdragon Elite X chip in their upcoming models, including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung. Qualcomm expects the first laptops with the Snapdragon Elite X chip to be available in early 2024.
Qualcomm also says that its chips will support a variety of software platforms, such as Microsoft Windows 11, Google Chrome OS and Linux. Qualcomm says that its chips will work seamlessly with popular apps and services from Microsoft, Google, Meta (formerly Facebook), Adobe and others.
Qualcomm’s announcement comes a day after Reuters reported that Microsoft has encouraged Qualcomm, Nvidia and AMD to come up with new chips to handle a bevvy of new AI features in Windows, the world’s most popular PC operating system.
During a video appearance at Qualcomm’s event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the chips would help usher in a new era of “AI PCs” for businesses and consumers. “The work we’re doing together, it’s going to bring together these experiences that cannot be done without a new system architecture,” Nadella said.