Qualcomm says Snapdragon X Elite blows away Apple’s M3 chip with 28% faster performance

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite
(Image credit: Future)

So far, we’ve heard about how fast the Snapdragon X Elite could be, but now we’re starting to see just how fast it is. In fact, it’s so fast, the M3 MacBook Air has been left in the dust.

According to internal testing seen by Tom’s Guide, the X Elite is 28% faster than the Apple M3 chip when put through the paces in Geekbench 6.2. This test is for CPU peak performance based on a geometric mean of multiple runs, using Qualcomm’s laptop reference design that we got the chance to put through its paces.

Oh Snap(dragon)!

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite

(Image credit: Future)

One of the more interesting parts of this silicon story has been that when Qualcomm did announce its new generation Arm chip for laptops, Apple just went ahead and announced the M3 MacBook Pro — consequently stealing the company’s thunder

X Elite looks set to steal it right back, as internal testing shows the chip is faster. Qualcomm hasn't said anything about the battery life here, and I think that’s because there’s a chance the X Elite hasn’t quite matched the frankly bonkers stamina levels of Apple’s M-series chips.

However, given what we’re seeing in comparison to Intel machines, this is a big battery-fueled step in the right direction.

Snapdragon X Elite benchmarks: Our own testing

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite

(Image credit: Future)

On top of that, we’ve put Snapdragon X Elite to the test ourselves with some benchmarks. Most fascinating is not just how it beats M3 in multicore results, but I think Qualcomm may be being a little modest here — given the fact it beats the M3 Pro MacBook Pro, too.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Chip (laptop)Geekbench 6 (single-core)Geekbench 6 (multicore)
Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite (Reference design laptop)286415016
M3 (MacBook Air)308212087
M3 Pro (MacBook Pro)315414357
M3 Max (MacBook Pro)320021711
Intel Core Ultra 7 155H (Asus Zenbook Duo)247512867
Intel Core Ultra 9 185H (Samsung Galaxy Book 4 Ultra)242113124

This shows a lot of multi-core promise for the X Elite, as it seems this will be more capable than not just Apple's lower and mid-tier chips, but also even Intel's most performant Core Ultra chipset in the 9 185H. For context, if anyone is a Blender fan, here are the results.

Snapdragon X Elite

(Image credit: Future)

But two tests took my breath away. First, the use of OBS for game streaming gives you a key obstacle when it comes to accessibility. Whisper is a fascinating add-on that does live captioning. This is all done through AI transcription and processed entirely on the NPU. 

Now, when you normally do this, one key thing you notice on Intel and AMD-based machines is the fans slowly start to kick up because of the somewhat intense request on the processors being made from OBS. For X Elite, however, thermal demands were nowhere near as bad in my time using this, and the speed of subtitling was impressive on the tiny amount of wattage this app was sipping.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite

(Image credit: Future)

And finally, the Windows app emulation layer. Microsoft seems so confident in Qualcomm's potential with this, that its claiming to be faster than Rosetta 2. You know what? After seeing Baldur's Gate 3 run through an emulation layer and even hit 40 FPS, I'm beginning to believe Redmond may be right.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite

(Image credit: Future)

Hitting an average of 32 FPS in my own testing, and a Wild Life Extreme result of 6,155, the graphical prowess is not going to set the world on fire when compared to discrete GPU counterparts, but this is a seriously impressive score given the fact it is integrated.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite

(Image credit: Future)

Yes, the plastic of the reference unit just above the keyboard did get warm and fans worked hard to dissipate it while gaming. Of course it's worth me saying this is just a reference design laptop, so other consumer-facing systems may be better (or worse) at this. 

However, in my first real time testing the Snapdragon X Elite, I've got a sneaky feeling that Intel, AMD and even Apple should watch their backs. The company's coming in hot with serious multi-threaded performance.

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Jason England
Managing Editor — Computing

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.

  • ibm650
    Now we have to see if MS has software that will allow all Windows software to run. We are not hearing about this.
    Reply
  • rgd1101
    they have a different windows for arm
    https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/arm/overview
    although they have emulator for it, software might have to rewrite or recompile to run
    Reply
  • Marc_24
    Perhaps I missed this info in the article, but I'd be curious to know how many watts were being fed to the Snapdragon X Elite.

    "According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon X Elite turned in a Geekbench 6 score of 15,610 vs the Apple M3’s score of 12,154. If true, X Elite outperforms M3 by 22%. Qualcomm didn’t detail the power consumption differences between its chip and Apple’s."

    /computing/laptops/snapdragon-x-elite-could-fix-my-biggest-gripe-with-windows-laptops
    Reply