Qualcomm has published a short video that shows a Snapdragon X Elite laptop outpacing an Intel Core Ultra 7 laptop by up to 10X in AI workloads. According to the video description, the unnamed Snapdragon X Elite model offers “a groundbreaking 45 TOPS NPU that delivers unparalleled AI capabilities.” The NPU (neural processing unit) tests run by Qualcomm included AI image generation in Stable Diffusion and GIMP. Of course, the tests used the onboard processors rather than the cloud.

The above video starts with side-by-side Stable Diffusion tests. While the Snapdragon X Elite laptop completed its summer fruits image generation task in 7.25s, it wasn’t until 22.26s that the Intel Core Ultra 7 laptop finished creating an image from the same prompt.

Qualcomm demonstrated that it had been reasonably fair in its side-by-side Stable Diffusion demo. As you can see from the screengrab below, the Snapdragon designers made sure the v1.5 of the image generator was “running on the most efficient configuration” for the Intel chip, splitting the processing between the Meteor Lake CPU, NPU, and GPU as appropriate. Please note that the Qualcomm machine seems to have benefitted from a specially optimized Stable Diffusion release, though.seconds 22.267.25 seconds

Snapdragon X Elite NPU tests

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Again, in GIMP, Qualcomm set up the two machines to do some AI image generation. This time, the prompt was “majestic lion basking in the golden afternoon sun.” We see the Snapdragon X Elite machine’s AI plugin, using the Qualcomm AI Stack, finish processing in a fraction of the time it takes the Intel OpenVINO plugin to complete the same task. Qualcomm asserts the demo shows its 45 TOPS packing chip can outpace the x86 rival by generating 10X more images in a given timeframe.

Perhaps it isn’t that surprising that the upcoming Qualcomm chip triumphs so convincingly in any NPU tests. The Snapdragon X Elite has an officially touted 45 TOPS to tackle AI workloads, while Intel’s official materials suggest that the Core Ultra series “delivers up to 34 TOPS” in a best-case scenario.

Meteor Lake was, of course, Intel’s first processor family with an integrated NPU, and it has already set out its stall to leapfrog its performance with the next generation – Arrow Lake (desktop) and Lunar Lake (laptop). We learned at CES that these chips are “in the deep and final stages” of development. Most importantly, concerning today’s story, Intel says its Arrow Lake and Lunar Lake CPUs, which are due later this year, will triple AI performance via improvements in GPU and NPU architectures.

A few days ago, we also spotted a Snapdragon X Elite chip in the Geekbench database, delivering convincing and top-x86 mobile chip rivaling performance. Overall it looks like Arm is going to make an even bigger impact on the mobile market soon. 

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