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The big picture: Qualcomm recently introduced the “Snapdragon X” branding for its next-generation Arm-based PC processors. Although the company did not disclose the specific names of the X-series chips, rumors indicate that the premium chipset in the lineup will likely be named Snapdragon X Elite. A subsequent leak appears to have revealed some details about the forthcoming SoC, which could potentially fuel high-end Arm-based Windows devices in the near future.
The news comes from Windows Report, which claims the Snapdragon X Elite will offer up to twice the CPU and GPU performance of equivalent x86 processors from Intel and AMD. The report also states that the chip will be based on a 4nm architecture and feature a CPU with 12 high-performance cores clocked at 3.8 GHz, with a dual-core boost of 4.3 GHz. It will reportedly include up to 42 MB of total cache and is expected to support up to 64 GB of LPDDR5X-8533 memory with a maximum bandwidth of 136 GB/s.
On the GPU side, the Snapdragon X Elite is said to come with an unspecified Adreno GPU with up to 4.6 TFLOPs of computing power and support for DirectX 12. Connectivity options for the new chip are said to include Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4. Additionally, the VPU (Video Processing Unit) will reportedly support AV1 encoding and decoding, marking a significant upgrade from the Snapdragon 8cx Gen3.
Other rumored specs include support for up to a 4K 120 Hz internal display and dual 5K60 external displays. Devices powered by the new chip could come with NVMe SSDs over PCIe Gen 4, with support for the UFS 4.0 specification. The chipset will also support up to 3x USB-C, 3x USB4, 2x USB3.2 Gen2, and 1x eUSB2 ports.
With the Snapdragon X Elite, Qualcomm is said to be focusing on on-device generative AI. The new CPU and NPU are designed to enhance performance and efficiency in AI workloads, including on-device chat assistants and image generation. PCs featuring the Snapdragon X Elite are expected to hit the market in mid-2024. Major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Xiaomi, Honor, and Lenovo are expected to release devices with the new chipset.
Qualcomm appears to be bringing significant improvements with the Snapdragon X Elite to address previous issues. With Apple demonstrating the capability of creating powerful and efficient computers using Arm chips, it will be interesting to see if Arm-powered Windows devices can now compete on equal terms with Intel and AMD.
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