A Qualcomm demo laptop with a slide showing performance comparisons.
Fionna Agomuoh / Digital Trends

Windows laptops with Qualcomm’s ARM-based Snapdragon X Elite chip are set to come this summer, but we’re already getting a preview of how good the devices will be for gaming. A recent video surfaced online showing how one of the most popular PC games, Baldur’s Gate 3, can run on a Qualcomm reference laptop with the chip — and it does look to be pretty impressive.

As shared by Devin Arthur on X, Qualcomm ran this game on a sample laptop at 1080p resolution. The demo was done in a public setting, and it’s not clear what else was changed beyond that, but it does appear stable, with little to no lag.

Here's a demo of Baulders Gate 3 running at 1080p hovering around 30FPS, which is perfectly playable!

— Devin Arthur (@Lexcyn) March 25, 2024

This is a turn-based game where there are a lot of sudden movements and frames for the laptop’s integrated Adreno GPU chip to render, so this is indeed impressive. The frame rate counter in the top left of the screen doesn’t appear to jump below 30 frames per second (fps). That might not impress PC gamers, but it’s certainly better than what standard integrated graphics have been able to achieve in the past.

Snapdragon's X Elite PC SoC.

Just as a comparison, when we ran this same test on a higher-end MacBook Air with the M3 chip, we hit around 40 fps to 50 fps, on varying graphics settings and a higher screen resolution. So, Qualcomm might have just caught up to Apple when it comes to GPU performance.

To be clear, this game is running under emulation on Qualcomm’s reference laptop, so it does show the strength of the new GPU. Qualcomm previously promised that PC games should run under emulation without any extra preparation or porting, and we’ve now seen that in action. It also mentioned that these games should perform at the same level as what you’d get with the AMD Radeon 780M GPU.

Gaming and GPU power were always the weakness of Qualcomm’s older ARM-based chips for Windows laptops, so this pushes things forward to a new level.

It isn’t the first benchmark we’ve seen that shows how powerful the integrated GPU is. When it comes to testing that pushes the chip’s AI functionalities, the Snapdragon X Elite was nearly twice as fast as the integrated Intel Arc graphics on board Intel’s Core Ultra CPUs. More testing will be needed, but Qualcomm might as well be onto something here and could shake up the gaming laptop industry.

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Arif Bacchus

Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…

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