Snapdragon Elite Aims to Revolutionize Windows on Arm
Qualcomm's Snapdragon Elite is set to reinvigorate Windows on Arm by offering top-tier performance and impressive battery life, surpassing its competitors in benchmark tests. With its high single-core score, Snapdragon Elite positions itself well against the upcoming releases of Apple and Intel, showcasing its power. Despite the challenges ahead, Qualcomm is making strides to stay ahead of the curve, and 2024 promises to be an interesting year for computing.
For the first time at the Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit, the hero product wasn't a smartphone chipset but a new System on a Chip (SoC) called Snapdragon Elite designed specifically for laptops. The Snapdragon Elite aims to bring a fresh wave of performance and battery life to Windows on Arm.
Qualcomm showcased the scalability of Snapdragon Elite through two different reference designs. One design operated at a device TDP (Thermal Design Power) of just 23W, while the other reached up to 80W. The height of the machines was 15mm and 16.8mm respectively, with display resolutions of 2880x1800 OLED and 3840x2160 TFT. The batteries also varied, with capacities of 58WHr (3S1P) and 87WHr (3S2P).
Qualcomm opted not to include Snapdragon 8cx Gen, the predecessor of Snapdragon Elite, in its comparisons. Instead, it chose to showcase its performance against the competition, emphasizing its improvements. However, to gain a comprehensive understanding, it is essential to consider the Snapdragon 8cx Gen as part of the testing.
Geekbench is a popular benchmark test for CPUs. Both reference designs of Snapdragon Elite outperformed their rivals in both single-core and multi-core tests. Notably, the single-core score of Snapdragon Elite remains competitive, even with the imminent launches of Apple's M3 and Intel's Meteor Lake.
Cinebench, another CPU test, measures single-threaded and multi-threaded performance. Snapdragon Elite's twelve Oryon cores delivered exceptional multi-core performance, surpassing its competitors' scores. Although Snapdragon Elite's single-core score is higher, the margin is narrower, especially for the 23W unit. The Apple M2, with a score of 120, remains the closest competitor.
Aztec Ruins, which measures graphics rendering, showcases Snapdragon Elite's prowess. Snapdragon Elite's configuration scored 357, surpassing the Apple M2's score of 285. However, the dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics used in the Surface Laptop Studio scored an impressive 641, setting it considerably ahead of the pack.
Wild Life Extreme, a benchmark test within the 3DMark suite, runs natively on Arm. The Snapdragon Elite's integrated graphics achieved a score of 44.81, with the Apple M2 closely behind at 39. Meanwhile, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 once again dominated with a score of 102.15.
Although Qualcomm did not achieve top scores in the PCMark 10 test, which doesn't run natively on Arm, the separate PCMark 10 Applications test highlighted the Snapdragon Elite's productivity. With scores of 13,178 and 13,017, the Snapdragon Elite machines ranked below the Surface Laptop Studio and ThinkPad X1 Nano.
Despite Qualcomm's progress, there are still challenges to overcome. The compatibility of apps on Windows remains an issue, particularly when running Google Chrome in emulation. However, Qualcomm is dedicated to staying at the forefront of technology.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon Elite marks a significant step towards revolutionizing Windows on Arm. With its impressive performance and battery life, Snapdragon Elite outperforms its competitors in benchmark tests. As Qualcomm continues to innovate, the future of computing looks promising. Stay tuned for the exciting developments expected in 2024.