Snapdragon X Plus Tested: Qualcomm’s Game-Changer For Mainstream AI PCs

Qualcomm Reveals New Details And Performance Of Snapdragon X Plus And Snapdragon X Elite

We recently had the opportunity to meet with Qualcomm to learn the latest about its Snapdragon X processor line-up for emerging AI PCs and to get more hands-on time for performance benchmarks. During our meeting, we got the scoop on the Snapdragon X Plus, a 10-core variant of the platform that will drop into the line-up behind the Snapdragon X Elite. We were also able to play with some of the latest Arm-native software, including Davinci Resolve and the latest web browsers, and chatted with a myriad of folks from Qualcomm to glean additional details on the company’s forthcoming power efficient Windows PC offering.

Machines powered by the Snapdragon X aren’t quite ready to ship just yet, but we’re getting closer by the day. So far all indicators point to this platform being highly competitive, if not class-leading, in terms of performance and efficiency. Here’s the latest…

snapdragon x plus chip front

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite Features And Specifications

snapgragon x specifications
snapdragon x highlights

To date, Qualcomm has disclosed a number of details regarding the Snapdrgaon X Elite, but we now have a complete list of specifications and the full initial line-up of chips. The newly announced Snapdragon X Plus isn’t listed in the CPU section about, but it is similar the the Snapdragon X Elite model X1E-78-00, minus two processor cores. Details for all of the platform’s capabilities are laid out in the table above, including display capabilities, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Cellular connectivity, and camera features. We don’t know if all of Qualcomm’s partners building systems will enable every feature, but the Snapdragon X will be a premium option, so its likely many of its features and capabilities will be exploited, once machines hit the market in the second half of the year.

snapdragon x sku comparison

The initial line-up of Snapdragon X processors will consist of three Elite options and a single Plus SKU. All of the chips feature the same 45 TOP NPU, 42MB of total cache and a high-speed LPDDR5X (8448MT/s) memory interface, but differ in terms of core counts, clocks, and GPU configuration. Snapdragon X Elite processors all have 12-cores and differ only in their frequencies. The top-end part has a dual-core boost clock of up to 4.2GHz with a multi-core boost of 3.8GHz. The next step down has a dual-core boost of 4GHz and multi-core boost of 3.4GHz, and the rest of the chips don’t boost at all and top out at 3.4GHz. In terms of their GPU configurations, the top-end Snapdragon X Elite (model X1E-84-100) also features the most powerful engine, capable of 4.6TFLOPs, while the GPU in the rest of the line-up is scaled back somewhat to 3.8TFLOPs.

sku explainer snapdragon x

The branding is somewhat nebulous and confusing in our opinion, but Qualcomm has provided a decoder to help make sense of it all. All of the chips fall under the Snapdragon X umbrella (X), with the next digit representing the generation – the first wave of chips are obviously generation 1. The next letter designated the tier, E for Elite or P for Plus. Then comes the SKU number and the variant. We not quite sure if the SKU numbers actually relate to any feature or spec, but obviously higher numbers equate to a better performing part.

snapdragon x summary

Snapdragon X Expected Performance And Efficiency

Qualcomm provided some power and performance data versus competitive products from Intel and AMD, and threw in an Apple comparison as well. First up, we have some CPU performance curve comparisons…

geekbench mt snapdragon x perf

Using the multi-threaded Geekbench test, Qualcomm is claiming 37% better performance than Intel (Core Ultra 7 155H) and AMD (Ryzen 9 7940HS) at ISO power, and similar performance at 54% lower power for Snapdragon X Plus — the Elite obviously performs somewhat better with its two additional cores.

cinbench mt snapdragon x perf

In a similar comparison using Cinebench, the deltas are somewhat smaller, but still favor Snapdragon X Plus by wide margins. Here, the the Snapdragon X Plus offers 28% higher performance at ISO power, and it uses 39% less power at similar peak performance.

snapdragon x vs mac m3

Versus Apple’s latest M3 processor, the comparison is more straightforward. These results represent the geomean of three runs in the Geekbench multi-threaded benchmark. As you can see, both the Snapdragon X Plus and X Elite finish well out in front.

GPU snapdragon x perf

iGPU performance and efficiency also heavily favors the Snapdragon X Plus, according to Qualcomm. At ISO power, using the UL 3DMark Wildlife Extreme test, the 3.8TFLOP Adreno GPU in the Snapdragon X Plus offers 36% better performance or similar performance at up to 50% lower power.

Snapdragon X Plus Performance Explored

Qualcomm also provided us a set of performance metrics to level set our expectations for its two new Snapdragon X PC offerings. Below are some raw numbers for a few of the mainstream benchmark apps with both the 10 and 12-core variants of Snapdragon X Plus and X Elite, that show performance scaling between the two platforms. 

snapdragon x plus performance summary

snapdragon x elite performance summry

These scores represent solid midrange and top tier performance, and the spread between the 10-core and 12-core Snapdragon X Plus and X Elite is prominent, especially when it comes to multithreaded CPU throughput (Cinebench and Blender, for example) and gaming/graphics (3DMark). However, note that AI inferencing performance is identical between the two new Snapdragon X SoCs. Regardless, the deltas between the two can range from as much as roughly 30 percent to about 15%, depending on workload. 

Let’s see how these scores pan-out in our own first-hand benchmark testing of Snapdragon X Plus and Snapdragon X Elite. We’ll start first with the UL PCMark 10 Applications benchmark, that utilizes Microsoft’s suite of Office productivity apps like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the Edge browser to measure performance. 

pcmark10 applications snapdragon x plus performance

We don’t have as much reference data using the PCMark 10 Applications test, but this comparison is quite telling. The Snapdragon X Plus and Elite both outpace the Ryzen 7 7840U, which is a similar class of processor. It’s only the very high-end HX-series parts with discrete GPUs that than outrun the Snapdragons.
geekbench snapdragon x plus performance

The Geekbench results are very telling. The Snapdragon X Elite leads all of the mainstream Intel and AMD processors and pulls ahead of the M2 Pro as well in the multi-threaded score, and offers highly competitive single-thread performance as well. Once again, only the high-end, higher-power, gaming-oriented HX series processors put up better numbers. The Snapdragon X Plus slots in a few notches below the Elite and hangs with Intel’s Core Ultra 7 165H.
cinebench 2024 snapdragon x plus performance

Cinebench tells a very similar story to Geekbench. The Snapdragon X Elite parts compete with the best mainstream mobile processors currently available, with the Snapdragon X Plus finishing not too far behind. Here, however, the Core Ultra 7 165H has a somewhat larger lead in the multi-threaded tests versus Snapdragon X Plus.

3mark wildlife snapdragon x plus performance

In terms of graphics performance, the Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus crush the AMD Radeon 780M and Intel UHD graphics. Apple, however, places a huge emphasis on GPU performance and it shows here, nearly doubling the performance of the Snapdragon X Plus.

procyon ai snapdragon x plus performance

The 45 TOP NPU in the Snapdragon X Elite and Plus is another of Qualcomm’s significant advantages. Versus some of the latest processors from AMD and Intel, there is no comparison — Qualcomm finishes well out in front.

Additional Hands On Testing With the Snapdragon X Elite and Plus

snapdragon x elite blender 2
Blender 4.1 Snapdragon X Elite Results
snapdragon x plus blender 2
Blender 4.1 Snapdragon X Plus Results

While we were in front of Qualcomm’s reference machines, we also go to run an array of additional benchmarks. We haven’t compiled reference results just yet, but what you see above are results from Blender 4.1 running on both machines. The Snapdragon X Elite, with its higher clocks and two additional cores, end up being about 30% faster than the Snapdragon X Plus.

We also tested Jetstream 2 and Speedometer 2.1 using both the Arm-native Microsoft Edge and Chrome browsers. We snuck in a run of Speedometer 3 using Chrome as well…

snapdragon x plus jetstream edge
Jetstream 2 Snapdragon X Plus Results – Edge
snapdragon x plus jetstream chrome
Jetstream 2 Snapdragon X Plus Results – Chrome

The Jetstream results on the Snapdragon X Plus are quite good and they show much better performance on the recently released Arm-native Chrome browser. You’d think Microsoft has had more time to tweak and optimize Edge since it’s been native to Arm for quite a while, but that’s obviously not the case.

snapdragon x elite jetstream edge
Jetstream 2 Snapdragon X Elite Results – Edge

snapdragon x elite jetstream chrome
Jetstream 2 Snapdragon X Elite Results – Chrome

Here’s the same test on the Snapdragon X Elite, under both Edge and Chrome. As expected, the Snapdragon X Elite offers higher absolute performance than the Snapdragon X Plus and Chrome clearly offers much better performance than Edge.

snapdragon x elite speedometer 2 1 edge
Speedometer 2.1 Snapdragon X Elite Results – Edge

snapdragon x elite speedometer chrome
Speedometer 2.1 Snapdragon X Elite Results – Chrome

We saw more of the same with the Speedometer benchmark. The Chrome browser offers significantly better performance (at least for now) versus Edge, and the Snapdragon X Elite puts up one of the highest scores we’ve ever seen in this benchmark. That score of 489 is significantly better than any notebook we have tested, and trails only the fastest desktop processors currently available.

snapdragon x plus speedomoter edge
Speedometer 2.1 Snapdragon X Plus Results – Edge
snapdragon x plus speedometer chrome
Speedometer 2.1 Snapdragon X Plus Results – Chrome

Performance isn’t quite as high with the Snapdragon X Plus, but we see a similar delta separating Chrome and Edge. For any web-based applications, it’s clear the Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus will offer more than enough performance.

snapdragon x plus speedometer 3
Speedometer 3 Snapdragon X Eltie Results – Chrome

We also got to sneak in a quick run with the recently released Speedometer 3 benchmark on the Snapdragon X Elite running under Chrome. We don’t have reference data just yet, but suspect this result will be competitive with other mobile platforms. For reference, a Core i9-14900KS desktop processor with the latest version of Chrome scores 33 in this test.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Plus And X Elite Initial Conclusions

snapdragon x plus chip back 2

When we first got to see the Snapdragon X Elite running first-hand at the Snapdragon Tech Summit late last year, we came away impressed and cautiously optimistic. Virtually all of the information and data revealed by Qualcomm to date has been overwhelmingly positive. Performance versus other mobile platforms at similar power levels appears to be class-leading on both the Snapdragon X Elite and the newly-announced Snapdragon X Plus. All of our CPU, GPU and NPU performance results are very promising. We have to take Qualcomm on their word at this point, but assuming its efficiency is as good as the company claims, the Snapdragon X Platform should offer all of that high performance, while also offering much better battery life than competing platforms.

snapdragon x highlights 2

Until we get our hands on a retail-ready machine from one of Qualcomm’s partners, we will remain cautiously optimistic. Microsoft and a number of ISVs have been making great strides optimizing software for Arm-based processors and many of the initial indicators we have seen are very encouraging. In terms of wireless connectivity, display features, performance and power efficiency, the Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus seem like a home run. By the time they arrive in-market, however, we should know more about Intel’s Lunar Lake and AMD will likely make some noise in the mobile space a few months later. Where Intel’s and AMD’s next-gen parts land in terms of performance and efficiency remains to be seen. For now though, we can only look forward to the Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus. These processor platforms appear to have it all going for them.