Smartphone Chip Giants Showdown: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite vs. Apple M3

Smartphone Chip Giants Showdown: Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite vs. Apple M3

The highly anticipated Snapdragon X Elite from Qualcomm faced off against Apple’s recently announced M3 processor family and the results were exciting to see. Competitors like the Snapdragon X Elite built by the Nuvia team (which includes ex-Apple developers) show just how intense the market is. We compare their central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), neural processing units (NPUs), and more to help you decide which one is best for your laptop.

Comparison of Characteristics

First, let’s compare the Snapdragon X Elite with the Apple M3 Pro in terms of their technical specs:

Introducing the Snapdragon X Elite.

Process of Fabrication: TSMC 4nm
Transistors: Confidential
CPU Number of Cores: 12 Powerful Cores
Up to 4.3 GHz (80W) Maximum Power.

Neuroprocessing Unit (45 TOPS) Hexagonal
RAM: Up to 64GB (Random Access Memory)
Bandwidth of Memory: 136GBps
LPDDR5X Memory, Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4 Low Energy
The Snapdragon X65 5G modem is the recommended modem.

37 Billion Central Processing Units Fabricated Using TSMC’s 3nm Transistors. Count of cores: 12 high-performance and six low-power cores
Up to 4.05GHz Max Frequency Apple’s next-gen GPU (14 or 18 cores)
TDP: Unknown at this time
Artificial Intelligence Engine: Up to 18 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS)
Memory (RAM) for All Purposes: Up to 36GB
Memory Transfer Rate: 150GB/s
LPDDR5 Memory
Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity; Modem:
Is the Nuvia Core an improvement?

It’s interesting to see how the Snapdragon X Elite and Apple M3 Pro compare as central processing units. The 4nm-processed Snapdragon X Elite has 12 powerful Oryon cores. Qualcomm provides two thermal profiles: 23W for ultraportable laptops and 80W for powerhouse computers. This causes a wide range of clock rates, the 80W variant of which may hit 4.3GHz.

However, Apple’s M3 Pro depends on the TSMC 3nm technology and features 12 CPU cores. In contrast to the Snapdragon X Elite, the M3 Pro has 12 processor cores, with six dedicated to high performance and six dedicated to efficiency. The power profile of the M3 Pro is unknown, although early Geekbench results indicate a 4.05GHz maximum clock speed.

When put to the same single-core test, the 80W Snapdragon X Elite trumps the Apple M3 Max. We must keep in mind, however, that the M3’s exact power output is still a mystery. When looking at the clock speeds and Geekbench scores, Snapdragon X Elite appears to be the winner, but this unknown variable complicates the evaluation.

Geekbench 6: Snapdragon X Elite vs M3:

Qualcomm has revealed Geekbench 6 results for the 23W and 80W models of Snapdragon X Elite. The 23W model obtained a single-core score of 2,741 and a multi-core score of 13,021. Compared to the 80W variant, its single-core performance was 3,238, and its multi-core performance was 17,181. The enhanced performance and clock speeds of the Snapdragon X Elite are reflected in these outstanding results.

Apple’s low-end M3 processor with eight cores and 4.05GHz clock speed achieved single-core and multi-core benchmarks of 3,095 and 11,724, respectively. Because of the difference in core count, multi-core testing cannot be conducted, but the single-core results show that the M3 delivers faster cores at the same clock speed. The Snapdragon X Elite excels in single-core performance, but the M3’s power consumption still needs to be discovered.

CPU: Apple or Snapdragon?

Apple M3:

GPU processing speed is a hotly contested area. The Snapdragon X Elite features an integrated Adreno GPU, whereas Apple’s M3 chipset offers a new architecture, ray tracing capability, Mesh Shaders, and Dynamic Caching for better graphics. Apple has big plans to make macOS a powerful gaming platform.

Qualcomm provided GPU benchmark statistics that show the Snapdragon X Elite surpasses the Apple M2 chipset, although the M3 chipset is a major GPU upgrade for Apple. This indicates that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite has to improve to compete with x86 and win over gamers.

An AI and Machine Learning Powerhouse

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite incorporates a Hexagon AI Engine with a peak performance of 45 TOPS, making it a leader in the field of on-device AI. When the CPU, GPU, NPU, and Sensing Hub are all working together, however, the system’s performance may skyrocket to 75 TOPS. A 7B LLM model generates 30 tokens per second on the X Elite.

In comparison, the Apple M3’s 16-core Neural Engine achieves up to 18 TOPS, behind the A17 Pro, a mobile chipset with 16 Neural Engine cores, which performs 35 TOPS. Apple offers 128GB Unified Memory for big language models, whereas Snapdragon X Elite supports 64GB. The Snapdragon X Elite is the best mobile platform for artificial intelligence.

Evaluate How Fast Your Memory Is

Snapdragon X Elite uses 16-bit 8-channel LPDDR5X memory with up to 64GB storage and 136 GB speed. However, Apple has lowered the memory on the M3 Pro by using a 192-bit memory bus instead of a 256-bit one. This means that the memory speed is only 150GBps. The Apple M3 Pro, then, has faster memory than the Snapdragon X Elite.

The Snapdragon X Elite features the most up-to-date networking technologies, such as Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, and the ability to install a 5G modem for permanently online laptops. In addition, AV1 coding and decoding are supported for fast video playback.

However, the Apple M3 supports Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, and AV1 decoding. Mobile connection isn’t supported, and it doesn’t work with AV1 video encoding.

Is Qualcomm Now a Better Option Than Apple?

In conclusion, the Snapdragon X Elite from Qualcomm faces stiff opposition from Apple’s M3 processor. The Snapdragon X Elite excels in single-core speed and has exceptional AI capabilities, but it trails behind in GPU power. However, Apple has improved its GPU performance to transform macOS into a formidable gaming platform.

The clash between these heavyweights indicates the emergence of ARM-based CPUs, but the outcome remains unknown. Whether Qualcomm or Apple ultimately prevails, one thing is sure: ARM will be there for a while, and its continued development bodes well for the future.

Please let us know your thoughts on this monumental confrontation in the comments area.

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