For years, Qualcomm has been making Snapdragon chips for Windows PCs, and for years, those chips’ performance have failed to dislodge Intel’s or AMD’s chips to any significant degree. Its latest Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 (and the closely related Microsoft SQ3) appears in just two consumer PCs, the cumbersomely named Microsoft Surface Pro 9 with 5G and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X13s Gen 1.
But that may be changing. Nearly three years ago, Qualcomm bought a company called Nuvia for $1.4 billion. Nuvia was mainly working on server processors, but the company’s founders and many of its employees had also been involved in developing the A- and M-series Apple Silicon processors that have all enabled the iPhone, iPad, and Mac to achieve their enviable blend of performance and battery life. Today, Qualcomm is formally announcing the fruit of the Nuvia acquisition: the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite is a 12-core, 4 nm chip that will compete directly with Intel’s Core processors and AMD Ryzen chips in PCs—and, less directly, Apple’s M2 and M3-series processors for Macs.
We’ve heard a lot of these claims over the years, and to be honest, I’m a little tired of promises. Show me the goods.