The Qualcomm Snapdragon X architecture deep dive: getting to know Oryon and Adreno X1

In the last 8 months Qualcomm has made a lot of interesting claims for their high-performance Windows-on-Arm SoC – many of which will be put to the test in the coming weeks. But beyond all the performance claims and bluster amidst what is shaping up to be a highly competitive environment for PC CPUs, there’s an even more fundamental question about the Snapdragon X that we’ve been dying to get to: how does it work?

Ahead of next week’s launch, then, we’re finally getting the answer to that, as today Qualcomm is releasing their long-awaited architectural disclosure on the Snapdragon X SoC. This includes not only their new, custom Arm v8 “Oryon” CPU core, but also technical disclosures on their Adreno GPU, and the Hexagon NPU that backs their heavily-promoted AI capabilities. The company has made it clear in the past that the Snapdragon X is a serious, top-priority effort for the company – that they’re not just slapping together a Windows SoC from their existing IP blocks and calling it a day – so there’s a great deal of novel technology within the SoC.

↫ Ryan Smith at AnandTech

I cannot wait until AnandTech can move beyond diving into information provided by Qualcomm, and can start doing their own incredibly in-depth benchmarks and research. Assuming the effort succeeds, the Snapdragon X line will most likely form the backbone of ARM PCs for years – if not decades – to come, meaning that when you and I go shopping for a new laptop, this chip will be the one heavily promoted by stores and outlets.

How closely independent benchmarks line up with Qualcomm’s eight months of promises and cherry-picked benchmarks will also tell us a lot about how trustworthy the company will be about the performance of its chips going forward. In smartphones – where we mostly see Qualcomm today – performance simply doesn’t matter as much, but when you’re dealing with laptops, and in the future possibly even desktops, performance suddenly matters a lot more, and Qualcomm’s claims will be facing a level of scrutiny and detail I don’t think they’ve ever really had to deal with before.

PC enthusiasts don’t mess around.

If the Linux support turns out to be as solid as Qualcomm claims, and if the performance figures they’ve been putting out are verified by quality independent reviewers like the people at AnandTech, I honestly don’t think my next laptop will be using x86. I just hope weird companies like Chuwi will release a version of their MiniBook X with one a Qualcomm chip, because I’ll be damned if I go back to anything larger than 10″.

One Response

  1. 2024-06-15 6:05 am