The new Snapdragon X chips are faster than an M3, but should we believe it?

If you follow tech outside the world of Apple, you may have noticed that Qualcomm has been getting a lot of attention lately. That’s because the company is promoting its upcoming Snapdragon X Plus and Elite chips, which aren’t going to be in PC laptops until this summer. As part of its marketing, Qualcomm compares its chips’ performance to Intel (of course), but it also calls out Apple’s latest M3 chip.

According to Qualcomm (via PCWorld), its Snapdragon X Elite chip is 28 percent faster and the Snapdragon X Plus chip is 10 percent faster than the Apple M3 in a MacBook Pro in Geekbench testing. Which, for chips that will ship some seven months after the M3 launched, leaves an impression–at least Qualcomm thinks so.

However, these are Qualcomm-provided numbers and one major point that is left out of the M3 comparison is power consumption (not to mention memory and price). Apple takes a great deal of pride in the fact that its chips provide top performance while being efficient.  

In fact, Qualcomm’s chart below comparing multi-threaded performance based on power consumption conspicuously doesn’t include any Apple chips. For a mobile chip, that’s a notable exclusion—especially since it challenges Apple at every other turn.


That are other flags, such as the fact that Qualcomm doesn’t include the M3 Pro or M3 Max. Wouldn’t an X Elite (which has 12 CPU cores) versus a M3 Pro or M3 Max be a better comparison? Seems so. Then there’s the whole issue of whether Qualcomm’s benchmarks are believable at all, which the website SemiAccurate claims isn’t the case, and “the numbers that they are showing to the press and are not achievable with the settings they claim.”

In any case, why should Apple users even care what these new Qualcomm chips do? After all, you can’t (officially) run macOS on a PC laptop–even our sister site, PCWorld, says it “doesn’t care as much about how the X Elite and X Plus shape up to Apple’s best.” If anything, it just shows the importance of Apple in the market, and in the very competitive world of PC laptops, you try to find customers wherever you can. Even with a significantly undersized market share, Apple makes a ton of noise with the Mac, and PC makers will do everything they can to convince PC buyers that the devices they sell are just as good.

As for whether the X Plus and X Elite really do outperform the M3, we’ll just have to wait and see when PCWorld tests the chips after they become available this summer. They’ll probably match up in some benchmarks with some asterisks and caveats. Also, Apple’s M4 is expected later this year, so this comparison will eventually be moot.

Source : Macworld