Qualcomm launches the Snapdragon X Plus

Qualcomm made waves last year with the announcement of its Snapdragon X Elite, a significant upgrade for laptop chips. While consumers eagerly await the arrival of devices featuring these processors, Qualcomm has expanded its lineup with the Snapdragon X Plus, offering a glimpse into its capabilities ahead of its anticipated release later this year.

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Built on the same 4nm process and Arm-based Oryon CPU architecture as the X Elite, the X Plus targets slightly more affordable mainstream laptops. Notably, it features 10 CPU cores compared to the X Elite’s 12 and operates at reduced clock speeds. This positioning mirrors industry trends, with the X Elite positioned as the flagship chip and the X Plus catering to the mid-range segment.

Despite these differences, the X Plus retains the Hexagon NPU, delivering 45 TOPS of machine learning performance, aligning with Microsoft’s recommendations for AI-powered services. Qualcomm boasts significant power efficiency gains, claiming a 37 percent faster CPU performance compared to an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H at equivalent wattage. Additionally, the X Plus outperforms Apple’s M3 processor by 10 percent in multi-threaded CPU tasks.

While consumers eagerly await retail availability, early benchmarks on Qualcomm-built reference devices provide promising results. Geekbench multi-core scores of 12,905 and Cinebench 2024 multi-thread performance of 852 demonstrate the X Plus’s capabilities. However, a minor error in Cinebench incorrectly attributes the GPU to the X Elite instead of the X Plus.

Despite these positive indicators, the true test awaits when the X Plus enters the market. Compatibility with Windows remains a crucial factor, especially considering the challenges in transitioning to Arm-based silicon. Nevertheless, Qualcomm’s collaboration with major players like Google to enhance performance in Chrome for devices running its chips suggests a smoother experience may be on the horizon.

The Snapdragon X Plus represents Qualcomm’s commitment to delivering powerful yet affordable solutions for mainstream laptops. While early benchmarks showcase its potential, the ultimate success will depend on its integration into retail hardware and seamless performance within the Windows ecosystem.