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There’s an unexpected, new competitor in PC gaming

Snapdragon's X Elite PC SoC.
Qualcomm

Windows gaming on ARM is becoming a legitimate possibility, and it’s not just thanks to the recently unveiled emulation options, but it’s chiefly due to the fact that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite is shaping up to be pretty excellent. Spotted in a recent benchmark, the CPU was seen beating some of the best processors on the current market. Are we finally at a point where it’s not always going to be a choice between just Intel and AMD?

The benchmarks were posted by user @techinmul on Twitter, and the results couldn’t be more promising for the upcoming Qualcomm processor. The chip was tested in Geekbench 6, and although it’s important not to take these results entirely at face value, it’s an impressive show of performance that bodes well for upcoming thin and light laptops.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite scored 2,474 points in the single-core Geekbench test and 14,254 points in the multi-core test. Those are some impressive numbers that make it rank above many recent mobile chips from AMD and Intel. In fact, it outpaces several Raptor Lake processors, as well as AMD’s latest Ryzen 9 8945HS — by a small margin, but still.

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Snapdragon X Elite LENOVO 4810UV0100 Geekbench Scores leak..
Single Score -2427
Multi Score -14254@91mobiles @BennettBuhner @9to5Google @Lexcyn pic.twitter.com/QkcvGjl16L

— techinamul (@techinamul) April 1, 2024

Tom’s Hardware compiled some scores for comparison, and Qualcomm maintains a strong lead in multi-core workloads against the Core i9-13900H, the Core i7-13700HX, and the Ryzen 9 8945HS, beating them by 25.7%, 18.4%, and 18.3%, respectively. The single-core lead is significantly smaller — in the low single digits.

Comparing the CPU to some newer chips shows a gap, but it’s to be expected. For instance, Intel’s high-end Core i9-14900HX has an average Geekbench 6 score of 2,809 in single-core and 16,525 in multi-core, which is 13.5% faster and 15.9% faster than the Snapdragon X Elite, respectively.

However, given that this is one of the top chips Intel currently has to offer, for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon to be around 15% slower is no small feat. Apple should hold on tight, too, because the Snapdragon X Elite is said to be about 50% faster than the M2 chip, although some of those claims haven’t yet come to fruition in the early benchmarks.

Qualcomm recently teased that gaming on ARM will be much more doable now, all thanks to emulation. Game devs will still be able to port their games to ARM64 native for the best performance, but they can also just leave them as they are, and x64 emulation should make most titles playable. With that in mind, as well as the benchmark scores shown above, we might start seeing a shift in the market where it’s not all just Intel and AMD — gaming on Windows with an ARM chip might become a viable alternative.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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