2 min read

Qualcomm's answer to Apple Silicon

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite looks like the Windows world’s answer to Apple Silicon
Snapdragon X Elite PCs should begin to arrive in mid-2024, but obstacles remain.

This is exciting news, I think Apple Silicon has been one of the best developments in PCs in the past decade. Early on it offered performance that was competitive or even beating some hot, heavy and power hungry desktop chips in some regards, all for a fraction of their power & heat budget.

Lately those much more power hungry chips have rightly taken the 'raw performance' crown back, but Apple Silicon chips are still some of the fastest and best chips around. If you need the most absolute raw performance, outside of a few particular tasks where there is dedicated accelerators for, Apple's chips aren't what you want. But as chips for laptops? I still believe they're the best as they offer excellent performance with minimal power draw and heat output. A great balance for portable computers.

It's great that it's looking like Windows laptops might be getting some great ARM chips. This is only part of the story of course, but it's a key part, what remains to be seen is how quickly Microsoft can catch Windows up to make these ARM Windows laptops a good experience. Apple did an excellent job here with the mostly seamless experience of Rosetta, the optimised for Apple Silicon apps and the cross pollination with iOS & iPad OS.

Qualcomm's performance claims are pretty strong, but they're also full of the usual cherry-picked benchmarks that raise a few questions. But even if they're not entirely accurate, I suspect they'll be close to their claims - which is positive for something relatively early on.

I'm really looking forward to these and to how Apple responds. It's good to see them get competition in this space, I want to see how far they can push their so-far excellent custom chips. I suspect it would be a long time before I could consider switching my Windows desktop over to ARM, if ever, but it opens up options to replace my home servers with good ARM desktop chips.