Snapdragon X Elite flexes AI muscles and destroys Intel Core Ultra 7 CPU in image creation head-to-head

The Snapdragon X Elite is an incoming ARM-based mobile CPU that’s causing considerable excitement about what it’ll bring to the table in the arena of the best laptops – and the hype just got stoked a bit more by a revelation on the AI front.

Qualcomm’s SoC is looking pretty tasty with AI acceleration if a new YouTube video (hat tip to Wccftech) showing off the Snapdragon X Elite is anything to go by. In it, the Snapdragon X Elite is battling head-to-head with Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H (one of Team Blue’s Meteor Lake CPUs, the second-tier model behind the Core Ultra 9).

The clip shows the two CPUs running Stable Diffusion 1.5 (in the GIMP image editor) to test the capabilities of their respective NPUs (or Neural Processing Units) for speeding up AI-driven image generation.

When challenged to create an image of a ‘bundle of berries’ the Snapdragon X Elite produced a pic in 7.25 seconds, which was way, way quicker than the Intel chip’s time of 22.26 seconds. Indeed, the Snapdragon is more than 3x faster here.

The next test was to generate a pic of a ‘majestic lion basking in the golden afternoon sun’ and the Snapdragon X Elite positively ran rings around the Intel CPU in this one.

Qualcomm’s SoC produced an image every second or thereabouts, whereas the Core Ultra 7 only managed one image in 12 seconds. You can check out the comparison in the video below.

Analysis: Snap happy

This looks like a startling victory for the Snapdragon X Elite. However, with internal testing we always need to be somewhat skeptical, as individual (and possibly cherry-picked) tasks are one thing, while a suite of independent benchmarks carried out by a third party is quite another.

Still, the margin of victory here is so large that whichever way you dice this, it’s a real eye-opener for the power of the NPU in the Snapdragon silicon compared to the Intel Core Ultra 7 laptop processor.

Remember, though, that this is specifically focusing on AI acceleration (and the NPU), and there are a lot of other performance metrics outside of that narrow (but admittedly rapidly broadening) field.

The Snapdragon X Elite is an ARM-based chip as well, and having such silicon powering your laptop, as opposed to an x86 Intel CPU, does have some clear downsides. (Such as using Windows on ARM, and not being able to run popular software – or at least, not being able to run traditional x86 apps natively to the fullest extent of their potential performance, anyway).

The benefits, though, include the Snapdragon X Elite boasting seriously good battery life (longevity for ‘days’ we’re told). And if the leaks, and indeed Qualcomm’s own pre-release benchmark claims, are correct, this is a CPU that could be a genuine rival to Apple’s (also ARM-based) M3 silicon for raw performance.

Laptops with a Snapdragon X Elite chip for their engine should debut around the middle of 2024, we’re told, and the more we hear, the more we’re looking forward to their arrival.

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