Qualcomm’s AI Chips Take On Intel and AMD in PCs


Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is intensifying its efforts to dominate the AI PC landscape, setting the stage for a clash with industry giants Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and AMD (NASDAQ:AMD). The company unveils its latest weapon: the Arm-based Snapdragon X Plus chip for Windows-based laptops, following the introduction of the Snapdragon X Elite chip in October.

Scheduled for a mid-2024 release, these chips are poised to rival Intel’s Core Ultra lineup and Apple’s(NASDAQ:AAPL) M3 chip series. The X Elite boasts a 12-core Oryon CPU, Adreno GPU, and Qualcomm’s Hexagon NPU, while the X Plus offers a 10-core CPU, integrated GPU, and similar Hexagon NPU. Both chips support up to 64GB of memory and are marketed as AI powerhouses, delivering exceptional performance for local generative AI applications.

Qualcomm’s move aligns with industry trends, where AI-driven PCs are gaining momentum. Intel, AMD, and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) are also positioning their high-end laptops as AI PCs, emphasizing their capabilities beyond traditional computing tasks.

Beyond AI prowess, Qualcomm touts the superior performance per watt of its Arm-based chips compared to Intel and AMD offerings. Additionally, the X Elite and X Plus consume less power while outperforming Apple’s Arm-based M3 chips by 28% and 10%, respectively, according to Qualcomm.

However, performance claims are based on benchmarks, and real-world performance may vary. Qualcomm faces the challenge of gaining traction in the Windows PC market, despite offering Arm-based chips for years. The transition of apps from x86 to Arm platforms has been a hurdle, but with more developers optimizing for Arm-based systems, Qualcomm aims to carve a significant space in the market.

Google’s Chrome now runs natively on Arm systems, bolstering Qualcomm’s position as a formidable competitor to Intel and AMD. The true test of Qualcomm’s chips will be their performance in real-world laptop usage scenarios, but if benchmark numbers hold true, the PC market could witness significant disruption.

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