Qualcomm's Arm chip beats Intel in pre-launch Windows performance demo — Snapdragon X Elite X1E80100 takes down Core 7 Ultra 155H

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon X Elite came out ahead of Intel's Meteor Lake in a head-to-head comparison running Windows, shared by YouTuber Erdi Özüağ (via TechPowerUp). The Snapdragon X Elite X1E80100 beat the Core 7 Ultra 155H in all four benchmarks that were run, with two wider victories and narrower wins. The results are a good omen for the Snapdragon X Elite, though it's important to note the tests were in a controlled environment and definitely warrant at least a few grains of salt.

The performance demo was conducted at an official Qualcomm event during Mobile World Congress last month, but Özüağ's video seems to be the first time we've seen these benchmarks. Based on the language in the video and the fact that nobody else has disclosed these figures in the two weeks since MWC, we get the sense that maybe Özüağ wasn't supposed to show this stuff publicly — or perhaps Özüağ was just working on the video for the past several days and nobody else found the benchmarks interesting enough to talk about.

Both the Snapdragon X Elite and Meteor Lake laptops shown in the comparison were made by Qualcomm, and are the same models we've seen used for every other official comparison, such as this NPU performance test. The Snapdragon X Elite laptop was equipped with the 12-core X1E80100 CPU running at 28 watts and 4.3 GHz, and was paired with 64GB of RAM. The Intel laptop used a Core Ultra 7 155H, presumably (though not certainly) with the same RAM and power limit.

Qualcomm's reference laptops were set up to demo performance in 7-Zip file compression, Visual Studio code compilation, and 3DMark's Wild Life Extreme GPU test. The X1E80100 barely edged out the 155H in 7-Zip and was about 46% faster in Visual Studio, which are CPU-bound benchmarks. The two chips were tied in Wild Life Extreme, showing that Qualcomm can match Intel in integrated graphics.

Özüağ also showed performance data from UL Procyon, which tests NPU performance, and there the X1E80100 beat the 155H by a whopping 460%. That's an even bigger performance gap than Qualcomm showed in Stable Diffusion in a different MWC demo, though of course it also raises the question of whether the Intel system was properly optimized for the benchmark.

This all fits in with what we've seen from the Snapdragon X Elite in previous performance previews against both Intel and AMD processors. As with all pre-launch figures, some skepticism should be applied, especially when Qualcomm is making the reference laptop used to represent the competition and is showing just a handful of benchmarks in a controlled environment. It's clear that the Snapdragon X Elite is fast, but we don't have the full picture quite yet. We'll find out how it performs in a wider selection of benchmarks when it launches later this year.

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.