Qualcomm doubles down on Snapdragon X Elite against fake benchmark allegations

Shots fired.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor crossed out because of allegedly faked benchmarks.

Update (26/04/23): Qualcomm has contacted Club386 to address the allegations, doubling down on its original tests. “We stand behind our performance claims and are excited for consumers to get their hands on Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus devices soon,” says the representative. This isn’t much more than a generic press response, but it does show the brand stands firm. Hopefully, we’ll see more when the devices land on digital shelves.

Original story (25/04/23): You know the saying: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Qualcomm painted a fantastic picture of its Snapdragon X Elite laptop processors recently, but the benchmarks against Apple and Intel might not even be true. Reportedly, partners claim that they can’t reproduce the same figures across several different laptops.

SemiAccurate says “Qualcomm is showing a different set of numbers to [two top tier] OEMs and these also are not achievable with the settings they claim.” Worse yet, some tests didn’t even hit 50% of the benchmarks. If true, we’ll be fortunate to see Snapdragon X Elite on par with Intel Core i7-1360P and i7-1355U, as one source claimed it was akin to Intel Celeron instead.

Qualcomm points the finger at Windows and laptops in general for the subpar numbers. First, it says the operating system is poorly optimised for ARM architecture, which is nothing new. WART (Windows on ARM) has felt like a beta at best for quite some time. Second, OEMs likely don’t have the correct benchmark builds that are ARM native. This is possible, given that public builds likely aren’t optimised with the newer silicon in mind. Third and finally, the brand blames cooling restrictions for making the silicon a little too toasty.

Unfortunately, the tests are behind closed doors, and we still don’t know what goes into them. Beyond a supposed 41% to 51% boost over Intel Core Ultra 9 185H in multi-core tests and a 16% leg up over Apple’s M3 in Geekbench 6.2, we don’t know how Qualcomm got these figures. According to SemiAccurate, the company hasn’t let journalists conduct tests at briefings or look at the settings used.

Even if the silicon is near perfect and Snapdragon X Elite hits a home run, it’ll be for nought if the ecosystem around it isn’t ready. Apple’s devices work because MacOS works with it. Intel and AMD’s x86 works because of decades of refinement. ARM has an uphill battle to prove itself and I’d expect nothing less than some teething issues, but misleading results could damage Qualcomm’s reputation if the laptops don’t live up to the hype.

We’ll see for ourselves when Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 14 and other brands release Snapdragon X Elite laptops later this year.