Qualcomm All-In on Copilot+ PCs Boosting Speed, Battery Life

Qualcomm is expanding beyond mobile and into the desktop market in a big way, bringing its AI-enabled Snapdragon X series chips to “all PC form factors,” CEO Cristiano Amon said onstage at Computex this week. Under the theme of “the PC reborn,” Amon said the Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus processors powering Microsoft’s Copilot+ PC experiences are also upping their mobile game. In addition to improving AI experiences with “the world’s fastest and most efficient NPU for laptops,” the chips can deliver “up to multiple days of battery life,” unfettered those on the go from power outlets.

The initial wave of more than 20 Copilot+ PC models powered by Snapdragon X chips are available for pre-order now and will ship starting June 18. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined Amon in a video segment to tout the more than 20 Copilot+ PC form factors debuting with Snapdragon X that will deliver up to 45 TOPS (trillions of operations per second).

“Amon described the Snapdragon X Elite as ‘one of the most significant transitions in Windows,’ stating that he ‘personally believed it was as significant as the transition to Windows 95 [in the 1990s]’ and that the ‘the next generation PCs are here, now,’” according to Tom’s Hardware, which live-blogged in detail Amon’s keynote Sunday in Taipei.

Of particular interest for entertainment creators is Snapdragon X’s ability to run certain functions within the DaVinci Resolve editing program — which can be tremendously demanding on system resources — “4.7 times faster than a 14-core Intel CPU,” Microsoft Corporate VP for Windows+ Devices Pavan Davuluri said from the Qualcomm stage, per the Tom’s report. Functions within the Adobe Creative Cloud applications executed at similar speed, Davuluri explained.

In a slide, Amon showed how power-wise the performance per watt of the Snapdragon X Elite was 2.6 times greater than Apple’s M3 chip and 5.4 times better than Intel’s Core Ultra 7, said Tom’s. The specs are highlighted in Qualcomm’s Computex news release, emphasizing its NPU as a key performance differentiator for Copilot+.

“The machines from Microsoft’s Surface line — all based on Qualcomm chips — will offer more power and will be faster than Apple Inc.’s top-of-the-line MacBook Air, Microsoft said,” according to Bloomberg.

Manufacturers Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft and Samsung are incorporating Snapdragon X into their Copilot+ PC hardware.

Although Qualcomm has since at least 2007 supplied chips to desktop PC makers in a limited way, this big push could challenge the supply-side dynamic. Bloomberg says “the AI-based push may add new momentum to an effort that so far has failed to make a dent in Intel’s dominance in PCs,” noting that to do so “Qualcomm will have to capture consumer attention and deliver compatibility with all of the software and peripherals that PC users rely on.”

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