Qualcomm CEO on Oryon CPU performance: ‘There’s a new sheriff in town” 

The Oryon CPU is part of the Snapdragon X Elite SoC which is positioned to make Qualcomm an even more major player in the PC category

Editor’s note: Qualcomm provided travel, lodging and other accommodations associated with Snapdragon Summit. 

HAWAII–Former Apple CPU architect and ARM fellow Gerard Williams co-founded CPU specialist Nuvia in early 2019. The company quickly raised around $300 million over two funding rounds then, in early 2021, Qualcomm announced it would acquire the firm, a $1.4 billion deal completed in March 2021. Fast forward to today at the Snapdragon Summit in Maui and Williams is a Qualcomm SVP, and he joined CEO Cristiano Amon onstage to showcase benchmarking that shows the Oryon CPU, part of the Snapdragon X Elite SoC, more power efficiently outperforms high-end CPUs from Apple and Intel. 

The message from Amon was clear: “There’s a new sheriff in town,” he said. This is part of a larger story around Qualcomm’s generative AI play which we’ll cover in detail in further coverage but, as it relates to Snapdragon X Elite, Qualcomm showcased single- and multi-thread performance that beat Apple’s M2 Max and Intel’s i9-3980hx, with significantly better power efficiency. 

It was lost on absolutely no one in attendance at Snapdragon Summit that Apple, in what seemed atypical, announced a “scary fast” product event set for Oct. 30. The knee-jerk interpretation is that Apple will announce share details around its M3 chip. Also of note, yesterday Reuters broke the news that NVIDIA and AMD are working on Arm-based PC chips.

Amon said Oryon, which the company will bring to products beyond PC in the coming year, is the leader in mobile computing “period,” and has exceeded the company’s own expectations. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.” 

Snapdragon X Elite is built on a 4-nanometer process and features 12 cores with a 3.8 GHz clock speed; there’s a dual core boost capability that drives that up to 4.3 GHz. The integrated Adreno GPU sports 4.6 TFLOPS with support for triple UHD or dual 5K external display support. 

Qualcomm SVP and GM of Compute and Gaming Kedar Kondap said the new SoC “represents a dramatic leap in innovation for computing…that will delight customers with incredible power efficiency and take their creativity and productivity to the next level. Powerful on-device AI experiences will enable seamless multitasking and new intuitive user experiences, empowering consumers and businesses alike to create and accomplish more.” 

Click here for a full rundown on Snapdragon X Elite features and specifications. 

In terms of commercial outlook, expect products featuring the newest SoC in mid-2024. Partners highlighted at Snapdragon Summit were Microsoft, HP and Lenovo. Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Windows and Devices Pavan Davaluri took the stage in Maui to talk up the company’s ongoing collaboration that “has only become stronger over the years…As we look forward to the future with Snapdragon X Elite and Windows 11, we will deliver faster and better performance, and emulation will get more efficient.” 

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