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Computex 2024 - Qualcomm Goes Big Computers

Will Qualcomm's new endeavors change the world by pivoting computing from x86 to ARM?

Qualcomm has been with us since the dawn of mobile computing, and remains so at the forefront of new, emerging mobile technologies. With AI overtaking conversations as we've seen with Nvidia and AMD, Qualcomm has managed to keep itself in the conversation with their Snapdragon X Elite processors.


It's Copilot, Again

It's evident, even at the start, that today's presentation, presented by CEO Cristiano Amon, will be very much about Microsoft's Copilot+, and how the Snapdragon X Elite will help power the next generation of computers.

It's quite the pivot, as for the longest time, with the exception of Apple, it has always been running on the x86 architecture; but this new little chip is asking the world to swap it to ARM, much like what we're running on our phones. With that, Qualcomm is now the 3rd player in desktop/laptop CPUs.


The NPU

What Qualcomm is promising for their new Snapdragon X Elite, compared to everyone else at this moment, is power-efficient, high-performing computers. The benchmark that they have shown us promised a significantly faster product while significantly cooler than their competition. To be fair a lot of these are within our expectations, as the underlying technology, ARM, is significantly more efficient than x86.

Cristiano has also invited several laptop manufacturers like Asus, Acer, HP, Dell and even Samsung (who might bring GalaxyAI to their laptops) to share the new upcoming AI-enabled devices, along with new features unlocked by the NPUs.


The x86 Transition

One of the important discussions is how our typical apps would translate to Snapdragon X Elite, which uses a fundamentally different architecture compared to what most laptops and applications are designed for. Cristiano alleviated our concerns, at least for productivity apps, confirming that key applications that we all drive daily will be made available to run on ARM natively. Besides productivity, Qualcomm is also working with game publishers to get Snapdragon X Elite on PC gaming as well.

Will Qualcomm's new endeavours change the world by pivoting computing from x86 to ARM? Only time will tell.

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