Home Computing Microsoft Build Showed What Laptops With Qualcomm’s AI PC Chip Can Do

Microsoft Build Showed What Laptops With Qualcomm’s AI PC Chip Can Do

Qualcomm unveiled its next PC chip last October, the Snapdragon X Elite, as an alternative to Intel and AMD silicon that would rival Apple’s M-series in performance and battery life. At Microsoft Build, we saw the first wave of PCs using those chips announced — and what kinds of AI features Microsoft wants them to empower. 

Microsoft rebranded its AI PCs as Copilot Plus PCs after its Copilot generative AI software assistant, the first of which are variants of the Surface Laptop 6 and Surface Pro powered by Snapdragon X Elite as well as the newly announced and Snapdragon X Plus chip (for lower priced devices). Acer, HP, Lenovo and Samsung unveiled laptops that will also use Qualcomm’s PC chips, which will start to be available on June 18.

Microsoft is hedging its bets, with some versions of the Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6 that come with Intel Core Ultra chips. Regardless of which silicon is used, Microsoft is requiring all Copilot PCs to run at least 40 trillion operations per second neural processing units, the industry’s current metric for AI computation performance, and some of the laptops using Qualcomm’s chips pushed 45 trillion operations per second. Copilot PCs must also pack at least 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. 

With Qualcomm’s chips, Microsoft says its Surface Pro laptop is 90% faster than the Surface Pro 9 and the Snapdragon X-series’ integrated NPU “delivers almost 20% more TOPS for AI processing than the Apple iPad Pro M4,” according to Microsoft’s press release

Watch this: Everything Announced at Microsoft Copilot and Surface Event

Back in October, Qualcomm claimed its X Elite chip could reach 75 TOPS in bursts with sustained calculations at 45 TOPS, so these performance metrics are in line with expectations.

Power efficiency was another part of Qualcomm’s initial pitch for its X-series chips, though the company had been coy about how long of battery life we could expect from PCs using its silicon, since that could vary with different manufacturers and configurations. 

But now that the initial first- and third-party Copilot PC lineup has been announced with broad specs, we have a better idea of estimated battery life with Qualcomm’s PC chips: 17 hours with the Microsoft Surface Pro and 18 hours with the ASUS Vivobook S 15, up to 22 hours for the Microsoft Surface Laptop and Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge, up to 26 hours for the HP OmniBook X AI PC/HP EliteBook Ultra AI PC and 27 hours for the Dell XPS 13 and up to 31 hours for the Lenovo ThinkPad T13S Gen 6. 

For battery, the Snapdragon X-series laptops are around or beyond the battery capabilities of the latest MacBook Pro with an M3 chip released toward the end of last year — which lasted around 18 hours in our testing. (Apple gives a 15- to 22-hour battery life depending on activity.)

But performance is another factor in the Snapdragon X-series versus Apple M3 and M4 rivalry that we won’t be sure of until we can benchmark all those Windows 11 laptops. At Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm claimed its new chips would outperform Apple, though the company had only data on the then-latest M2 chips on hand when it was drawing up comparison charts. 

Watch this: Microsoft Surface Pro 10, Surface Laptop 6 Are Here

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