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What is the Oryon CPU? The future of Snapdragon explained

At the Snapdragon Summit 2023, Qualcomm finally revealed its attempt at taking on the Apple M-series. The Snapdragon X Elite was revealed and it’s powered by the Oryon CPU. It’s also set to come to mobile phones in the future too. But, just what is it?

Apple has led the way in performance and efficiency on laptops ever since the M1 chip launched. In response, the Windows laptop world has continued to tinker with Arm chips but nothing has stuck.

The Snapdragon X Elite system-on-a-chip (SoC) aims to change all that, with the Oryon CPU at its compute processing core. Here’s all the key details.

What is the Oryon CPU?

The Oryon CPU is the compute element of the Snapdragon X Elite SoC. It is a custom Arm CPU initially created by a company called Nuvia, which Qualcomm acquired in 2021, before being fully realised as the new Qualcomm Oryon.

Snapdragon X Elite specs
Image Credit (Qualcomm)

Qualcomm initially announced the Oryon CPU in November 2022 at its Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, before revealing its first appearance on a consumer product at the same event this year (2023) — that being the Snapdragon X Elite.

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Qualcomm has touted the Oryon CPU as being at “the centre of next-generation premium experiences on Snapdragon platforms”, with it also revealing that its next flagship mobile SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, will utilise it as well.

Snapdragon X Elite Intel comparison
Image Credit (Qualcomm)

The 4nm Oryon CPU inside the Snapdragon X Elite chip is touted by Qualcomm as offering “up to 2x faster CPU” performance when compared with x86 chips. It also states the Snapdragon X Elite can match “peak PC performance at 68% less power.” Up against its key competitor, Apple, it is said to offer “50% faster peak multi-threaded performance vs M2.”

Snapdragon X Elite Intel comparison
Image Credit (Qualcomm)

Unlike many Arm chips, including Apple’s, the Snapdragon X Elite does not use a mix of performance and efficiency cores. Instead, using 12 Oryon CPU high-performance cores that all offer up to 3.8GHz (4.3GHz with Dual-core boost) processing speeds.

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