Anyone watching humbug around Snapdragon Plus/Elite launch?

TLDR: Qualcomms Snapdragon X launch seems like a hot mess driven hype+influencer massage, QC and MS marketing lied way more than usual about platform performance and efficiency and pricing is insane given benchmarks. On device copilot functionality is also limited, useless or heavily restricted.

I am guessing everyone and anyone has noticed marketing massage around Microsoft Copilot enabled pcs and microsoft recall.

While recall was recalled (hehehe) due to massive security lapses on Microsoft part, it was supposed to be enabled only on arm copilot capable pcs initially – Qualcomm snapdragon X plus/elite lineup.
X86 platforms with NPU were to receive copilot+ directionality after exclusivity period only (wtf?).

These cpus were meant to be to windows pc market what apple m1 was to apple => we were supposed to get both better performance and power efficiency at the same power draw as current x86 cpus.

I don’t know about you, but I was very excited about serious arm cpu being made available. Possibility of having something close to at least M2 cpu without the insane price tag and restrictions is very appealing.

As initial sponsored and independent reviews started coming in, thighs started getting confusing, then concerning:

  • Qualcomm marketing really presented these chips as massive breakthrough performance wise. Some insane claims for laughs:
    • 12/23 “Snapdragon X Elite is 23% faster than apple M3”
      • turn out its true, but only in geekbench and it does not take into account power draw and is not indicative real world performance
      • first real world comparison test are mixed bag, nicely summarized from one poster as:

      It loses in single-core benchmark (2418 vs 3082)
      It wins in multi-core (14352 vs 12087) and transcode (6:50 vs 7:19) while requiring 4 more cores (12 vs 8 (4+4)) and active cooling

  • 04/24 snapdragon is turn key mobile gaming platform
    * performance is disappointing vs modern integrated graphics like ryzen ( from half to quarter effective fps) and compatibility issues galore. Power consumption is also comparatively tragic (ref. here)
    • NPU performance is relative wash vs cheapest mobile nvidia card and given lack of useful workload and ms imposed restrictions, why do we even bother?
  • serious and in depth reviews were not available at launch, only skin deep insight from various YouTube personas (unusual level of prelaunch marketing control, or damage control?)
    • normally solid reviewers like notebookcheck.net put out review that was very unlike their usual level of rigor and details
  • a lot of reviews did weird shit in name testing “fairness”, like benchmarking only arm compiled binaries, or mixing arm benchmark results with x86. These measures generally improve bench result in arm favor.
    • legacy and lot of business apps on windows will not get new arm builds, so this makes performance testing unrealistic vs real world use case scenario
    • this also muddles critical point of perf and efficiency impact of x86=>arm sw+hw translation layer and skews benchmark result in arm favor
      • early scuttlebutt hints that running x86 binary lower performance more than on macos and wipes out efficiency gains entirely.
    • later reviews and hand-on commentary pointed out arm translation issues, outright failures to run with a lot of common software
    • NTBcheck measured power draw with external monitor attached, which is reaaaly weird benchmark methodology
  • measurement of performance and power efficiency were weirdly inconsistent
    • ST benchmark like cinebench ST was on par perf wise (-4% ;+11%) vs. latest mobile ryzen (8845HS), but efficiency was about +105%-+180% percent better
      • arm binary assumed, little explicit details or its conflicting/confusing data
    • MT benchmark like cinebench MT however lost efficiency gains and was generally on only slightly more efficient while being slightly ahead perf wise ( perf (-4%;+24%) eff. (+5%;+14%)
    • Non-cinebench benchmarks were not analyzed from power efficiency standpoint, intentional?
  • pricing of arm copilot+ devices is comparatively high, on par with macbooks if we ignore apple RAM tax.
    • which begs a question, why would you buy arm notebook for double-triple the price of x86 equivalent, that performs at best +10-20% better and offers similar battery life?
  • linux support is currently non-existent, but work in progress. These devices require customized install images with device tress per target device, very similar to how android images are built.
    • so unfortunately no, it isn’t just question of having recent enough kernel that has necessary drivers, you need image customized to target device. I thought they would finally support normal acpi.
  • real world use testing then shows, that surface pro copilot pro loses in real world battery runtime test vs Dell Latitude 9450 2-in-1 by about 10% after normalizing for larger battery.
    • so modern x86 platform outlast and outperforms arm one, and you do not have to deal with binary translation and compatibility. That should not happen
    • older platform are however left in dust, so there is potential, given that translation does not tank the battery runtime (in case of my 6yer old dell 9575 2-in-one and vs. surface copilot you should get +50%-100% battery battery life when normalized over battery size)

If you want to have laugh then cry, exclusive copilot features on windows seem to be gimmicks or crippled by forced online connectivity requirement so far.

Yup, if you want to generate image in paint, Microsoft must see what what you are doing, in case you trying to generate something illegal, locally on your computer.

Makes perfect sense and does it remind you of something? Like planned Apple CSAM filters and forced uploads of you private data for scanning ?

And this:

EDIT: Excellent reddit quote summarizing the situation:

So basically these things are great if you do everything through a browser anyway. Which, if you do, great, that’s your workflow.
But then… why do you need Windows at all?

EDIT2: Qualcomm is also in hot water with arm holding, due to how it appropriated a the re-targeted product line. Licensing fees for original use case scenarios (server) are lower or were lower than arm wants them to be now,

So Arm holdings want all snapdragon elite X products destroyed and complete renegotiation of due license fees.

Details here:

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I am enjoying the show without any horse in the race, I guess?

I am one step away from only booting windows for Affinity-Suite, ARM I do not care about at all, Artificial Ineptitude running on corpo-cloud can F off.

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I just slightly salty, because I had to high hopes for this release and not enough time continuously monitor media and notice warning signs.

Might be still interesting gadget if I can run linux on it, but that is no-go currently. Windows on arm is definitely bringing potential down and so is binary translation layer.

Those are non-issue on linux, and those few thing that are I can compile myself.

Also if someone loudly proclaims that x86 will rendered obsolete by their new product, I get excited to confirm or dissect those claims.
Or that they have product that is peer or superiour to M3. What a shame.

Will buy if decent config is discounted to something sane, like 1000-1500€ tops, but i dont thinks its realistic. Entry level with piddly 16 GB ram is 1400€ now and 32GB models from HP/Lenovo are 1500/2300€ respectively.

:slight_smile:

TLDR: Wait 5-12 months and revisit once lunar lake and strix point are generally available. Maybe even M4. Shitshow right now.

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I was excited for a midrange ARM device that wasn’t Apple, since the alternatives are either raspberry pi-level or the ampere altras that live in Epyc’s space. But Windows has become less and less relevant for my life as they keep making their wackier and wackier choices, and if the device is only good for a browser I’ve got plenty of x86 devices already in the stable that can do that, and chromebooks exist already should those die (and can be put on coreboot + install linux normally). So… at least for now, no, but odds are even in a few years when they turn up used after warranty expires it’s still no.

This was the absolute killer for me, as well. That’s Apple pricing, but for even less functionality.

Overall, I think if the marketing departments at Qualcomm and Microsoft did not over promise performance, make comparisons to Apple, and cram AI into the launch, there wouldn’t be as much backlash. The situation of overpromising and underdeliver is very similar to DC’s attempt to catch up to the MCU.

@wendell did a video on the launch from a developer/game developer view. The L1 site is down so I don’t see thread started for this video

There was some discussion in the lounge, I posted my thoughts in a reply.

Outside of developer support the compatibility looks similar to Intel Arc, some hiccups, but hopefully fixable with updates. Based on LTT’s gaming on ARM live stream

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Enjoying my Lenovo yoga slim 7x with x elite 78. Came from M1 MBA. I’m not a power user and don’t game on it. Screen is beautiful, battery life is much better than my previous AMD OLED windows laptop, on par with m1. Really like the keyboard

It’s not for gaming and if you have specific creative workflows using specific software than need to check but for me it’s perfect for productivity, web and streaming. Best windows laptop I’ve owned.

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Just saw surface laptop copilot+ in person and those machines were really nice when compared to similarly priced notebooks.

Specs were above average (16GB ram only,256 GB storage) , but build quality, display etc. were level above everything at 1200€ level.

Might give it a shot if linux support happens and 32 GB version will be reasonably priced.

I just need browser, web version of m365+teams and docker to run for work. Vpn might be problematic if I stay on windows, which is not likely.

@wendell really nice overview on the issue, though a strongly disagree with z-level youtuber there You are selling yourself way too low.

I wouldn’t just say recent ( W8+) experience is just schizophrenic, its also increasingly, openly and utterly shamelessly user hostile.

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I was just sitting here making popcorn. It was kinda obvious that if you join the somewhat organic hype surrounding the ARM ISA and corp marketing, this thing will not leave up to it, even if Qualcomm wasn’t overselling the SoC more than Intel or AMD do.

If you have a feature-complete ISA, it is largely irrelevant. We could have had ARM Ryzens back in 2018, but AMD didn’t see the market. It would’ve been the same Zen SoCs that launched in 2017, but with an ARM frontend.

Hell, if you look at the block diagram of a modern CPU core, it’s obvious how little influence the ISA actually has.

So… yeah. Overhyped, from multiple angles, coupled with borderline scam marketing. Nothing to it but make popcorn.

Unless ARM (or rather, Softbank) changes it’s stance on architectural licenses, I highly doubt we’ll see anything truly good outside Apple. Maybe Qualcomm, but I’ll be surprised if the lean mean core machine from Nuvia wasn’t creaking under the pressures of corp life.

So yes, I’m here sitting all smug, because it’s nowhere near the hype, much as I expected.

Give them a year or two more, on both software and hardware sides, and it might actually be hardware good enough to use as a software developer. Assuming shareholders don’t force Qualcomm to cut their losses.

2015 called :wink:

Yeah, it went nowhere.

This thread reeks of x86 CISC reactionaries…

Joking. Joking!

Meh I think those were obvious productivity machines from the start. The kinds that is supposed to run Excel and a browser. The hardware is okay within expectations.

I’m saving my popcorn for the spectacle of watching Microsoft trying to pull an Apple. The whole thing already was a mess considering the vendors are doing what they want with power and performance optimizations, motherboard variants and whatnot.

I’d seriously want one if they ever release a finless mini-pc form factor with USB-4 or Thunderbolt and Linux support is somewhat there. Or I can just buy an M1 and run the Asahi kernel and wait for TB support (Soon!™).

Well I withdraw what I said about pricing being reasonable. I had bit a look- a-see around what available. The slickness of nice and big 3:2 oled screen clouded my judgement.

While those surface copilot+ exude the pleasing “knockoff apple” vibe for ~~1200€+, there are hp zbooks (enteprise grade, high end) with massively better config for smidgen more.

And you don’t have to pay for windows oem tax, they come with freedos :slight_smile: if you want.

A) Microsoft Surface Laptop|Copilot+ PC @ 1451€

  • 10 core snapdragon X cpu
  • 16 GB soldered ram
  • 512 GB nvme storage
  • Exotic os (windows on arm), no possiblity of linux install yet
  • mandatory purchase of windows oem license

B) HP ZBook Firefly 14 G11 @ 1392€

  • 8 core Ryzen 7 8840HS with 780M graphics (double performance for slightly lower battery runtime)
  • 64 GB DDR5 ram (!!)
  • 1 TB storage
  • freedos ( i.e instant 70-150€ savings if you dont use windows)

Now I didn’t go for the cheapest, but for the cheapest in the good category. And its still mindblowingly bad pricing.
Not bad as macbook, but there aint no premium in qualcomm yet to warrant this kind of pricing.

As much as I like to hate on HP’s laptop keyboards, the Ff14 is a nice machine :smiley:
Does not even look like you are special to the average bystander.

I’m sure you can find some Apple stickers if you have a friend with iPhone and fix that right up :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Wait, people give a shit how computer looks? This is not a beauty contest ffs.

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Ofc, people do especially for notebooks. Less common for desktops. But still you are not hardline watercooling for performance.

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Hey, I do hardcore diy watercooling for performance. In black steel case even, no glass here no sir.

Seriously these “it must look good” types are something I do not understand.

Do you not see the simple beauty in this ? Functionality over form, always.

:slight_smile:

People in offices WILL pick ANY fight they can cook up, it is like kindergarten…

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I am elated, not because it’s going horribly, but because maybe, MAYBE, the masses will stop listening to marketing bullshit and wise up. I doubt it greatly, but I hope I’m wrong.

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What reality do you live in? Please transport me there.

Its lonely place full of disappointment you do not want to immigrate.

But if you avoid gamer bullshit you are halfway there.

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