New PC upgrade to rival Apple could convince you to ditch Windows 10 for good

If you’re a Windows PC fan and are still using an older Windows 11 or even Windows 10 laptop and have been waiting for the perfect time to upgrade, that time could be just around the corner. US tech firm Qualcomm has just announced another laptop processor that it reckons will go toe to toe with Apple’s mighty M3 chipset – potentially giving new Windows laptops even better performance and battery life than the impressive MacBook Air.

Qualcomm has shown off its new Snapdragon X Plus chip to go alongside its higher-end Snapdragon X Elite chips. Recently, manufacturers of Windows computers such as Asus, Dell, and Lenovo have usually used processors from companies such as Intel and AMD – but Apple has beaten those competitors with its superb M-series chips that bring very good performance and ridiculously good battery life to laptops at about the £1,000 mark.

Windows fans are hoping the Snapdragon X Plus and X Elite will be able to finally match or better Apple. Qualcomm says the X Plus “will deliver exceptional performance, long battery life, and industry-leading on-device AI capabilities”, and that the chip delivers 37 percent faster performance “compared to competitors”.

“By delivering leading CPU performance, AI capabilities, and power efficiency, we are once again pushing the boundaries of what is possible in mobile computing,” said Kedar Kondap, senior vice president and general manager of compute and gaming at Qualcomm. The fact that Qualcomm is putting its neck on the line by claiming these things is hopefully a sure sign that they’ve succeeded – it would be a risky move to claim you’ve caught up with Apple’s laptop performance if that wasn’t truly the case.

The concentration on the AI smarts of laptops will continue to be a trend in 2024 – Microsoft has launched its Copilot AI chatbot assistant, which people can use like Siri or Google Assistant to perform tasks. But for more complex AI tasks through Copilot or in demanding programs such as Photoshop, the computer’s processor needs to be able to keep up.

Microsoft is set to end support for Windows 10 in October 2025 despite the fact it’s statistically the most used version of Windows by some distance still with 67 percent market share. Anyone still using Windows 10 by that point will have to upgrade their computer to Windows 11 (for free) if it’s compatible, fork out for a new laptop, or accept their PC is no longer fully supported with software updates.

Qualcomm had previously announced its X Elite processors, which we expect to be inside the most powerful next-generation Windows 11 laptops. One of the things they will have to be good at is what is known as emulation – that’s when modern laptops with newer chips have to translate games designed to run on other types of processor and then run them on the newer computer at full speed. This is a difficult thing to achieve without losing performance, but Qualcomm claims to have done it with X Elite.

Microsoft itself is reportedly thrilled with the X Elite processors and is said to believe these upcoming Windows PCs will be faster than the latest M3 MacBooks.

If you want to upgrade to one of these new machines then there’s not long to wait. Qualcomm says it expects its Windows laptop maker partners to release PCs with the new X chips from mid-2024, so we are mere weeks away from seeing if these new Windows 11 computers have what it takes to represent a true step forward for fans of non-Apple machines.

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