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Lenovo ThinkPad X13s review: Qualcomm still has a lot of work to do

Lenovo ThinkPad X13s review: Qualcomm still has a lot of work to do
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s review: Qualcomm still has a lot of work to do
As the first manufacturer, Lenovo has introduced a laptop with the current Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 to the market. While this laptop processor represents significant progress compared to its predecessors, in order to catch up with Intel, AMD, and Apple, Qualcomm still has to make a lot of improvements.

For a long time, Microsoft has been trying to place Windows in combination with ARM in the market, but this hasn't really worked well until now.

The first attempt, Windows RT in the Windows 8 era, failed because Windows RT wasn't able to run any regular Win32 applications. With Windows 10, Microsoft introduced Win32 emulation, but only for 32-Bit applications. It is only since Windows 11, that 64-Bit applications can also be emulated, even if it still isn't all of them.

However, the software is only one of the problems - another lies in the hardware. The previous ARM CPUs in Windows laptops have all been very energy efficient, but also extremely weak compared to Intel and AMD processors and also the Apple M CPUs. Without a suitably fast processor, the platform will probably never achieve its breakthrough.

Qualcomm has already made several attempts, and the newest is called Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. Qualcomm promises the performance of an Intel Core i5 processor of the Tiger Lake generation. Even through the performance is significantly better than that of the older 8cx CPUs, Qualcomm is still unable to completely fulfill its promise:

Cinebench R20
CPU (Single Core)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XW0089GE
Iris Xe G7 80EUs, i5-1135G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ
522 Points ∼100% +135%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga G1 20QB0016GE
Iris Xe G7 80EUs, i5-1140G7, Lenovo UMIS RPJTJ256MEE1OWX
438 Points ∼84% +97%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 21BX000QGE
Adreno 690, SD 8cx Gen 3, Lenovo UMIS AM630 RPJTJ512MGE1QDQ
222 Points ∼43%
CPU (Multi Core)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XW0089GE
Iris Xe G7 80EUs, i5-1135G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ
2026 Points ∼100% +150%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga G1 20QB0016GE
Iris Xe G7 80EUs, i5-1140G7, Lenovo UMIS RPJTJ256MEE1OWX
1126 Points ∼56% +39%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 21BX000QGE
Adreno 690, SD 8cx Gen 3, Lenovo UMIS AM630 RPJTJ512MGE1QDQ
810 Points ∼40%
Cinebench R23
Single Core
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XW0089GE
Iris Xe G7 80EUs, i5-1135G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ
1354 Points ∼100% +126%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga G1 20QB0016GE
Iris Xe G7 80EUs, i5-1140G7, Lenovo UMIS RPJTJ256MEE1OWX
1246 Points ∼92% +108%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 21BX000QGE
Adreno 690, SD 8cx Gen 3, Lenovo UMIS AM630 RPJTJ512MGE1QDQ
598 Points ∼44%
Multi Core
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon G9-20XW0089GE
Iris Xe G7 80EUs, i5-1135G7, Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ
5402 Points ∼100% +53%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 21BX000QGE
Adreno 690, SD 8cx Gen 3, Lenovo UMIS AM630 RPJTJ512MGE1QDQ
3534 Points ∼65%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga G1 20QB0016GE
Iris Xe G7 80EUs, i5-1140G7, Lenovo UMIS RPJTJ256MEE1OWX
2611 Points ∼48% -26%

As we found out in our detailed test of the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s, the first laptop with the newest Snapdragon generation, the performance of the Qualcomm chips is still lower than that of the Tiger Lake CPUs. Of course, we also have to admit that the emulation takes some of the performance. In addition, at least compared to the UP4 series from Tiger Lake, things look slightly better in the Cinebench R23 benchmark. Here, the load lasts slightly longer, and the throttling to a lower TDP leads to the Tiger Lake chip in the ThinkPad X1 Titanium losing some of its performance.

Power Consumption - Cinebench R23 Multi Power Efficiency - external Monitor
Apple MacBook Air M2 Entry
M2 8-Core GPU, M2, Apple SSD AP0256Z
343 Points per Watt ∼100% +144%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14 G3-21CF004NGE
Radeon 680M, R7 PRO 6850U, Kioxia BG5 KBG5AZNV512G
240 Points per Watt ∼70% +70%
Dell Inspiron 14 7420 2-in-1
Iris Xe G7 96EUs, i7-1255U, WDC PC SN530 SDBPMPZ-512G
178.8 Points per Watt ∼52% +27%
Lenovo ThinkPad X13s Gen 1 21BX000QGE
Adreno 690, SD 8cx Gen 3, Lenovo UMIS AM630 RPJTJ512MGE1QDQ
140.8 Points per Watt ∼41%

However, the comparison to the current processor generation also shows how much work Qualcomm still has to do: The Snapdragon still continues to place last, behind Intel, AMD, and Apple.

But at least we can say that the competitors aren't completely out of reach anymore. Perhaps the eagerly awaited Nuvia chips could actually bring the breakthrough for the Windows on ARM platform that has been due for many years.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 10 > Lenovo ThinkPad X13s review: Qualcomm still has a lot of work to do
Benjamin Herzig, 2022-10-31 (Update: 2022-10-29)