Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite dares to game, reaching 30 FPS in Baldur's Gate 3

The bare minimum performance, but suggests a beefy integrated GPU

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite has some gaming and graphics prowess as seen in a demo where a reference laptop was shown to be running Baldur's Gate 3 at 1080p resolution and around 30 frames per second.

The demo showed Qualcomm's typical Snapdragon X Elite reference laptop with 32GB of DDR5 running the critically acclaimed roleplaying game. According to the X user who filmed the demo and shared it, Baldur's Gate 3 was running at 1080p with a framerate "hovering around 30 FPS." For reference, 30 frames per second is generally considered to be the minimum playable framerate for games.

Baldur's Gate 3 released in August 2023 and, as one of the latest AAA games, naturally demands a substantial amount of computing prowess to run well. Like most PC games, there are a variety of graphics options to choose from to give users a way to find their preferred balance between graphical fidelity and performance. For lower-end hardware, running at close to minimum settings is sometimes a necessity.

It's not clear what settings the Snapdragon X Elite was using to achieve a steady 30 frames per second at 1080p. For its part, Asus recommends a spread of settings ranging from "Low" to "Ultra" to achieve 45 to 60 frames per second on its ROG Ally handheld, powered by AMD's Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU. These settings include enabling FidelityFX Resolution, which essentially drops the resolution close to 720p.

It may be the case that the Snapdragon X Elite was running the game at 30 frames per second simply because that's all it was capable of, or perhaps the graphics settings were tuned to achieve the highest quality without dipping below 30 frames per second. It's also not clear if 1080p means real 1080p, or a lower resolution upscaled. We've asked Qualcomm for clarification about what graphics settings the demo used.

Beyond the performance implications of the demo, the fact that Qualcomm's ARM-based chip was running Baldur's Gate 3 at all is telling. The game has an official macOS port compatible with ARM-based M processors, but the official Windows version of Baldur's Gate 3 is only for x86-based processors from Intel and AMD.

Either Qualcomm was able to obtain an unreleased Windows on ARM version of Baldur's Gate 3 from its developer, Larian Studios, or it was running on an x86-to-ARM translation layer. Using translation software wouldn't be out of the question as Baldur's Gate 3 apparently runs just fine on Apple M chips using Rosetta 2. We've asked Qualcomm about this as well.

While gaming is not a central focus for the Snapdragon X Elite, the demo makes it clear that playing the latest AAA games isn't out of the question. Still, this is just a single game, and the vast majority of titles don't have an official ARM version, and that's not going to change in the few months between now and the launch of Qualcomm's new chip. The Snapdragon X Elite and wider Windows on ARM ecosystem might end up exactly where Apple is when it comes to gaming – usually terrible, but sometimes surprisingly good.

Even if the Snapdragon X Elite isn't suitable for gaming, the Baldur's Gate 3 demo at least implies the integrated GPU is fairly powerful. GPUs can be used for more than just gaming, and having one more powerful than necessary isn't a bad problem to have. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like