Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC for flagship Android phones

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

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At its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit on Wednesday, Qualcomm unveiled Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. It is Qualcomm’s new 5G mobile platform for next-generation flagship Android phones. The new SoC claims to be up to 4 times faster in faster AI performance than Snapdragon 888 SoC. It also boasts 25% more power efficiency and 30% faster graphics rendering than its predecessor.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 comes with a new trio of Armv9 Cortex CPU cores from Arm and a whole new next-generation Adreno GPU. It also features an upgraded Hexagon NPU/DSP, integrated X65 5G modem, and is manufactured on a newer Samsung 4nm process node.

Qualcomm continues to use a 1+3+4 core count. This is the first chip featuring the new Armv9 generation of CPU IPs from Arm and includes Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-A510 in a big, middle, and little setup. The Cortex-X2 core is clocked at 3.0GHz. X2 core is configured with 1MB of L2 cache and the three Cortex-X710 cores have 512KB cache with each. The four Cortex-A510 cores are clocked at 1.8GHz.

For GPU, Qualcomm didn’t specify any model number but confirmed architectural changes to improve performance. Qualcomm boasts an impressive 30% performance in grains rendering and 25% power saving. It also claims up to 60% performance gains when using Vulkan API. There is also a new Adreno Frame Motion engine that can double the frame rate without using any additional power. The new GPU also supports “desktop-level” volumetric rendering for fancier graphics.

The ISP layout is the same as in last year’s SoC but it has been upgraded from a 14-bit to 18-bit imaging pipeline and supports 18-bit RAW image output. This setup supports 108MP images with zero shutter lag or pair three 36MP cameras for 30fps capture with zero shutter lag. There is also a dedicated bokeh engine to apply soft blur to 4K video.

It includes Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E support onboard. The SoC also integrates Snapdragon x65 5G modem that boasts theoretically faster download speeds of 10Gbps on mmWave networks.

SoCSnapdragon 8 Gen 1Snapdragon 888
CPU1x Cortex-X2
3.0GHz 1x1024KB pL2

3x Cortex-A710
2.5GHz 3x512KB pL2

4x Cortex-A510
@ 1.80GHz 2x??KB sL2

6MB sL3
1x Cortex-X1
@ 2.84GHz 1x1024KB pL2

3x Cortex-A78
@ 2.42GHz 3x512KB pL2

4x Cortex-A55
@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

4MB sL3
GPUAdreno next-genAdreno 660 @ 840MHz
DSP / NPUHexagonHexagon 780

26 TOPS AI
(Total CPU+GPU+HVX+Tensor)
Memory
Controller
4x 16-bit CH

@ 3200MHz LPDDR5  /  51.2GB/s

4MB system level cache
4x 16-bit CH

@ 3200MHz LPDDR5  /  51.2GB/s

4MB system level cache
ISP/CameraTriple 18-bit Spectra ISP

1x 200MP or 108MP with ZSL
or
64+36MP with ZSL
or
3x 36MP with ZSL

8K HDR video & 64MP burst capture
Triple 14-bit Spectra 580 ISP

1x 200MP or 84MP with ZSL
or
64+25MP with ZSL
or
3x 28MP with ZSL

4K video & 64MP burst capture
Encode/
Decode
8K30 / 4K120 10-bit H.265

Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

720p960 infinite recording
8K30 / 4K120 10-bit H.265

Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

720p960 infinite recording
Integrated ModemX65 integrated

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)
DL = 10000 Mbps
UL = 3000 Mbps
X60 integrated

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)
DL = 7500 Mbps
UL = 3000 Mbps
Manufacturing ProcessSamsung
4nm (unspecified)
Samsung
5nm (5LPE)

Qualcomm has confirmed that its new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will be used by several smartphone vendors including Black Shark, Honor, iQoo, Motorola, Nubia, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Redmi, Sharp, Sony, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE. Smartphones powered by this new SoC are expected to be announced before the end of 2021.

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