Qualcomm has formally begun detailing its next-generation Snapdragon 855 cellular platform at this yr’s Snapdragon Tech Summit. Introduced yesterday, Qualcomm’s latest cellular platform is predicted to be on the coronary heart of 2019’s most prolific flagship smartphones, and now we’re capable of get a glimpse of what the latest-and-greatest of Qualcomm’s designs has to supply. Right here’s what we all know up to now.
With the Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm is as soon as once more specializing in 5 core pillars: efficiency, AI, digital camera, leisure, and in fact, connectivity. Whereas Qualcomm has all the time been on the forefront of connectivity, particularly, it’s with the arrival of 5G that the corporate can absolutely capitalize on its current investments in harnessing mmWave frequency bands with the Snapdragon X50 Modem. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 can also be upgrading two more and more essential elements for modern-day smartphone experiences: the Hexagon DSP and Spectra ISP. The previous processes picture and sensor knowledge and aids in AI computations. The Spectra ISP, nevertheless, has enabled many Qualcomm-powered flagship units to remain on the bleeding fringe of cellular images, and this specific element is seeing one in every of its largest upgrades but, which we’re additional detailing in a separate article.
Lastly, there are the core enhancements in CPU and GPU efficiency, which Qualcomm has been steadily and respectably enhancing year-on-year. The Snapdragon 855 introduces the brand new Kryo 485 CPU cores based mostly on ARM’s newest core designs, in addition to the Adreno 640 GPU for best-in-class gaming efficiency, simply as we’ve come to anticipate given Qualcomm’s sustained benefit on this entrance. Manufactured with TSMC’s newest 7nm FinFET course of, we will anticipate efficiency and power-savings throughout all cellular workloads. These enhancements have led to a staggering 45% uplift in CPU efficiency and 20% increase to GPU speeds.
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|CPU||1 Kryo 485 ‘Prime’ (A76-based), as much as 2.84GHz
Three Kryo 485 (A76-based), up 2.42GHz
four Kryo 385 (A55-based), up 1.8GHz
45% Efficiency enchancment over earlier era*
|four Kryo 385 (A75-based), up 2.8GHz
four Kryo 385 (A55-based), up 1.8GHz
25% Efficiency enchancment over earlier era*
20% Efficiency enchancment over earlier era*
25% Efficiency enchancment over earlier era*
|Reminiscence||4x 16bit, 2133MHz LPDDR4X||4x 16-bit, 1866MHz LPDDR4X|
|ISP||Twin 14-bit Spectra 380 ISP
48MP Single Digital camera, 22MP Twin Digital camera
4K 60FPS HDR video with real-time object segmentation (portrait mode, background swap)
|Twin 14-bit Spectra 280 ISP
32MP Single Digital camera, 16MP Twin Digital camera
4K 60FPS HDR video
|Modem||Snapdragon X24 LTE
2000Mbps DL (Cat. 20), 316Mbps UL (Cat 20)
Snapdragon X50 (5G Modem)
5000 Mbps DL
|Snapdragon X20 LTE
1200Mbps DL (Cat. 18), 150Mbps UL (Cat 13).
|Manufacturing Course of||7nm (TSMC)||10nm LPP (Samsung)|
*Based mostly on figures offered by Qualcomm at respective time of launch.
Qualcomm Synthetic Intelligence Engine
- Qualcomm Hexagon 690 Processor
- Qualcomm Adreno 640 GPU
- Qualcomm Kryo 485 CPU
- Snapdragon X24 LTE modem LTE Class 20
- Snapdragon X50 5G modem (for 5G units)
- Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6-ready cellular platform: 802.11ax-ready, 802.11ac Wave 2, 802.11a/b/g/n.
- Qualcomm 60 GHz Wi-Fi cellular platform: 802.11ay, 802.11advert
- Bluetooth Model: 5.zero
- Bluetooth Velocity: 2 Mbps
- Excessive accuracy location with dual-frequency GNSS
Qualcomm Spectra 380 Picture Sign Processor
- Twin 14-bit CV-ISPs; 22MP @30 fps concurrent twin cameras; 48MP @ 30 fps single digital camera
- Hardware CV features together with object detection & monitoring (Histogram of Oriented Gradients, Harris Nook Detection, Normalized Cross Correlation, Linear classification and optical circulate) and stereo depth processing
- Superior HDR answer together with improved zzHDR and Three-exposure Quad Colour Filter Array (QCFA) HDR
- 4K60 HDR video seize (HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG) with Portrait Mode (bokeh), 10-bit colour depth and Rec. 2020 shade gamut
- Hardware-based Multi-Body Noise Discount (MFNR) for snapshot and Movement Compensated Temporal noise Filtering (MCTF) for video
- Hardware-based Digital Picture Stabilization (EIS) answer inside digital camera subsystem
- A brand new modular ISP design with extra flexibility to faucet in and out of the imaging pipeline each within the RAW and YUV pixel domains
- Excessive body fee seize for sluggish movement video (720p @ 480fps)
- HEIF photograph seize, HEVC (H.265) video seize
- Qualcomm Aqstic audio know-how
- Qualcomm aptX help, together with basic aptX, aptX HD and aptX adaptive
- Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus
Qualcomm Adreno Visible Subsystem
- Adreno 640 GPU
- Vulkan 1.1 API help
- HDR gaming (10-bit colour depth, rec 2020 colour gamut)
- Bodily Based mostly Rendering
- API Help: OpenGL ES Three.2, OpenCL 2.zero FP, Vulkan 1.1
- Most On-Gadget Show Help: As much as 4K HDR
- Most Exterior Show Help: As much as two 4K HDR shows
- Hardware-accelerated H.265 and VP9 decoder
- HDR Playback Codec help for HDR10+, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Imaginative and prescient
- Volumetric VR video playback
- 8K 360 VR video playback
Qualcomm Kryo 485 CPU
- One prime core clock velocity: As much as 2.84GHz
- Three efficiency cores clock velocity: As much as 2.42GHz
- 4 effectivity cores clock velocity: As much as 1.80GHz
- Structure: 64-bit
- 7nm Course of Know-how
Qualcomm Hexagon 690 Processor
- Safe Processing functionality
- Quad threaded Scalar Core
- 4 Qualcomm Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX)
- Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator
- Qualcomm Hexagon Voice Assistant
- Qualcomm All-Methods Conscious know-how
- Qualcomm Biometric Authentication Suite: Fingerprint, Qualcomm Iris Authentication, Voice, Face, Qualcomm Safe Processing Unit enabling cellular funds
- Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor
Qualcomm Fast Cost four+ Know-how
- Reminiscence Velocity: 2133MHz
- Reminiscence Sort: 4x16bit, LPDDR4x
Element & Function Breakdown
7nm Course of, Kryo 485 CPU & Adreno 640 GPU
The Snapdragon 855 is Qualcomm’s first 7nm FinFET chipset, releasing on the heels of the Kirin 980 and Apple A12, the primary commercially out there 7nm cellular platforms. This isn’t a shock, provided that Qualcomm historically opts for the cutting-edge course of measurement, and that the corporate confirmed that they had been sampling their 7nm Snapdragon flagship chipset. The transfer to 7nm allows elevated transistor density whereas delivering enhancements in efficiency and energy effectivity on the order of 20% and 40% respectively, although that’s in comparison with TSMC’s personal 10nm FinFET course of. As for the Snapdragon 855’s CPU efficiency, Qualcomm states we should always anticipate efficiency enhancements of as much as 45% over the Snapdragon 845, one of many largest year-on-year efficiency bumps the corporate has put forth in current historical past.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855’s octa-core CPU association can also be introducing the corporate’s Kryo 485 cores clocked at 2.42GHz for the efficiency cluster and 1.8GHz for the low-power cluster. On prime of that, and as rumors had instructed, the Snapdragon 855 is introducing a ‘prime’ cluster clocked as much as 2.84Ghz. The Kryo 485 is a semi-custom core design, delivered in live performance with the system structure whereas offering some quality-of-service optimizations. The Gold cores are based mostly on ARM’s Cortex-A76 structure, which promised efficiency enhancements of as much as 35% and a 40% power-efficiency increase, whereas the Silver cores are based mostly on the Cortex A55, as seen on the Snapdragon 845. The Constructed on ARM Cortex license ought to nonetheless be fairly limiting, however the outcomes have to be promising given the figures Qualcomm offered (and how such figures have coincided with efficiency up to now). Figuring out what these cores are based mostly on ought to give us a good suggestion of what to anticipate as nicely.
We additionally discovered concerning the new Adreno 640 GPU, and what Qualcomm calls the “Snapdragon Elite Gaming Experience”, a set of options and partnerships meant to enhance cellular gaming on Snapdragon units. The corporate’s new Adreno 640 GPU stays forward of the curve by providing a wholesome 20% efficiency enchancment over the Adreno 630 present in final yr’s Snapdragon 845. Whereas the Adreno line has provided prime efficiency for a lot of generations now, it’s additionally value noting that we will anticipate the Adreno 640 to proceed main efficiency per watt as properly. With 50% extra arithmetic logic models (ALU), the Adreno 640 ought to additional speed up efficiency in AI workloads.
Qualcomm acknowledges the growing reputation of cellular gaming, notably in areas like India and China, but in addition because of the arrival of acclaimed titles like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Due to this, the corporate is working intently with recreation engine builders in addition to recreation studios to ensure well-liked video games are optimized for Snapdragon units. Furthermore, Qualcomm and Unity wish to ease the transition to physically-based rendering (PBR) on cellular titles, bringing a brand new degree of realism to online game graphics. Lastly, whereas the Snapdragon 835 and Snapdragon 845 allowed playback and seize (respectively) of 10-bit, true HDR video, the Snapdragon 855 would be the first cellular chipset that permits for true HDR gaming. With the Snapdragon 675, Qualcomm launched a ‘custom algorithm’ that they claimed would scale back dropped frames in video games by as much as 90%—whereas we nonetheless don’t know far more about this function, the Snapdragon 855 will probably be implementing this as nicely. All of this coupled with Vulkan 1.1 help and the enhancements seen on the Kryo 485 ought to end in vital gaming efficiency enhancements.
Spectra 380 ISP-CV, Hexagon 690 DSP & 5G
The Spectra 380 ISP brings a number of the most essential enhancements to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, and the corporate is looking it the primary CV-ISP on cellular (CV standing for pc imaginative and prescient). In a media briefing, Qualcomm representatives defined that this ISP borrows from the compute models of the CPU, GPU, and DSP that assist pc imaginative and prescient duties and places them instantly on the module, to release cycles from different elements whereas growing efficiency and the quantity of obtainable horsepower. Because of the built-in, hardware-accelerated CV capabilities, the Spectra 380 can supply improved efficiency in object classification, object segmentation, and depth-sensing, whereas seeing energy financial savings of as much as 75%. Thanks to those developments, we will anticipate new options corresponding to bokeh video, in addition to the world’s first 4K HDR video seize with portrait mode or background swap, on prime of HDR10+ video seize. Images will see advantages from the improved object segmentation as nicely, enabling real-time background swaps and higher portrait mode photographs.
Whereas the corporate isn’t explicitly introducing a “neural processing unit,” AI workloads may also profit from the new-and-improved Hexagon 690 DSP, which doubled the variety of vector accelerators (HVX) from two to 4 to work in tandem with the 4 scalar threads. On prime of that, the Hexagon 690 brings the primary tensor accelerator for cellular with the Hexagon Tensor Accelerator (HTA). Enhancements to the DSP ought to translate into improved voice assistant efficiency from hotword detection to on-device command parsing, providing improved echo cancellation and noise suppression, for instance. Qualcomm stresses that they supply an entire heterogeneous compute platform that permits AI workload to faucet into both the CPU, GPU, or DSP, or any mixture of the three blocks. The “Qualcomm AI Engine” goes past hardware too, as we additionally discover help for the Snapdragon Neural Processing SDK and Hexagon NN to entry the aforementioned blocks, in addition to the Android NN API, and widespread ML frameworks corresponding to Caffe/Caffe 2, TensorFlow/Lite, and ONNX (Open Neural Community Change). To study extra concerning the Hexagon DSP, take a look at final yr’s piece detailing the way it helps with AI workloads.
Lastly, in relation to connectivity, the Snapdragon 855 is Qualcomm’s “Gigabit everything” chipset. The Snapdragon 855 packs the world’s first Wi-Fi6 11ax-ready cellular answer, with options like eight×eight sounding to serve extra units effectively, the newest safety with WPA3, and as much as 67% higher energy effectivity. What’s extra, it’s additionally 60Ghz Wi-Fi-capable, with the 802.11ay-based platform taking Wi-Fi speeds as much as 10Gbps in addition to even decrease latency. As anticipated from a brand new Qualcomm chipset, the Snapdragon 855 improved knowledge connection speeds of as much as 2Gbps Cat 20 LTE with the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem. The Snapdragon X24 modem thus delivers twice the height obtain velocity of the previous-generation LTE modem by way of four×four MIMO on 5 aggregated LTE carriers and offers help of Cat 20 add speeds of as much as 316 Mbps. On prime of that, OEMs will be capable of additionally go for the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, with help for sub-6GHz and mmWave frequency bands, for as much as 5Gbps obtain speeds with unprecedented latency. Qualcomm claims that within the mmWave frequency band, customers can anticipate as much as 20x quicker common efficiency in comparison with present business options. In fact, the latter won’t make a lot of an impression on the time of launch given the speed of deployment of 5G networks. Verizon has had a restricted rollout of 5G throughout 4 cities (with restricted obtain speeds of about 300Mbps), for instance, however the world at giant should wait a bit longer to make use of those connectivity enhancements. To study extra concerning the plans for 5G deployment in 2019, take a look at our piece from yesterday.
As regular, you possibly can anticipate the Snapdragon 855 to be featured in 2019’s most prolific units—particularly given Qualcomm’s benefit in 5G connectivity, and a number of OEMs having teased or introduced 5G-enabled units for subsequent yr. The 2018 Snapdragon Tech Summit is way from over, and there’s nonetheless much more to study concerning the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. Take a look at our extra in-depth article on the newest modifications to the Snapdragon 855 right here. For extra info, keep tuned to XDA-Builders, as we’ll have much more Snapdragon 855 information and content material all through the week.