Qualcomm Supercharges Its Flagship Snapdragon Processor And Unveils Premium Mobile Gaming Chip
Qualcomm just announced some new updates to its processor line-up that target a couple of key market segments. The freshly minted Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 targets top-tier, premium Android devices, while the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 focuses on more mainstream, gaming-centric devices.
The existing Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 already powers virtually all of the current-generation, flagship Android devices in the U.S. and other regions around the globe. The simple “+” addendum to its branding may suggest that the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is nothing more than a speed-bump, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, the two chips share the same architecture and feature set, but the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is manufactured on a different process node, that’s optimized for both higher speeds and increased power efficiency.
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 Will Power The Next Wave Of Premium Android Devices
For a deeper dive on the Snapdragon 8/8+ Gen 1 and its feature set, I suggest reading this article from late last year. Because both chips are so similar, I won’t be covering all of the same details again. To quickly reiterate some of the high-level particulars, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 features a mix of Arm cores, in addition to a number of accelerators and sensors. It has 8 cores in total, comprised of a single high-performance Prime Cortex-X2 core (up to 3.2GHz), three Cortex A71 Performance cores, and four Cortex A51 Efficiency cores. The Prime core is used for the highest priority threads which require the most performance, while the Performance cores handle the rest, supplemented by the Efficiency cores for less-demanding background tasks.
The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 also features an array of more specialized processing engines to accelerate everything from AI, to audio, to imaging. The 7th Gen Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine is on-board, along with the company’s 3rd Gen Sensing Hub, and the platform supports the full array of Snapdragon Elite Gaming and Snapdragon Sight technologies. Of course, connectivity it front and center as well. The Snapdragon X65 Modem-RF System is also present, and FastConnect 6900 enables Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with full support for Snapdragon Sound.
Save for the higher clocked Prime core, all of the aforementioned features are also available on the existing Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. But the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1’s optimizations result in higher peak clocks, and higher average clocks for the CPU cores, GPU, and other engines, which results in up to 10% higher performance, at up to a 30% power reduction. This means that effectively all on-device experiences will be enhanced with improved performance and increased responsiveness, with better battery life as well. Qualcomm is claiming that the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 can game for nearly an hour longer than its predecessor or stream video for over 80 minutes longer on single battery charge. Talk time, web browsing, music playback, you name it, will all be more efficient on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.
My partner Dave actually had the chance to benchmark a reference Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 device and saw significantly better performance across the board in a variety of tests.
This graphics benchmarks gives a taste for what the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 can do, but there is much more data available in HotHardware’s coverage if you’d like some additional detail.
The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 For Efficient Mobile Gaming
The new Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 has a number of similar features, but targets a different market segment and mix of devices.
“In the mobile segment, our primary focus is to deliver new, groundbreaking features and technologies to the industry, and for our customers’ flagship devices. We implement these features first in our Snapdragon 8-series and then waterfall them down our mobile roadmap,” said Christopher Patrick, senior vice president and general manager, mobile handsets, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “The new Snapdragon 8+ and 7 Gen 1 both deliver breakthrough user experiences in their respective tiers.”
Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 features a 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra triple ISP, which gives devices the ability to capture images simultaneously from three cameras or take photos at up to 200MP. This kind of imaging horsepower is a first in the Snapdragon 7 series. Like its more powerful sibling, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 also packs the 7th Gen Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine and FastConnect 6900 for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. And the Snapdragon X62 5G Modem-RF system handles the cellular duties.
As you’d expect from a chip destined for some gaming-focused devices, many of the key Snapdragon Elite Gaming features are also present, including the Adreno Frame Motion Engine, Game Quick Touch, and Variable Rate Shading (VRS).
All told, Qualcomm is claiming up to 20% improvement in graphics performance from the Snapdragon 7’s Adreno GPU and up to a 30% boost in AI performance versus the previous-gen Snapdragon 778G 5G Mobile Platform.
New Or Refreshed Snapdragon-Powered Android Devices Are Coming Soon
Many of Qualcomm’s partners are readying devices powered by the company’s latest chips. Snapdragon 7 Gen 1-based devices are due to arrive in from an array of global OEMs starting in Q2 of this year. Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 devices will be coming a little later in Q3 from many of Qualcomm’s partners, including ASUS ROG, Black Shark, HONOR, iQOO, Lenovo, Motorola, Nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, OSOM, realme, RedMagic, Redmi, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.