Qualcomm tonight unveiled its new top chip for next-gen flagship smartphones, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The SoC, which is used in the Samsung Galaxy S23, among other things , offers a number of upgrades, including up to 35 percent more CPU power.
The US chip giant Qualcomm wants to set new standards with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (internal model number SM8550, codename “Kailua”) when it comes to the performance of Android-based devices. The new system-on-chip offers a total of eight CPU cores, with the so-called prime core based on the ARM Cortex-X3 architecture achieving a clock rate of up to 3.2 gigahertz.
Five high-performance CPU cores
There are also two pairs of other high-performance cores based on the Cortex-A710 and Cortex-A715 architectures that clock at a maximum of 2.8 gigahertz, and three energy-saving cores based on ARM Cortex-A510 that have a maximum of 2 .0 gigahertz. In order to secure the performance crown over the Taiwanese competitor MediaTek, Qualcomm changes, among other things, the cluster design of the CPU of its new chip.
Instead of the usual structure of four energy-saving cores, three high-performance cores and one prime core with particularly high performance (4+3+1), the 3+(2+2)+1 design described above is now used Mission. Basically, the new chip has five instead of just four high-end cores. This should also be the reason why Qualcomm speaks of up to 35 percent more CPU power, which was also shown in advance in the first benchmarks of devices from the Galaxy S23 series.
Through further optimizations, Qualcomm also wants to have increased things by up to 40 percent. The chip’s new Adreno 740 GPU is said to deliver up to 25 percent more performance, but it also works 45 percent more efficiently. The new GPU also supports real-time ray tracing for the first time for realistic lighting effects and reflections in games.
TSMC ensures availability
The production is again carried out on a 4-nanometer scale by the Taiwanese contract manufacturer TSMC, with Qualcomm probably being able to fall back on the latest generation of the 4nm node. Having previously relied on Samsung as a manufacturing partner, Qualcomm is now completely switching back to TSMC to ensure availability in sufficient quantities.
Qualcomm has also done well in terms of AI performance and promises an increase by a factor of 4.35. Among other things, this should enable the new chip to carry out more complex tasks such as translation into several languages at the same time.
High-end 5G modem & object recognition in the image processing processor
Other improvements include support for the new WiFi 7 standard and an integrated Snapdragon X70 5G modem that supports, among other things, two simultaneously active 5G SIMs, so that one can theoretically access two 5G networks at the same time if required. The modem also comes with its own AI processor, which should ensure better reception and higher transmission rates.
The image processing processor of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is referred to as the “Cognitive Image Signal Processor” and should be able to use semantic segmentation to break down the motifs in photos and videos in order to then recognize certain objects in an image and then for an optimized display to care. Basically, the chip should be able to use optimal settings for faces, hair, sky and other things.
Samsung and Sony are optimizing sensors
The whole thing takes place in real time, so that you can see better in the image preview on the smartphone what the finished photo or video will ultimately look like – even before the image processing software intervenes to optimize it. Qualcomm is also collaborating with Sony and Samsung to better match the image processing in the new Snapdragon SoC to the next generation of camera sensors from the two market leaders.
There is an interesting detail in terms of video recording and playback. Although the Snapdragon 8 Gen2 can record videos with a maximum of 8K resolution, the chip can only operate internal and external displays with a maximum of 4K resolution. Other technical improvements include support for the even faster UFS 4.0 storage and the ability to spatially change the audio playback via headphones using so-called spatial sound when the user turns their head.
It will probably only be a few days before the first devices based on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be presented. Qualcomm itself only mentioned Motorola, Oppo and ASUS during the launch event in Hawaiias partners who are already planning the appropriate hardware, with Honor and Video two Chinese manufacturers are already in the starting blocks who want to present the first products with the new top chip in the coming days.
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