Qualcomm had officially announced its next-generation mobile platform, the Snapdragon 845, two days ago at its Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit 2017. However, it hadn’t revealed any details regarding the chipset as it wanted everyone to wait one more day before it detailed everything about it. Yesterday, Qualcomm explained every new feature of the Snapdragon 845 chipset and the improvement it brings over last year’s successful Snapdragon 835 system on chip (SoC). So, here’s everything you need to know about it.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Kryo 385 CPU, Adreno 630 GPU, 4K 60fps video capture, and 1.2Gbps LTE
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset is built using Samsung’s 10nm LPP FinFET process, which is an improvement over last year’s 10nm LPE process and should make the chipset more power efficient. It includes four Kryo 380 Gold CPU cores, four Kryo 380 Silver CPU cores, the Adreno 630 GPU, support for four-channel LPDDR4X RAM, dual-14 bit Spectra 280 ISP with support for 4K video recording at 60fps, Hexagon 685 DSP, and the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem. Let’s have a detailed look at the CPU, GPU, ISP, DSP, and LTE modem of the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform.
The Snapdragon 835’s Kryo 380 Gold and Kryo 380 Silver CPU cores are derivatives of ARM’s Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 CPU cores, respectively. The high-performance Kryo 380 Gold CPU cores are clocked at 2.8GHz, while the power-efficient Kryo 385 Silver CPU cores are clocked at 1.8GHz. Qualcomm claims that Kryo 380 Gold cores are up to 25%-30% faster than Kryo 280 Gold cores, while the Kryo 380 Silver cores are up to 15% faster than compared last year’s Kryo 280 Silver cores. There’s 3.5MB of combined L2 and L3 cache memory. The Snapdragon 845 chipset also supports Quick Charge 4.0 that can charge a smartphone’s battery up to 50% in just 15 minutes.
The Adreno 630 GPU used inside the Snapdragon 845 chipset brings huge graphical performance gains over last year’s Adreno 540 GPU. Qualcomm claims that the Adreno 630 offers 30% better graphical performance over the Adreno 540 while also offering 30% improved power efficiency. The Hexagon 685 DSP is claimed to offer improvements in performance and power efficiency. The company claims that this new sub-system offers 3x performance improvement in artificial intelligence and neural network processing tasks. It can drive 4K screens or dual 2400 x 2400 displays at 120Hz in VR headsets. It also supports 6-axis DoF tracking for VR headsets. It can playback 4K HDR videos in Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma).
The dual 14-bit Spectra 280 image signal processor (ISP) inside the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 mobile platform offers multi-frame noise reduction, something similar to what’s being used in Pixel phones (HDR+) and in the HTC U11 (HDR Boost) for improved image quality. It can offer background blur effect for images even without a secondary camera sensor, thanks to machine learning. The Snapdragon 845 also supports 4K video recording at 60 frames per second and with HDR (HDR10 HEVC and HLG) as well, which is a great step ahead, matching with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. There’s support for 1080p slow-motion videos at 240fps and 720p slow-motion videos at 480fps.
The Snapdragon 845 also comes integrated with the X20 LTE modem that supports download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps and upload speeds of up to 150Mbps. Thanks to 5xCA (in carrier aggregation mode), the Snapdragon 845 chipset is categorised to be a Category 18 compatible chipset. It also comes integrated with dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0 with TrueWireless (apt-X and apt-X HD with native DSD PCM up to 384kHz/32bit), USB 3.1 Type-C, It also supports Wi-Fi 802.11ad (60GHz) with dual-band antenna system as well as A-GPS, BeiDou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS, and SBAS for location and navigation.
When to expect Snapdragon 845-equipped smartphones?
Qualcomm has announced that Snapdragon 845-based smartphones will be released by Spring 2018, which is just three months from now. We expect Google, HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi and others to release their flagship smartphone models with the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform. Xiaomi has already announced that its Mi 7 smartphone, which could be released in the first half of next year, will use the Snapdragon 845 processor.
We expect the LG G7, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S9+, Google Pixel 3, and the Google Pixel 3 XL to come equipped with Qualcomm’s latest high-end mobile platform. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 mobile processor chipset will compete with Samsung’s Exynos 9810, Huawei’s Kirin 970, and Apple’s A11 Bionic chipsets. The Kirin 970 is used in the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, while the A11 Bionic is used in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X.