Today, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, the company’s flagship chip, which will be coming to many Android phones in the next few months. Along with the usual newer, better, hopefully faster cores, the addition of Wi-Fi 7 support so you can have better wireless connectivity at home provided you invest in a new router is big news.
Qualcomm has some claims for this new chip. The company says the CPU “increases performance by up to 35 percent” and has “up to 40 percent greater power efficiency.” The GPU supposedly “provides up to 25 percent faster performance with up to 45 percent better power efficiency.” Take both of these claims with some skepticism, as Qualcomm promised last year. 20% CPU improvement He never manifested on shipping products. Even if Qualcomm delivers on these performance promises, it will still lag behind the iPhone by about a year. The company is trying to do something about its non-competitive performance with (.now legally blocked) Acquisition of Nuviabut these chips are not ready yet.
Let’s start with the basics. This is a 4nm chip with an unusual layout containing four different CPU cores, all designed by Arm. The main core is 3.2 GHz Arm Cortex X3; this is all good and expected, and from here on out Arm’s recommended layout is three Cortex A710 CPUs for “medium” tasks and four A510 CPUs for low-power background processing. Qualcomm does not follow the recommended scheme and has two different cores that do “middle” duty after the Cortex X3: a pair of Cortex-A715 CPUs and a pair of last-generation Cortex-A710 CPUs. After that, there are only three (not the expected four) Cortex A510 CPUs running in the background.
The reason Qualcomm is throwing a pair of A710s into the mix is probably 32-bit support. The core layout that Arm proposes for this next generation is just a bunch of 64-bit chips, which means no 32-bit applications can run. This is not a problem for most of the world; The Pixel 7 was already shipped as the world’s first Android phone. Can’t run 32-bit applications (not all OS is fully 64 bit yet). The Google Play Store requires 64-bit binaries since 2019, and you’ll never notice the lack of 32-bit support today. But there’s no Google Play Store for China, and the fact that it’s free everywhere means 32-bit support isn’t abandoned so quickly. It’s also unclear whether Google is ready for full 64-bit support, the Pixel 7 reportedly. still shipping with some 32-bit libraries. Mixing and matching with older cores allows Qualcomm to maintain 32-bit support for another year.
Qualcomm promises top Wi-Fi speeds of 5.8 Gbps with new Wi-Fi 7 support, but the biggest benefit is even more spectrum to share with your neighbors. If you’re in a crowded apartment with lots of access points, it’s easy to clog the airways and cause everyone’s Wi-Fi to work poorly. Just like Wi-Fi 6e, Wi-Fi 7 adds an additional block of spectrum for your devices to choose from, which will be helpful in crowded areas. The problem is, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 7 access point to see these benefits, and there aren’t many options at the moment. TP Connection recently promised Devices in Q1 of 2023.
Qualcomm has already packed a punch with hardware ray tracing support. Samsung (with help from AMD) and Arm’s Immortal GPU, but now the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can also do fancy lighting effects. I don’t think any serious mobile software is used for ray tracing yet.
This is the first Snapdragon chip to include support for AV1, a royalty-free video codec supported by a huge roster including Amazon, Apple, Arm, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia and Samsung. . Netflix and YouTube support the codec, bringing everything together in AV1 compulsory for hardware manufacturers who want to license these services.
We’ll think of this as the SoC for most 2023 flagship smartphones, but Qualcomm says some partners’ devices will actually launch before the end of the year.
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