In Hawaii, manufacturer Qualcomm officially unveiled the new smartphone SoC Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. The chip succeeds the Snapdragon 888 next year, and in addition to a new name, brings many exciting features for flagship smartphones of 2022.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: New name, new features
New name for Qualcomm’s smartphone SoCs. Instead of a three-digit number, like Snapdragon 898, the new chip goes by the name Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. But the name change is of course not the only innovation.
Qualcomm promises better performance, higher efficiency and lower power consumption during the presentation. The Snapdragon Gen 1 is based on the new ARMv9 architecture with new cores. However, the components Kryo (CPU), Adreno (GPU), Spectra (ISP) and Hexagon (DSP) are henceforth also shown without code numbers or numbering, which makes classification much more difficult.
The basic structure of the 8-core CPU with one prime core, three performance cores and four efficiency cores remains the same compared to the Snapdragon 888, but the high-performance core uses a Cortex X2 core that works with up to 3 GHz clock frequency.
Qualcomm did not reveal how high the clock speed of the other cores will be. Presumably, however, a combination of Cortex-A710 and Cortex-A510 cores should be used again.
Better performance in Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
The overall speed of the new cryo-CPU is said to be about 20 percent faster than the current model, with a 30 percent improvement in power efficiency. This is likely due in part to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s new 4nm manufacturing process.
Machine learning and AI algorithms are supposed to be four times faster than before with the help of the 7th generation of the Qualcomm AI Engine. The new Adreno GPU is also supposed to deliver 30 percent more performance with 25 percent better efficiency, which should be particularly exciting for mobile games.
Thanks to optimizations for the engines of Unity and Unreal as well as Vulkan, performance increases of up to 60 percent should even be achieved. Furthermore, the new GPU in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is capable of Volumetric Rendering. This allows effects like haze and fog as well as interacting light and shadow play and similar effects to be displayed.
According to recent leaks, it is supposed to be an Adreno 730 GPU, which should enable desktop PC-level graphics on the smartphone.
Snapdragon Sight: new image processor for 8K HDR
The Spectra image processor called “Snapdragon Sighjt”, which is used in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, also takes a high place. It is capable of processing up to 3.2 gigapixels per second and thus 18.5 percent more pixels via three 18-bit RAW pipelines. This equates to 4,000 times more camera detail than in the current model.
This will enable features such as 8K HDR recording at 30fps or 4K 120 fps video recording and a dedicated bokeh engine for 4K videos, somewhat reminiscent of the iPhone 13 Pro’s Cinematic Mode.
Night shots should also benefit, as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 captures 30 images in parallel and stitches them into one using the multi-frame engine. At most, a smartphone camera with Snapdragon Sight is capable of taking 240 photos with 12 megapixels in one second.
10-gigabit 5G modem and Lossless Bluetooth Audio
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 also sets new standards in connectivity features. The installed Snapdragon X65 covers all standards from 2G to 5G and reaches up to 10 Gb/s in download. Wi-Fi 6E should even reach up to 3.6 Gb/s. Bluetooth version 5.2 is also on board.
Another new feature is support for the recently introduced aptx Lossless Bluetooth codec, which promises lossless music playback in CD quality via Bluetooth. However, only if the smartphones and connected headphones explicitly support this standard.