After a 2-day conference in Hawaii, Qualcomm has fully revealed its latest and the greatest chipset. All hail the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855! This is the company’s first chipset based on the 7nm technology, like Huawei’s Kirin 980. But the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 has a lot many improvements. And rightly so, as this chip will be powering numerous flagships in the coming year. The Snapdragon 855 focuses on better AI capabilities, a more powerful GPU, better performance and faster connectivity, as it moves to harness the 5G technology.
Now previously, there were leaks about this very chipset under the name Snapdragon 8150. But that was only the code name, the final product will be marketed as the Snapdragon 855. So, don’t confuse one with the other. They’re the same.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Chipset Overview
This chipset has 8 cores, just like most others, but it now has a new CPU configuration. The cores comprise of a single 2.84 GHz Cortex A76, three 2.42 GHz Cortex A76 and four 1.8 GHz Cortex A-55. In detail, that would mean a lot of technical jargon. But, basically, a 1+3+4 core design means higher single thread performance sustainable for longer periods of time. This new tailored design should also mean a 45% boost in CPU performance from the last gen, according to the company.
Similarly, the new chip can support image processing from up to a 48 MP single camera or 24 MP dual cameras. Also, it can even support recording 4K and HDR videos at 60 fps. Not only that, but this phone is also sporting HDR10+ playback at 120 fps and 8K video playback too! While that certainly means raw power, we think it is too much of an overkill for mobile devices.
Also, the 855 packs a more powerful Adreno 640 GPU, which should mean a 20% boost in gaming performance. The GPU also offers an HDR pipeline to support high-quality physically-based rendering.
Besides that, the major improvement the Snapdragon 855 provides is in the AI and machine learning department. Now “AI” has been the buzz-word in 2018, with phones trying to beat each other to who’s going to get to the best AI-integration first. And in the Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm puts a Hexagon 690 DSP unit. The Hexagon 690 is an improved Digital Signal Processor with 2 additional vector processing units that double the chip’s math crunching capabilities. In layman’s terms, this means up to 3 times increment in Qualcomm’s AI performance. The company also boasts that it is 2 times faster than the Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 980 chipset.
Lastly, the chip is emphasizing on better connectivity with 5G. But, the chip does not have a built-in 5G modem. Qualcomm’s 5G modem, the X50, is not yet fully optimized to be integrated into the SoC itself. But the SD855 can be paired with the X50 modem and radio antennas much better to harness the 5G connectivity.
So, in a nutshell, the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 focuses on 5 things: Better Performance, better GPU performance, more powerful AI processing, better image processing, and better connectivity. It seems like the dragon has awoken!
And since it is now official, it is only a question of which smartphone will get to put one in their smartphone first. As the records show, it is always Samsung’s flagships, but this time around, it might air on a new OnePlus device first, as stated by the CEO of OnePlus, Pete Lau. There is no official mention of which smartphone, but it should arrive before the Samsung Galaxy S10, which will come out in February. Considering the company only launched the OnePlus 6T in October, it won’t be the OnePlus 7. So, maybe we’ll also see a new lineup of devices from the Chinese company.