In Hawaii there are not only paradisiacal beaches and there is not only the 5.0, the specialized unit of the local police. The Qualcomm Summit is also being held and in it, the North American semiconductor manufacturer, leader of the processor market, has presented what will be the brain of a good part of the high ranges of next 2018. The Snapdragon 845 has become official.
The chip called to replace the Snapdragon 835 in front of the catalog of the Americans has already made its appearance, and during the conference Qualcomm has made public its characteristics, many of which coincide with those we already thought we knew based on different leaks. We remain in the eight nuclei, we do not leave the 10 nanometers and artificial intelligence returns to the center of everything.
Flying at 1.2Gbps, flying I come
One of the first features of this new Snapdragon 845 has to do with its mobile connection technology, with its modem. We already knew it before but it has been tied to the new processor officially. In the future generation of high ranges of the mobile market we will be able to navigate at 1.2Gbps. Yes, in the networks that support it.
We are talking specifically about Qualcomm’s X20 modem, a chip that will allow wireless connection speeds higher than those of many fiber connections. The Qualcomm X20 will allow you to add up to five different bands, with 20Mhz for each one, and will combine FDD and TDD in bands with licenses and without licenses. Of course, there will be VoLTE in 4G, including models with Dual SIM.
The arrival of the modem was promised for the first half of next 2018, and now that it is linked with the Snapdragon 845 we know that its landing will occur long before. A first powerful feature for this future Snapdragon 845, especially considering the weight that mobile connections have in an increasingly wireless market.
Back to 10 nanometers from Samsung
One of the big questions about this future Snapdragon 845 had to do with its manufacturer. Samsung experienced problems with 10-nanometer lines, which caused bottlenecks in the manufacture of the Snapdragon 835, which in turn caused Qualcomm to decide to try their luck with TSMC for future 7-nanometer generations. Now we know that the jump to the new company will have to wait at least another year.
The Snapdragon 845 comes from Samsung factories and comes back in 10 nanometers, but with the new 10LPP technique that will be shared with the Exynos 9810 of the Koreans. This second generation of the 10-nanometer architecture will allow, among other things, a faster manufacturing of chips that in turn will consume less energy. Theoretically, it is something that will have to be put to the test, 15% less.
As for the CPU, to the internal configuration of the brain of Qualcomm, it seems that the Americans have been encouraged to adopt the ARI DynamIQ design, built to enhance the operations derived from the use of artificial intelligence algorithms. All this by combining Cortex A75 cores for maximum power and Cortex A55 cores for energy savings and less demanding processes. Specifically, at 2.8GHz and 1.8GHz. Of course, Qualcomm has adapted these cores with their own configurations, hence we find the well-known Kryo in its 385 version.
There is no lack of data on the new Adreno 630, the graph of this Snapdragon 845. Qualcomm brings to the table percentage improvements over previous generations such as the Snapdragon 835. Graphics 30% faster with 30% less energy consumption, and a speed transmission to the screen 250% higher. Data that, as usual, will have to be tested through an in-depth analysis.
The importance of artificial intelligence
As mentioned, the Snapdragon 845 has been designed, like his brother of the previous generation, to further enhance the processes related to the use of artificial intelligence in mobile phones. And also on all devices that adopt the chip once it starts next year 2018. An artificial intelligence that, says Qualcomm, is three times more powerful than that offered in the Snapdragon 835 thanks to both hardware and software improvements.
Machine learning, an increasingly popular concept, will be enhanced by the processor architecture itself, which will use a heterogeneous use of both the CPU, the GPU and the DSP. Between all the work of execution of these complex algorithms will be distributed that should result in a more efficient chip, allowing access to more complex operations than we have known so far.
The Snapdragon 845 renews a good part of its internal architecture, component to component of the new SoC of the guys from Qualcomm. Like the new DSP Hexagon 685, the ISP Spectra, which now jumps to the 280 model or the Aqstic audio chip of the North Americans. All working together to enhance not only artificial intelligence but also the functions of virtual and augmented reality.
In terms of augmented and virtual reality, which Qualcomm now includes in a new concept called X-Reality, the new Snapdragon 845 will be able to map all objects in a room, not just flat surfaces. It will also allow us to track our hands to use them as control commands in applications and games. A step that brings it closer to the concept of HTC with Live than Apple with ARKit, or Google.
Photography and video, with neural processing
Qualcomm account that its new ISP Spectra 280 will be able to capture “Ultra HD Premium” videos at 60 fps without too much effort, also relying on neural processing for both video and photographs. The focus on 4K content is evident, both in reproduction and capture, an important resolution when we talk about virtual reality. Immersion, a concept on which the new Snapdragon 845 has a lot to say. By the way, videos at 720p and 480fps.
The emphasis on photographic material is also evident during this presentation of the Snapdragon 845. Qualcomm states that the neural processing is put at the service of the sensors of each telephone, allowing the execution of new algorithms to reduce noise in low light situations.
Of course, facial recognition with depth will be present in this new generation of Qualcomm chips. The alternative to FaceID arrives inside a Snapdragon 845 that will also offer portraits with depth and improve optical stabilization in video recording.
This depth effect can be achieved, by the way, with a single camera. An effect similar to that of Google and Samsung thanks to the Dual Pixel technology, which will allow more manufacturers on the market to implement it more easily and economically. Are we facing a severe blow to the “need” to carry a double lens?