Today, the Qualcomm team released its new flagship – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. The performance has been improved in every way compared to the Gen 1 models and with the first Gen 2 based devices on the way, we will soon experience the performance.
The chip, officially called the SM8550-AB, is manufactured at the 4nm node. Here are more details about its components.
CPUs and GPUs
Qualcomm has focused on improving energy efficiency, but the new chip still offers significant acceleration. The new triple Kryo processors offer up to a 35% performance boost and up to a 40% efficiency boost.
Clock speeds are the same as the 8+ Gen 1, but core composition is different. The Kryo Prime single core (Cortex-X3 based) runs at 3.2 GHz (3.1872 GHz to be exact) to provide high single thread performance. This time around, however, it’s supported by four performance cores (instead of three) to better handle multi-threaded workloads, and those cores run at 2.8GHz. Finally, there are three efficiency cores (instead of four ) to 2.0GHz.
Gen 2 supports new and faster memory technologies. For RAM, it runs LP-DDR5X up to 4200MHz (compared to LP-DDR5 at 3200MHz). For archiving it can use the new UFS 4.0 format (from UFS 3.1).
The latest Adreno GPUs promise an increase in performance of up to 25% and an increase in energy efficiency of up to 45%. It also brings hardware-accelerated ray tracing support to the Snapdragon platform. With ray-tracing hardware now available from major Android chipset vendors, we could see mobile game developers embrace the new technology as they have on PC and consoles. Also, this GPU is the first to support Vulkan 1.3 (and OpenGL ES 3.2).
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can drive on-device displays with QHD+ resolutions up to 144Hz or 4K resolutions up to 60Hz. It also supports external displays up to 4K 60Hz (with 10-bit Rec. 2020 color gamut, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision to boot). Qualcomm has also finally enabled AV1 video decoding, supporting 8K streaming (with HDR) at up to 60fps.
Qualcomm boasted that Sony’s sensor with digital overlay HDR (DOL-HDR) and Samsung’s HP3 200MP have been optimized to work with the Snapdragon ISP. Like its predecessor, Gen 2 offers a triple 18-bit ISP capable of handling up to three 36 MP (30 fps) cameras simultaneously or 200 PM for a single camera. Support for 108MP sensors with zero shutter lag.
For video, the chipset can record 8K HDR footage at 30fps (and simultaneously capture 64MP photos), 4K at 120fps, and slow-motion video (720p at 960fps). It supports multiple HDR formats, including HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision. Using a DOL sensor, it can capture up to four exposures for each video frame.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 switches to the new Snapdragon X70 modem. Of course, it supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G. Its maximum downstream speed is 10Gbps and its peak upstream speed is 3.5Gbps (similar to its predecessor).
This modem supports Dual SIM, Dual Active (DSDA) operation, in which two 5G (or 5G+4G) SIMs are active at the same time.
With the new FastConnect 78000 system, local connectivity brings capabilities to the future Wi-Fi 7 standard (802.11be). It has a maximum speed of 5.8 Gbps (up from 3.6 Gbps on the previous chip). In addition to speed, the new standard also reduces latency (Qualcomm calls it “wire-like”).
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 FastConnect 7800 system offers low latency Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth
As before, the FastConnect system features Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity. With the latest Snapdragon audio system, it can deliver 48kHz lossless music streaming and the lowest gaming latency of 48ms.
Not much has been reported about wired connections: the chip uses USB 3.1 and Quick Charge 5 (which is just a wrap around the USB Power Delivery standard).
The new Hexagon processors bring support for the new INT4 format to Qualcomm mobile chips for the first time. It promises a 60% increase in performance per watt over previous technology.
The Hexagon is also faster overall: Qualcomm claims a 4.35x improvement in AI performance. This feature can be used to help the camera identify which parts of the image are faces, hair, clothing, backgrounds, etc. And treat them differently.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be adopted by major Android manufacturers, Qualcomm lists in its press release: Asus ROG, Honor, iQOO, Motorola, Nubia, OnePlus, Oppo, Red Devils, Sharp, Sony, vivo, Xiaomi, Meizu and ZTE.
He went on to say that the first generation 2-based phones would be available later this year, but did not specify which manufacturer would go first. No mention of Samsung and the upcoming S23 series.