Qualcomm Tech Summit: Snapdragon 855 and Snapdragon 8cx Unveiled | AIB
Qualcomm has unveiled its new processor for next year’s flagships. Like the predecessor Snapdragon 845, the new Snapdragon 855 will be equipped with eight processor cores. One of them deals exclusively with tasks related to Artificial Intelligence. This neural processing unit (NPU) is considered a co-processor, which is why the Snapdragon 855 actually should be called a hepta core.
Meanwhile, the main processor can handle other problems. The concept of an NPU is not new. Huawei’s competition has been relying on a dedicated unit for its top smartphones for some time, solving AI challenges.
Four cores are used which clock at 1.8 GHz and are more concerned with simple tasks. If more computing power is needed, three additional cores will be added, clocking up to 2.4 GHz in standard mode. One of them can also go up to 2.8 GHz if required.
Of course, there’s also a new graphics unit that now has the name Adreno 640 and specialized algorithms to enable “Snapdragon Elite Gaming.” In doing so, the processor turns off certain areas and others to allow for a smoother gaming experience.
Snapdragon 855 with 5G modem
As befits a flagship processor, Qualcomm also has the future in mind. For this purpose, already a 5G modem (X50) was installed to support the upcoming mobile transmission standard. It is speculated that the manufacturer initially sells units with a 4G modem (X24) before the change to 5G is completed. One of the reasons is the cost since the Snapdragon 855 is more expensive than the predecessor anyway, Qualcomm would probably first obstruct a cheaper 4G modem.
In a first, unofficial benchmark, the Snapdragon 855 has already made a good impression. In the single-core test, there were 3,697 points – the predecessor came here only to around 2,400 points. However, the gap is slightly smaller in the multi-core test: while the flagship processor comes to 10,649 points for next year, the Snapdragon 845 has an average of 8,500 to 9,000 points.
The real competitor, however, is not the in-house production, but Apple’s A12 Bionic, which is currently the leader in benchmarks. In the iPhone XS Max, this comes in the single-core test to 4,797 points, the multi-core test to 11,196 points. How the Snapdragon 855 will beat, for example, in the Galaxy S10 from Samsung remains to be seen.
Qualcomm will make the Snapdragon 855 available to manufacturers in spring 2019. As one of the first smartphones, the Galaxy S10 from Samsung will be equipped with the processor – at least in the US and China. As usual, the rest of the world gets its own development from Samsung. Many flagship manufacturers, such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, LG, Sony and so on, will be following the successor of the Snapdragon 845 next year.
Snapdragon 8cx: The new Qualcomm chipset for laptops
Like the Snapdragon 855 for flagship Android smartphones that was announced earlier this week, the Snapdragon 8cx is built on 7nm process tech. Qualcomm is a well-known name in the chipsets market for mobile devices, however, for some time it has tried to position itself in the laptop market, without much success. To change this scenario, on the third day of the event at the Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm has presented its new bet.
Snapdragon 8cx is the first computing platform manufactured in 7 nanometers, according to the company, and brings interesting promises, more than in the power section, in connectivity and especially in autonomy.
According to Qualcomm, the connectivity in the Snapdragon 8cx is covered with the LTE Snapdragon X24 modem, able to navigate in networks with speeds of 2 Gbps. Other important aspects of the Snapdragon 8cx support up to two 4K HDR monitors, fast charging with Quick Charge 4+ technology, support for second generation USB Type-C 3.1 ports, support for virtual assistants, Alexa and Cortana confirmed up to now, support for Enterprise Windows 10, and Qualcomm aptX HD technology for high-quality wireless audio.
Finally, Lenovo is one of the main collaborators of Qualcomm in the development of devices with the Snapdragon 8cx. It was not confirmed when we would see laptops, whether from Lenovo or other companies, powered by this new platform, but surely next year we will have surprises, very likely during CES 2019.
This is how Qualcomm truly wants to compete in the laptop market and make a name for itself in this segment of the market, not just mobile phones.