Qualcomm just held a launch event in China called Snapdragon Night, where the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 platform announced.
The “Plus” update is a performance kicker version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 hardware platform and brings noticeable performance and energy efficiency improvements.
These improvements essentially result from a two-pronged approach to developing the chip. First, Qualcomm uses a New 4nm semiconductor process at TSMC, which is even better than Samsung’s 4nm processor. Both platforms will be produced in parallel as part of Qualcomm’s manufacturing diversification strategy.
Second, Qualcomm’s physical design team had more time to do this Optimize the chip’s layout and internal data paths that could be maxed out at higher frequencies. As a result, Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 achieves between 6% and 12% faster clock speeds across different units.
For context, the “physical design” of the chip refers to how the transistors and wires are physically laid out. At the same time, the overall logic of the design remains identical to the original version. In short, it is better built and manufactured.
These improvements result in increased performance, with Qualcomm claiming a 10% CPU performance increase, 10% GPU clock increase and greatly improved power efficiency (performance per watt): up to 30%, says Qualcomm.
The energy efficiency of this product is impressive as we don’t usually see these numbers increase that much within the same generation. Using less power for the same task also reduces heat and improves long-term performance. This means gaming/XR won’t be throttled as much in the real world due to heat buildup. This also has a significant impact on the handset’s cooling system.
I’ve had some hands-on time with a couple of Qualcomm development phones, and we’ve seen benchmark numbers consistent with the claimed speed improvements.
This new platform will enable Qualcomm customers to build ultra-premium products with the absolute best Android performance and gross margins. You can assume that the usual OEMs like Motorola, Honor, Xiaomi or OnePlus will build products based on this new SoC (full specifications in official PDF).
At the same time, Qualcomm launched the new Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 platform, which caters to the premium (vs. high-end) smartphone market.
The goal is to offer many high-end features at a lower price, including gaming or camera features that are highly sought after and differentiators from an OEM marketing perspective.
For example, Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 can render 3D 20% faster than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 778G. Also, the new chip can support camera captures up to 200MP (up from 66MP previously). These are all very substantial gains within a similar price range.
Finally, Qualcomm mentioned during its briefing that its frame motion engine has been integrated into Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. It is a hardware frame interpolation feature that can increase perceived gaming FPS without proportionally increasing graphics calculations. It’s also great for extending battery life.
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