Qualcomm is updating its previous Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 400 series in preparation for 2023. These new ones Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 Chips are designed to power mid-range or entry-level smartphones.
It’s a “generational” architecture upgrade and both logic and manufacturing have improved significantly, along with performance and power efficiency, especially for Snapdragon 6 Gen 1.
Snapdragon 6 Gen 1
This chip is made with one 4nm Semiconductor process, although it’s not clear if Samsung or TSMC is the foundry behind it. Qualcomm has pursued a strategy of diversifying its supply chain so it could be both, but we don’t know right now. For now, however, momentum is shifting towards TSMC.
Qualcomm has doubled the number of powerful A78 CPU cores, so you should expect much higher peak CPU performance. The company speaks of a 40% improvementwhich is very significant.
In turn, the number of power-efficiency cores has increased from 6 to 4, but we expect the change won’t have a significant impact on battery life, as the four cores should be able to handle background and micro-tasks with ease.
35% graphics performance is also in the cards, but details on the GPU are sparse. It appears to be a reduced-cost derivative of the latest graphics architecture, but more technical information may become available later.
Qualcomm upgraded the integrated modem to the Qualcomm X62 (up from the X51), which offers many of the features of the more expensive X65 modem. However, carrier aggregation performance is slightly lower, probably to reduce costs.
The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1’s Spectra Image Processor (ISP) now supports 4K/30 HDR video, which was previously unavailable in this market.
Snapdragon 4 Gen 1
That Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 succeeds the Snapdragon 480 and brings more modest performance improvements. Qualcomm calls +15% CPU speed and 10% graphics performance. Most of the CPU speed increase is probably due to the upgrade to an A78 core design (the A76) since the RAM bandwidth is identical.
Again, there are few details on the graphics architecture, not even the frequencies. The only indication that this is a new architecture is the presence of VRS (Variable Rate Shading), which we explained in our Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 review.
This hardware platform is built using a 6nm Semiconductor process from TSCM, which is significantly smaller than the previous 8nm process at Samsung Semiconductors. As usual, this contributes to the cost-efficiency of these chips and gives Qualcomm more pricing flexibility.
The wireless specs haven’t changed much, but it’s still a 5G chip and Bluetooth has gone from the previous 5.1 to 5.2.
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