Although its launches are increasingly divided during the year, Qualcomm continues to have its big day in the year and places it in the last month of the year, thus anticipating its artillery for mobiles and other devices. In this case we have first known the Snapdragon 865 and the 765, processors for the high and medium range Android phones of 2019, and today we finally know the details.
Pick up the witness of the Snapdragon 855, although in fact it is done in conjunction with the Snapdragon 855+ (a later evolution centered on the 5G support). In fact, it is the 5G again that highlights the manufacturer in this new processor with artificial intelligence, evolving of course also in performance and graphic power.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 datasheet
Adreno 650 GPU
Hexagon Scalar Accelerator
Qualcomm Sensing Hub
Ultra low power hubs for audio, voice and sensors
Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF
WiFi and Bluetooth
Qualcomm FastConnectTM 6800 Subsystem
Wi-Fi Security: WPA3-Enterprise, WPA3- Enhanced Open, WPA3 Easy Connect, WPA3-Personal
Qualcomm Spectra 480 14-bit ISP
Hexagon Voice Assistant Accelerator for voice processing
Octacore Kryo 585 64-bit
4K at 60 Hz, QHD + at 144 Hz
Secure processing unit: Mobile Payment, Dual SIM / Dual Standby
Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+
GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS, and SBAS
Eight cores that divide the tasks again
After having spent the past year at 7 nanometers, for now the manufacturer stays there and we do not see that they have gone further. As usual, the new Qualcomm processor inherits structure in units or platforms and it is like a granite of processing units of different types, being in the case of Snapdragon 865 of:
- Qualcomm Kryo 585
- Qualcomm Spectra 480 ISP
- Qualcomm Adreno 650 GPU
- Qualcomm Hexagon 698 processor
- Qualcomm Sensing Hub
- Qualcomm Processor Security
- Snapdragon X55 modem + radio frequency transmitter
- Qualcomm QTM525 mmWave
- FastConnect 6800
- Qualcomm 3D Sonic Fingerprint
- Qualcomm Quick Charge
- Qualcomm Aqstic Audio
- Low power camera
The first advance of what can be the improvements in terms of performance of this new processor we can have it with the description of the cores. As we just said, the cores are Kryo 585, consisting of CPUs dedicated to efficiency or performance so that in the end one achieves 25% higher than the Snapdragon 855 (processor that inaugurated this same cluster system last year), although on paper we see that the speed is maintained clock:
- Cortex-A77: 2.84 GHz main CPU + 3 x 2.4 GHz performance CPU.
- Cortex-A55: 4 x CPU dedicated to efficiency at 1.8 GHz.
Next to these is the new graphic unit, the Adreno 650, with which they also describe up to 25% performance improvement over previous generations and being 35% more energy efficient.
Something more interesting for mobile phones gaming that opt for Qualcomm components are the functions added to the platform released last year Elite Gaming, focused on improving graphic quality and providing a higher dose of realism than before. This is achieved with support for advanced rendering, which according to Qualcomm will provide video game developers to play better with lights and effects and thus achieve a higher level of realism.
They have also taken into account the rise of higher refresh rates and there will be support for HDR in games for screens up to 144 hertz of refresh rate. We will see if the games look better on the screens that are to come, Qualcomm promises twice the performance for certain operations with respect to its previous more powerful graphic.
New image processor ready for 200 megapixels and more demanding video
Speaking of image processing, what we see in the Snapdragon 865 is the new ISP Spectra 480, focused on providing new photography and video functions to smartphones thanks to its working speed of up to 2 gigapixels per second (processing 4 pixels per clock turn instead of one). This results in a 40% faster processing than the previous generation, without neglecting energy savings by not suffering a temperature increase.
In this way, it supports functions such as recording in 4K HDR, 8K or photos up to 200 megapixels, so that they prepare for a market with sensors of more than those 108 megapixels of the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (which with the ISP of the Snapdragon 730G could not go very fine).
Ultra slow motion recording at 960 frames per second you can benefit from this speed, having a higher resolution than what we are seeing right now and incorporating the support of the 4K slow motion at 120 fps. Although what the manufacturer stands out here is the HDR recording with Dolby Vision ready to be seen on large screens, being according to the brand the first processor to support this.
In addition, it inherits everything that its predecessor premiered being the first in the world to include support for HDR10 +, 4K HDR video capture with portrait mode and an ISP with computer vision. All this is maintained, in addition to incorporating depth detection at 60 frames per second and capture support in HEIF format.
The artificial intelligence that came to stay
The AI was a certain turning point in the processors, having NPUs along with the CPUs, GPUs and other components. In 865 we see Qualcomm's fifth generation AI engine, twice as powerful as its predecessor and providing 15 billion operations per second, 3MB of system cache and LPDDR4 (2,133 megahertz) and LPDDR5 (2,750 MHz) support.
This new engine uses the Kryo cores, the GPU and other components such as the Hexagon 968, a new tensor processing unit that works about 4 times better than its predecessor achieving 35% more efficiency in power, which they achieve functions such as instant translation in real time (both in text and voice). Although we can also note their participation by the ISP that we described before, since according to the manufacturer processing speed and AI they will allow to identify and separate successfully the different elements of the photo so that individually treated they give a better processed photo.
Next to this accelerator is a new Sensing Hub, dedicated to providing the terminal context information in which it is located. It is therefore involved in the detection of high precision voice, seeking to improve interaction with virtual assistants (so booming), as well as in the detection of ambient sounds (for a better contextualization of AI functions).
The neural processing SDK has been updated, which together with the functions of components such as the AI Model Enhancer and the Hexagon NN Direct gives the developers greater freedom and flexibility to create faster and more complete applications (in relation to AI).
Full compatibility with 5G (not forgetting the rest)
Both Snapdragon 855 and 855+ came optimized for 5G, but included modems that were only compatible with 4G unless an accessory modem was added with this support. This made us think that the manufacturer was preparing the next generation in that sense, and the truth is that with that strategy and after presenting the Snapdragon X55 it was highly expected that the 865 was responsible for incorporating full compatibility with the 5G, but we still do not see the modem properly integrated in the SoC.
Leaving this aside, connectivity is once again the main claim and the one in charge is the new Snapdragon X55 5G modem, with which they promise speeds up to 7.5 Gbps (thus achieving figures greater than many of the physical connections) integrating own energy technologies (Qualcomm 5G PowerSave) so that 5G does not imply autonomy below 24 hours per se and improvement and enhancement of the signal (Qualcomm Signal Bust) among others.
This solution is supported in all countries and bands, including mmWave and sub-6 in the FDD and TDD frequencies. In addition, it is compatible with both the 5G NSA and the SA, as well as the DDS (Dynamic Spectrum Sharing), 5G global roaming and multi-SIM devices.
Speaking of WiFi connectivity, the Snapdragon 865 incorporates the FastConnect 6800 connectivity subsystem, improving the performance of the WiFi 6 standard (which started supporting 855) and Bluetooth. As? With speeds of up to 1.8 Gbps and decreasing latency, focusing on the experience improving in environments with a high concentration of connected devices (a concert, etc.).
And in relation to Bluetooth, the new processor is the first to incorporate the wireless support of the “Super Broadband” (Super wide band) Voice over Bluetooth thanks to Qualcomm aptXTM Voice. With all this, what they promise is an audio of much greater clarity, lower latency and better connectivity of the wireless headphones (reducing energy expenditure).
Waiting to know who releases it
We hope to see the Snapdragon 865 already in the first high-end phones of 2020, that is, during the first quarter of the year. We will be aware of the company's announcements about this issue and more features of these new processors, yesterday we saw that some manufacturers said their phones would be among the first to have both this and the 765, but there was no definitive model.
– xataka (@xataka) December 3, 2019