Qualcomm's new Snapdragons; 2.3 GHz quad-core flagship

Just like NVIDIA announcing the brand new Tegra 4 chipset yesterday, Qualcomm will soon take center stage at CES 2013 to announce a range of new Snapdragon processors in a new range of families: the Snapdragon 200, Snapdragon 400, Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 800. Each of these new chipsets brings a swathe of speed improvements, most notably in the top two chips.

The Snapdragon 600 is a revamped version of the current Snapdragon S4 Pro, bringing a quad-core Krait 300 CPU (the S4 had a Krait 200 processor apparently) with speeds up to 1.9 GHz, plus an Adreno 320 GPU and LPDDR3 memory. Qualcomm says that this chip represents a 40% speed boost and lower power consumption compared to last generation, an already amazingly fast chip, with Snapdragon 600 chips to be available in Q2 2013.

The Snapdragon 800 is where things start to get exciting because Qualcomm has pulled out all the stops. New Krait 400 cores take the grunt of processing power (four of them) up to 2.3 GHz, plus a new Adreno 330 GPU and LPDDR3 memory. LTE is bumped to a faster Cat.4 (150 Mbps downlink), 802.11ac Wi-Fi is included, 4K video playback and recording is possible, and the maximum display output is bumped to 2560 x 2048.

Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 800's CPU is 75% faster while again providing lower power consumption while the Adreno 330 GPU is 1.5x faster than the Adreno 320. Unfortunately not much is known about the other two chips at this stage (the 400 or 200), but the super-powered Snapdragon 800 is supposed to be released in the middle of the year.

To make things more exciting, Qualcomm has 50 different products in the pipeline that are using this new chip and we expect that a significant portion of these will be running either Windows RT or Windows Phone.

Expect everything here to be officially announced when Qualcomm's press conference begins at around 6:30 PM PT.

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20 Comments

Has anyone ever seen any graphs illustrating the curve of performance gain year-over-year for mobile chips? I'm curious how it's stacking against desktop CPUs, rate of change vs. rate of change.

article says 1.9ghz but title says 2.3ghz, which is true? Either is very nice! The A15 cores are rather a lot faster than the krait cores so i guess these will make the performance fairly similar. Shall be interesting to see how their 400 gpu compares to the tegra 4.

torrentthief said,
article says 1.9ghz but title says 2.3ghz, which is true?

Oops turns out I didn't even write up that the 800 is 2.3 GHz while the 600 is 1.9 GHz

Now, I wonder how would that compete against the 4 year old intel Core 2 Quad processor.... Or even Core 2 Duos!

Jose_49 said,
Now, I wonder how would that compete against the 4 year old intel Core 2 Quad processor.... Or even Core 2 Duos!

I wouldn't compete. Because Krait is slightly slower than ARM A15 at the same clock speed (although maybe these new chips have tweaks to make them just as fast) but even A15 isn't as fast as a Core 2 Duo at the same clocks. Still some way to go.

Phones/tablets this year will have the same graphical power as the the Xbox 360/PS3 though. But that hardware is roughly 7 years old, so it's not that amazing.

1Pixel said,

I wouldn't compete. Because Krait is slightly slower than ARM A15 at the same clock speed (although maybe these new chips have tweaks to make them just as fast) but even A15 isn't as fast as a Core 2 Duo at the same clocks. Still some way to go.

Phones/tablets this year will have the same graphical power as the the Xbox 360/PS3 though. But that hardware is roughly 7 years old, so it's not that amazing.


You think phones will have the graphical power of PS3/Xbox? You do know both use the PowerPC CPU design right? That they actually have quite strong graphical power.
You are aware the ARM architecture at this point with these chips have trouble beating a P4 in raw power. You're crazy to think they are on par with 3-8core PPC/Cell architecture processors.

Shadowzz said,

You think phones will have the graphical power of PS3/Xbox? You do know both use the PowerPC CPU design right? That they actually have quite strong graphical power.
You are aware the ARM architecture at this point with these chips have trouble beating a P4 in raw power. You're crazy to think they are on par with 3-8core PPC/Cell architecture processors.

You are overplaying the power of these CPUs a bit.

The engine demonstrations on Windows RT and WP8 are DX9 level equivalents to Xbox 360 released games.

Which considering that the PS3 is limited to DX9 generation gaming effects, this is an accurate statement. In comparison to the Xbox 360, this is less accurate, as the Xbox 360 GPU and DirectX subset includes many DX10 and DX11 features.

Right now the hardware equivalent DX9 limitations of many of the ARM level GPUs is where the real difference appears, but the new GPUs technology from Qualcomm and NVidia's Tegra 4 are DX11 capable in hardware, thus raising the potential of effects to the same level as the XBox 360 and beyond what the PS3 can provide.


These are going to kill battery times to produce high quality game rendering, but there are a lot of users that wouldn't mind playing a 2012 looking version of CoD even if they have to charge more often.


As for the ARM CPU themselves, the newer designs are running close to P4 level CPUs; however, they lack a lot of base functionality of performance that the inherent CISC design nature of x86/x64 provides.

However, with that said, it depends on the gaming engine technology and how CPU dependent they are. There are some recently released games that run well on a P4 class processor with a high end GPU. There are also some recent titles that can't hold 30fps even with the fastest GPU and a Core2 Duo CPU.

As for the PPC/Cell architectures, the advantages the 8 'core' Cell in the PS3 is quickly lost when a log of graphical features are utilizing any free core to get a 'semi' Xbox 360 graphical experience.

Also the Xbox PPC is 3 core, but people forget Microsoft's hyperthread like modifications allow two instructions per cycle on each core.

So I partially agree that these are NOT going to go head to head with a PS3 or an Xbox, but they are close enough graphically that end users will see the resulting games be on 'par' with the Xbox 360 and PS3 generation of gaming.

Go look at some of the engines running on WP8 and WindowsRT, they are a good sampling of what ARM technologies can provide. Also with the full Windows infrastructure the current engines are showcasing gaming and graphics that are FAR BEYOND what iOS or Android's limited OpenGL ES offers in terms of quality and performance on the same hardware.

I really think AMD should pull out of their desktop products now and turn their attention to the mobile market. They really could make some great chips of they provided performance, low power ARM designs OR x86 architecture. Laptops and tablets will be the big items over the next few years and making some ultra low power/high performance x86 chips will really bring in the sales and rep for AMD. They should also get ATi working on mobile GPU's, really it's just qualcomm and nVidia now

Auzeras said,
I really think AMD should pull out of their desktop products now and turn their attention to the mobile market. They really could make some great chips of they provided performance, low power ARM designs OR x86 architecture. Laptops and tablets will be the big items over the next few years and making some ultra low power/high performance x86 chips will really bring in the sales and rep for AMD. They should also get ATi working on mobile GPU's, really it's just qualcomm and nVidia now

Actually AMD has been involved in mobile GPU technology far more than you realize. Even Qualcomm's offerings come from ATI/AMD.

AMD's low power x64 (non-ARM) mobile GPUs are significantly faster than anything from NVidia or Qualcomm in the 'mobile' world. AMD's low end GPUs are also significantly faster than Intel's integrated GPUs and any low power discrete GPU offerings from NVidia.

AMD has already done a lot of work in the ARM GPU realm, and instead of focusing on ARM technologies sold it off to Qualcomm.

It appears they seem to think the x64/x86 CPUs have a brighter long term future in the future of mobile devices.

KLP will require the 800 for optimum performance, while the 200-600 models will be used in next gen Windows phones at all price points.
Phandroids will argue that WP is lagging behind Android due to its lack of support for the 800.

Windows fanboys will refute that saying that even a 200 level snapdragon will offer the same visual performance as the 600 under most common scenarios and that an 800 isn't really needed.

For those saying it's gonna be almost the same to a desktop CPU at the same clock speed... NO! IT'S NOT THE SAME SPEED! Not even a laptop with that clock speed has the same performance compared to a desktop at the same clock speed, and so a phone has not the same performance to a laptop or desktop at the same clock speed.

Can people remember when even AMD invented the parallel measuring system to say that their processors were faster than intel processors because at the same clock speed people would think they were the same when they actually were a lot faster... Clock speed is something that in theory define speed, but inside a CPU there're several sections that have effect on a CPU speed, and if you take in consideration all the other things that are included in a computer system that has influence in the final performance, you wouldn't even say something like a 2Ghz phone is the same to a 2ghz laptop/desktop computer.

Edited by daniel_rh, Jan 8 2013, 1:30pm :

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