TechnologySnapdragon System-On-Chip Guide: An Overview of Qualcomm's Mobile Processors

Snapdragon System-On-Chip Guide: An Overview of Qualcomm’s Mobile Processors

In the world of Android smartphones, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips are by far the most common SoC. In the United States and a few other territories, Samsung’s Galaxy S range is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset.

In addition to Samsung, Snapdragon is used by Xiaomi, OnePlus, and pretty much every other company that produces flagship smartphones but also designs its own silicon. The odds are excellent that you are seeing this on a device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

However, you won’t have to spend a fortune on a flagship smartphone to find a Snapdragon chip inside. There is a wide range of processors available for smartphones. Let’s evaluate the latest SoCs from the company and outline what kinds of performance and features you can anticipate from each model.

Models of The Snapdragon 800 Series Are Top-Shelf.

Are you looking for the most cutting-edge Qualcomm smartphone CPU? The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is used in many high-end 2022 phones, including the Xiaomi 12, Galaxy S22, and Oppo Find X5 Pro. It is undoubtedly a member of the Snapdragon 800 family, Qualcomm’s most potent lineup of smartphone chipsets.

snapdragon

In comparison to the Snapdragon 888, the current generation’s flagship SoC, this new CPU seems to be a significant improvement. The 4nm chipset has an impressive octa-core CPU, consisting of one particularly potent Cortex-X2 core, three Cortex-A710 cores, and four Cortex-A510 cores for less intensive workloads.

Therefore, according to Qualcomm, you can anticipate a 20% performance boost and a 30% efficiency boost compared to the existing Snapdragon SoC. Our internal testing of the Galaxy S22 series confirmed that the improvements in CPU speed were minimal.

You can also anticipate cutting-edge graphics hardware, with Qualcomm’s newest Adreno GPU boasting a 30% speed gain and 25% efficiency rise compared to its predecessor.

The company claims a performance increase of up to 60% when using the Vulkan API compared to the previous-generation SoC. Our comparisons validate these improvements, however, they come with a steep loss in sustained performance.

Also: The Top Smartphones Available from Boost Mobile

The Snapdragon X65 5G modem, which can reach speeds of up to 10Gbps and works with both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G networks, is also built into the most recent chip. Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, a 200MP camera, 8K HDR recording, and Quick Charge 5 are also to be expected.

The Snapdragon 888 and 888 Plus from 2021 was the previous flagship processor family. The Xiaomi Mi 11, the United States Galaxy S21 series and the OnePlus 9 series are all phones powered by this family.

As far as processor power goes, the Snapdragon 888 series isn’t slouched either. The package contains a powerful Cortex-X1 processor, three energy-efficient Cortex-A78 processors, and four low-power Cortex-A55 processors. The Plus version is unique in that it provides a slightly faster clock speed on the Cortex-X1.

Qualcomm’s Flagship Gp Us Are Generally Considered to Be the Best out Of All Android Chipmakers, Making It Ideal for Mobile Gamers.

Additionally, the Snapdragon 888 series is the first flagship series to include an integrated 5G modem, and the GPU is excellent for modern games and emulators. It also has Quick Charge 5, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2, and can take 200MP photos and record in 8K.

Since Qualcomm also released the Snapdragon 870 and Snapdragon 860 in 2021, the Snapdragon 888 and 888 Plus aren’t the only Snapdragon 800 series CPUs available.

The Snapdragon 870, which was announced in the first several months of 2021, is only a slight improvement over the Snapdragon 865 and 865 Plus, which were the top-of-the-line processors in 2020.

One powerful Cortex-A77 core, three less powerful but still very capable Cortex-A77 cores, and four low-powered but efficient Cortex-A55 cores are featured in the tri-cluster CPU architecture of all three of these chipsets.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1Snapdragon 888/888 PlusSnapdragon 865/865 Plus/870
CPU
1x Cortex-X2
3x Cortex -A710
4x Cortex-A510
1x Cortex-X1
3x Cortex-A78
4x Cortex-A55
1x Cortex-A77
3x Cortex-A77
4x Cortex-A55
GPU
Adreno
Adreno 660
Adreno 650
DSP
Hexagon
Hexagon 780
Hexagon 698
Process
4nm
5nm
7nm FinFET
Modem
X65 LTE/5G (integrated)
10Gbps down
3000 Mbps up
X60 LTE/5G (integrated)
7500 Mbps down
3000 Mbps up
X55 LTE/5G (external)
7500 Mbps down
3000 Mbps up
Cameras
108MP single, 64MP+36MP dual, or 36MP triple
200MP snapshot
84MP single, 64MP+25MP dual, or 24MP triple
200MP snapshot
64MP single or 25MP dual
200MP snapshot

Quick Charge
5
5
4+
Bluetooth
5.2
5.2
5.2 (5.1 for 865)

 

The Adreno 650 GPU found in all three processors is still very capable, and it can run many modern games and emulators with ease. Although the three vary in clock speed, the performance and capabilities are very similar.

The Snapdragon 860 was also introduced by Qualcomm in 2021. The Snapdragon 855 Plus is essentially the same thing for 2019 with a few modest improvements. Support for external displays has been enhanced, and extra RAM may now be addressed, among these improvements.

However, smartphones with the Snapdragon 860 are still capable of running complex games and other apps smoothly. However, you won’t be able to take advantage of the latest features offered by the aforementioned chipsets, such as 5G connectivity, 8K video recording, or lightning-fast photography.

The OnePlus 9R, Vivo X60 Pro, Motorola Moto G100, and the Redmi K40 are just a few of the devices that use the Snapdragon 870 chipset. The mid-range Poco X3 Pro uses the Snapdragon 860, which is a step below the 870 in terms of performance.

From its inception until the release of the Snapdragon 821 in 2016, Qualcomm provided CPU cores that it had designed in-house. However, it now relies on Arm’s Cortex cores, which it borrows and modifies.

It recently announced its acquisition of CPU manufacturer Nuvia and its intention to incorporate Nuvia’s technology into future products such as laptops, flagship smartphones, and more. It seems likely, then, that individualized central processing unit cores will be available once again within the next year or two.

The San Diego firm has also put a lot of money on other pieces of silicon for its chipsets, like graphics processing units, mobile network controllers, and camera image signal processors.

Over time, the chipmaker has also improved its machine learning silicon, making it better able to do things like recognize faces, scenes, subjects, and objects, and even perform natural language processing.

There are other companies that Qualcomm produces top-tier mobile processors. Other high-end chipsets include the MediaTek Dimensity 9000, the HiSilicon Kirin 9000 from Huawei, and the Samsung Exynos 2200.

When it comes to features, capabilities, and reputation, the Snapdragon 800 family is typically thought to be on top, but we’re curious to see how the Density 9000 compares against the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

Connecting the Dots: Snapdragon 700 Series

The Snapdragon 800 series from Qualcomm is the most user-friendly, whereas the 700 series is a bit more complicated. This is because there are so many of them and because some mid-range and budget chips have begun to appear in the 600 series.

snapdragon

The Snapdragon 780G is the most advanced and cutting-edge member of the Snapdragon 700 series, which is effectively a family of high-end midrange CPUs.

The 780G, set for release in the first half of 2021, will share the same 5nm design as the Snapdragon 888, as well as support mmWave and sub-6GHz variants of 5G and a three-tiered CPU architecture.

You can see one 2.4GHz Cortex-A78 core, three 2.2GHz Cortex-A78 cores, and four 1.0GHz Cortex-A55 cores. Specifically, the CPU is competitive with other industry leaders, such as Huawei’s Kirin 9000 and MediaTek’s older Density 1200.

The Adreno 642 GPU found in the Snapdragon 780G is supposed to provide performance on par with flagships from a few years ago. According to Anandtech, the graphics performance will be greater than on Snapdragon 855 phones, but it will still lag behind the Snapdragon 865 handsets that will be released in 2020. Compared to Qualcomm’s earlier flagship chipsets, that’s still a significant improvement for a mid-range processor.

Qualcomm then released the Snapdragon 778G and 778G Plus, which, on paper, offer significantly less impressive specifications than the 780G. Compared to the 780G, which used a 5nm manufacturing design, this series uses a 6nm design and nevertheless provides the same number of CPU cores and graphical processing units (GPU).

At the time of the 778G’s release, the business also informed us that it was employing a different foundry to manufacture these chips, likely to avoid the widespread chip shortage.

Snapdragon 780GSnapdragon 778G/778G PlusSnapdragon 768G/765/765GSnapdragon 750G
CPU
2x Kryo 670 (Cortex-A78)
6x Kryo 670 (Cortex-A55)
2x Kryo 670 (Cortex-A78)
6x Kryo 670 (Cortex-A55)
2x Kryo 475 (Cortex-A76)
6x Kryo 475 (Cortex-A55)
2x Kryo 475 (Cortex-A77)
6x Kryo 475 (Cortex-A55)
GPU
Adreno 642
Adreno 642L
Adreno 620
Adreno 619
DSP
Hexagon 770
Hexagon 770
Hexagon 696
Hexagon 570
Modem
Snapdragon X53 5G/LTE
5G – 3300Mbps down, uplink TBC
Snapdragon X53 5G/LTE
5G – 3300Mbps down, uplink TBC
Snapdragon X52 5G/LTE
5G – 3700Mbps down, 1600Mbps up
Snapdragon X52 5G/LTE
5G – 3700Mbps down, 1600Mbps up
Cameras
84MP single, 64MP+20MP dual, 25MP+25MP+25MP triple
192MP snapshot
64MP single,
36MP+22MP dual,
22MP+22MP+22MP triple
192MP snapshot
32MP single or 22MP dual
192MP snapshot
32MP single or 22MP dual
192MP snapshot
Quick Charge
4+
4+
4+
4+
Bluetooth
5.2
5.2
5.0 (765, 765G)
5.2 (768G)
5.1
Process
5nm
6nm
7nm
8nm

 

Qualcomm’s first affordable 5G processors, the Snapdragon 765 series, 750G, and 768G, were released in 2020. All of these chipsets have strong graphical muscle, a 1+1+6 CPU architecture, 7nm or 8nm architectures, and full 5G support.

However, the 750G uses newer CPU cores than its siblings, giving it a theoretical performance edge. However, as compared to the 765 and 768G CPUs, this decreases graphic performance, machine learning power, and camera capabilities.

The Snapdragon 765G processor was used by certain manufacturers in their top devices in 2020, including the Google Pixel 5 and the LG Velvet. That’s how advanced modern processors have become. With the release of the Snapdragon 800 series from Qualcomm and the introduction of Google’s own silicon for the Pixel 6 series, this trend mostly halted in 2021.

If you’re looking for a powerful and feature-rich smartphone without breaking the bank, look no further than the Snapdragon 700 series.

Snapdragon 730 series, Snapdragon 732G, and Snapdragon 720G are some examples of 4G-enabled Snapdragon 700 series processors that are still in use by manufacturers. When it comes to strength and capability, these are the next in line. We have strong Spectra image signal processors and octa-core CPUs with two Cortex-A76 CPUs and six Cortex-A55 cores for high-resolution imaging.

These chipsets can take photos at 192 megapixels, although their maximum resolution for processing several frames is far lower (e.g. HDR, night mode). The lack of 8K resolution is mirrored here, but at least 4K at 30 frames per second is assured.

The Snapdragon 600 Series: The Best Bang for Your Buck

The Snapdragon 600 series is aimed squarely at the sub-$300 market, whereas the Snapdragon 700 series attempts to bridge the gap between mid-range and flagship. We use the phrase “primarily” since preliminary testing suggests the Snapdragon 695 can compete with Snapdragon 700-series chips.

The CPU is an octa-core design (2x Cortex-A77 and 6x Cortex-A55), while the GPU is the same Adreno 619 found in the Snapdragon 750G from 2017. Wi-Fi 6, machine learning silicon, a 13-megapixel triple camera, a 108-megapixel single camera, and 4K video capture are all included.

Snapdragon 695Snapdragon 690Snapdragon 680Snapdragon 675/670
CPU
2x Kryo 660 (Cortex-A78)
6x Kryo 660 (Cortex-A55)
2x Kryo 560 (Cortex-A77)
6x Kryo 560 (Cortex-A55)
4x Kryo 260 (Cortex-A73)
4x Kryo 260 (Cortex-A53)
4x Cortex-A53
4x Cortex-A53
GPU
Adreno 619
Adreno 619L
Adreno 610
Adreno 505
RAM
LPDDR4X
LPDDR4X
LPDDR3
LPDDR3
DSP
Hexagon 686
Hexagon 692
Hexagon Tensor Accelerator
Hexagon 686
Hexagon 536
Modem
X51 5G
2,500Mbps down
900Mbps up
X51 5G
2,500Mbps down
900Mbps up
X11 4G
390Mbps down
150Mbps up
X6 LTE
150Mbps down
75Mbps up
Cameras
32MP single or 16MP dual
(192MP snapshot)
32MP single or 16MP dual
(192MP snapshot)
32MP single
13MP dual
13MP+13MP+5MP triple
64MP snapshot
12MP single or 8MP dual
Quick Charge
4+
4+
3.0
3.0
Bluetooth
5.2
5.1
5.1
5.0
Process
6nm
8nm FinFET
6nm
12nm FinFET

 

The Snapdragon 695 replaces the 690 from the previous year. This new chip is quite identical to the 690, with the exception that it has newer CPU cores and supports just two cameras instead of three. However, Qualcomm claims that the new chip is 15% faster in the CPU and 30% faster in the GPU than its predecessor.

In addition to the 695, Qualcomm also introduced the 680, which is unique among the aforementioned chips in that it is designed specifically for use in 4G devices. It appears to have been adapted from the more affordable Snapdragon 665 SoC, with which it shares the Adreno 610 GPU, Hexagon 686 DSP, and Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging, as well as some older CPU cores (four Cortex-A73 and four Cortex-A53). However, there are enhancements, including support for Bluetooth 5.1 and a smaller 6nm manufacturing process (resulting in greater efficiency).

The Snapdragon 675 and 670 are older chipsets that are no longer in widespread use because of their exclusivity to 4G and the fact that they were released in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

These two SoCs are very similar to the original Snapdragon 700 series CPUs (e.g. Snapdragon 710). Both the 670 and 675 Snapdragons have high-performance Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A76 CPU cores with energy-efficient Cortex-A55 cores.

You can also count on Bluetooth 5 compatibility, Quick Charge 4+ support, and aged but serviceable GPUs (albeit inferior to the 700 series). Similarly to the 700 series, the 670 and 675 bring capabilities including 4K recording, 192MP snapshots, and 48MP images with multi-frame processing.

The Snapdragon 400 Family: The Affordable Option

Here we are at the entry-level smartphone-focused Snapdragon series, which features the least powerful processors (outside of the dormant Snapdragon 200 family). However, there is good news, since the newest Snapdragon 400 chipset is a significant upgrade.

The Snapdragon 480 is the first Snapdragon 400 series processor to support 5G. In April of 2021, it was officially announced. With mmWave 5G connectivity, the same Adreno 619 GPU, the same 8nm manufacturing process, Quick Charge 4 Plus technology, and support for FHD+ 120Hz displays, this is effectively a scaled-down version of the Snapdragon 750G chipset.

snapdragon

However, there are some drawbacks, like slower 5G speeds, an older processor (2x Cortex-A76 and 6x Cortex-A55 cores), and less remarkable camera features (no 4K video, 64MP snapshot capability).

In any case, this is a significant improvement over the 400 series, which lacked both modern CPU technology and 5G connectivity until now. Theoretically, this CPU is also superior to every Snapdragon chip from the previous generation, up to and including the newest 600 series.

Late in 2021, Qualcomm released the Snapdragon 480 Plus as a marginally better version of the original chip.

Also: The Top 7 Sony Bluetooth Headphones Available in August 2022

Snapdragon 480/480 PlusSnapdragon 460Snapdragon 450Snapdragon 439
CPU
2x Kryo 460 (Cortex-A76)
6x Kryo 460 (Cortex-A55)
4x Kryo 240 (Cortex-A73)
4x Kryo 240 (Cortex-A53)
8x 1.8Ghz Cortex-A53
4x 1.95Ghz Cortex-A53
4x 1.45Ghz Cortex-A53
GPU
Adreno 619
Adreno 610
Adreno 506
Adreno 505
DSP
Hexagon 686
Hexagon 683
Hexagon 546
Hexagon 536
Modem
Snapdragon X51 5G
2500Mbps down, 660Mbps up
Snapdragon X11 LTE
390Mbps down,
150Mbps up
Snapdragon X9 LTE
300Mbps down, 150Mbps up
Snapdragon X6 LTE
150Mbps down, 75Mbps up
Cameras
25MP single or 25MP+13MP dual
64MP snapshot

32MP single or 22MP dual
192MP snapshot
48MP single or 22MP dual
192MP snapshot
21MP single or 8MP dual
Quick Charge
4+
3.0
3.0
3.0
Bluetooth
5.1
5.1
4.1
5.0
Process
8nm
11nm FinFET
14nm FinFET
12nm FinFET

 

The Snapdragon 460, which supported 4G before the release of the 480, is quite similar to the Snapdragon 662. This features the same GPU, support for HEIF, Bluetooth 5.1, and even 48MP multi-frame capture capabilities; the CPU cores are older but still decent at four Cortex-A73 and four Cortex-A53.

Prior to 2019, the best chipsets in this line were the Snapdragon 450 and 439. These featured octa-core architectures with underpowered Cortex-A53 cores, very slow LTE speeds, and mediocre Adreno 500-series GPUs.

In other words, these processors will make it more difficult for the phone to handle complex games, poor camera results, and general system chores. The use of 14nm and 12nm manufacturing technologies contribute to their respective relatively low power consumption.

In the past, consumers who prioritized features such as rapid charging, the most recent Bluetooth standard, and high-quality cameras had to search elsewhere. As luck would have it, the Snapdragon 460 and 480 are introducing significant upgrades to this tier.

If you’re looking for the most recent and greatest features and the best performance, you should still look at phones with Snapdragon 700 or 800 CPUs, but competition is heating up in this space.

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