The SoC in the new Nexus 7 is essentially an underclocked Snapdragon 600

by: Bogdan PetrovanJuly 27, 2013

nexus 7 s4 pro APQ8064–1AA AnandTech

I am not a mobile hardware expert, but I consider Brian Klug of AnandTech one, and here’s what he has to say about the way Qualcomm names its processors:

Yup, even Brian is confused about what exactly qualifies a Qualcomm chip to be called a Snapdragon 600 or a Snapdragon S4 Pro. And don’t get me started on the elusive difference between S4 Plus and Snapdragon 400…

The latest case of confused identity is the SoC inside the new Nexus 7. Officially, Qualcomm calls it a Snapdragon S4 Pro, just like the SoC inside the Nexus 4. Except the APQ8064–1AA features four Krait 300 CPU cores, instead of the four Krait 200 cores inside the Nexus 4. Moreover, there are 2GB of DDR3L-1600MHz SDRAM in there, instead of the LPDDR2 RAM found on the Nexus 4.

So, for all intents and purposes, Brian thinks, the APQ8064–1AA SoC inside the Nexus 7 is a Snapdragon 600 underclocked at 1.5GHz. Officially, S600 chips are clocked above 1.7GHz, which might explain why Qualcomm decided to call the APQ8064–1AA an S4 Pro.

The discrepancy between the S4 Pro inside the Nexus 4 and the S4 Pro inside the Nexus 7 (2013) explains why the new 7-inch tablet does really well in a series of benchmarks ran by AnandTech:

One other major improvement hardware-wise is the presence of improved eMMC flash storage modules. As a result, the 2013 Nexus 7 clearly outperforms the 2012 Nexus 7 in storage benchmarks, and we expect to see the difference to feel in real life as well.

What does all this technobabble mean for the average user? It means that the new Nexus 7 should perform vastly better than the old Nexus 7 or the Nexus 4, even if, at first sight, the differences between them aren’t that big. And that’s all that really matters at the end of the day.

  • Misti curia

    Even actual s4 pro’s arn’t far behind the snapdragon 600 its mostly just poor implementation of the stock s4 pro kernel. Thats why with a custom kernel (with stock frequencies) I can get 21000 on antutu nexus 4

  • SeraZR™

    Custom Kernels FTW! :D

    • George Av

      You got that right :D 1.9ghz nexus 7 here i come

    • Vardan Nazaretyan

      Flash a custom kernel, clock it to 1.7GHZ and you already have S600 in your Nexus 7!

    • Kaitensatsuma

      Its for the sake of battery life, thankfully I’ve never had to use anything for 9 hours straight. so 1.8ghz here I come.

  • Balraj

    wow…so nexus 7 2nd gen is in par with the latest flagship devices :D
    so rooting the device will get you s4 pro to s600 ;)

  • Bone

    At the end of the day, it’s an energy efficient SD600, and that is absolutely the best thing that could happen to the new N7, slightly underperforming in benchmarks compared to today’s elite devices, but for battery reasons.

    • stucrmnx120fshwf

      Absolutely, overpowered graphics for 1080p, under clocked, is a much better solution, than underpowered graphics over clocked, hope it’s a full A15, but fHD, 2GB LPDDR3, 4X graphics. As soon as they’ll let me, I’m buying one; Xbox one, PS4 are under clocked, to half speed, to keep them cool and long lasting, but they pull over a trillion floating point operations a second.

  • Magnetic1

    They could just put the 800 in there and call it nexus seven pro.

    • Roberto Tomás

      yea that would be worth the money they want for it. :)

      • stucrmnx120fshwf

        It’d even run LTE Advanced.

  • Roberto Tomás

    I see what you guys are saying, if the cores are higher, and the controllers are higher, why not just upclock it and call it a snapdragon 600? But — there is some other parts to this.
    ARM cores exist in clusters, along with their shared cache. The shared cache could be still fit for the lower bandwidth of the S4 Pro, and not the higher speeds and consumption of fully clocked Krait 300 / Snapdragon 600.

  • Jack Parker

    Isnt the Snapdragon 600 a A15? Where as the S4 Pro is an A9?

    • Dey Anand

      NO ! S600 and S4 pro both have a similar architechture like an A15 but they are not A15 AFAIK!

    • kascollet

      Qualcomm doesn’t use ARM’s core designs (Cortex family) : they design their own (Krait core). PErformance is somewhere between A15 and A9 for both S4 and S600.

      • Justin W

        As @descendency:disqus mentions, Krait cores are closer to the A9 as far as design goes, but are much closer to the A15 performance-wise.

        • kascollet

          Some interesting reading about A15-A9-Krait-Swift :

          • Andrew T Roach

            Its a good read. Anandtech had pretty high praise for the A6 and frankly the processor is still very powerful and incredibly snappy especially for being clocked at only 1.3ghz.

          • kascollet

            Apple’s Swift core is just the best available today if you consider the performance/Ghz ratio and thus the battery efficiency. I guess Apple had to put a LOT of money on the table to achieve such a performance.
            I wonder what’s coming in three weeks to power the new iPhone.

      • stucrmnx120fshwf

        I heard S4 pro was more akin to the budget compromise A12, where S 600 was nearer to full A15, could be wrong though.

      • Jack Parker

        thats strange, because the Snapdragon S4 pro in the nexus 4 scores a lot lower then the S3 or even HTC one x :/

        • Andrew T Roach

          That has to do with Google’s stock Kernel and how it interacts with the benchmarking software. Not the quality of the hardware itself. And it only scores lower than those phones in Quadrant Standard.

    • descendency

      They’re both Krait 300 cores. (which are competitors to the A15 based cores) Krait are closer to A9 cores in actual design, but their performance is closer to A15 cores.

  • Grman Rodriguez

    After the S4 pro I consider everything else overkill

  • TheBruh

    I could’ve sworn it was actually a Snapdragon s4 525.

    • stucrmnx120fshwf

      I think you might be right, some kind of upgraded S4 Pro, not quite Snapdragon 600, rumor mill says that the Nexus 5 is a Snapdragon 800, if so, I wish I had enough money left, after my N7FHD and N4.

  • descendency

    My impression was that the S600 was just an S4 Pro with a better binning requirement. I very well may be wrong, though.

    • Justin W

      Higher clock and better binning, basically. At least, that’s according to AnandTech’s mini review of the Nexus 7 (which is a good read, btw).

    • stucrmnx120fshwf

      S 600 has full A15, not an A12 like compromise cores and twice the graphics, it’s hard to keep up though, not everyone is a hardware jockey like me.

      • FloppyDisk

        A12? That core doesn’t even become available until mid 2014!

        • stucrmnx120fshwf

          I did say A12 like, half way between A9 and A15, is A12, not an A9, but not quite an A15 either, just as there are quad core cheap A7s out there, next year there will be cheap quad core A12s. Next year there will be 64 bit ARM chips, but I hope they’ll use something like Chromecast, as code bloatware has ruined the desktop, people have abandoned them for mobile devices. The new games consoles may show how powerful hardware can work, without being stifled, by a horror show, morass of software, tiny bits of code could exploit desktop hardware, such as RAM drive, hybridisation software. Instead of a hardware bog down, of tens of billions of bits of code, my computer has 120 GB of flash drive, 2 TB of HDD, 32 GB of 1.6 GHz RAM, yet it seems less user friendly than my 7″ tablet. I don’t mind Server 2012 being difficult, but I can’t for the life of me, see why a simple consumer operating system ought to be so much work, it used to be that if we supplied 10 times as much hardware power the software folk would use that to make the device 2 times as user friendly. Take the CPU it’s now 518 times as powerful as the original Pentium MMX, ( 8 times as many transistors, 8 times as many cores, at 8 times the speed.) 8*8*8=518, so it ought to be around 5 times as intuitive to use, yet it is’n’t, it’s around 5 times more difficult for the owner builder, I hope Tflop/s games machines work with tablets and UD TVs, after all $300 high end tablets, $700 UDTVs, $400 high end games machines, will all be here this year. They’ll be cheaper than one high end computer, mobile graphics can handle UD, it only takes an 8 MP camera for UD, at 1GB/s WiFi ac can download a UD movie in 4 minutes. Hope you found my techno babble amusing. Stu from Oz.

          • Besbes Souhaieb

            for a hardware jockey you are not allowed to make such errors ;)

          • stucrmnx120fshwf

            There is a calculator core app in Android, try eight times eight, times eight, now press the equals symbol and you ought to get five hundred and twelve. :-).

          • lee

            How pathetic.

          • stucrmnx120fshwf

            There is a calculator in the core apps of android, try 8 times eight times eight equals five hundred and twelve.

          • stucrmnx120fshwf

            Lol, I couldn’t work out what you were going on about. Your comment makes it seem as if you don’t believe it’s 512. If Einstein can make mistakes, so can I and I’m a thousand times dumber than him.

          • Besbes Souhaieb

            it’s not about the calculation error
            it’s about you being a pretentious mr know-it-all that knows s**t

      • Besbes Souhaieb

        you sir are a joke of a hardware jockey

  • hifonicy
  • agossow

    Using cm10.2 and Jassy release 5 kernel I’m getting around 27000 on antutu I’m in love with this device.