Qualcomm Snapdragon

Qualcomm has just announced four new SoCs in its mid-tier Snapdragon 600 and 400 ranges, which aim to bring high-end performance and functionality to lower cost products.

Cortex-A72 powered Snapdragon 618 & 620

We’ll start with the biggest news. The new Snapdragon 618 and 620 are the first SoC’s to use ARM’s latest Cortex-A72 CPU core. The Cortex-A72 offers up to 3.5 times the peak performance of the last generation Cortex-A15 CPU and a 50 percent performance boost over the Cortex-A53. The Cortex-A72’s performance is comparable to the high-end Cortex-A57, which is powering Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 810, but the real aim is to lower power consumption.

The 618 and 620 will be built on a 28nm manufacturing process, so won’t see all of the performance and battery benefits touted during the announcement of ARM’s Cortex-A72. However, these new Snapdragon 600 series chips should still be able to close the gap on Qualcomm’s top-tier 20nm Snapdragon 810.

Cortex-A72-Highest-Perf-ARM-Cortex-Proc

The Snapdragon 618 will feature two Cortex-A72 cores paired with four energy efficient Cortex-A53 cores, configured in a big.LITTLE arrangement. The Snapdragon 620 features four Cortex-A72s and four Cortex-A53s, which could rival the Snapdragon 810 for peak performance. Qualcomm has not confirmed which GPUs it will be pairing up with the new SoC designs, other than that it will be using a “next-generation” Adreno GPU.

Qualcomm also announced additional features for these new 600 series Snapdragons. 4K video capture and playback support, including H.265 hardware decode, is taken from the 800 series and the SoCs come with Qualcomm’s X8 LTE modem, which offers up to 300Mbps download and 100Mbps upload speeds.

Octa-core Snapdragon 415 and 425

Moving on, the new 28nm Snapdragon 415 and 425 are Qualcomm’s latest low-end mobile processors, but the technology here is also receiving a major bump over the previous entries in the series. Qualcomm will be moving its new 400 series chips from four to eight cores. Both will come packing eight 64-bit Cortex-A53 CPU cores and Qualcomm’s in-house Adreno 405 GPU, much like the existing Snapdragon 615.

The Snapdragon 415 and 425 will also include features previously reserved for higher-end Snapdragon chips. These include, support for dual image sensors and two ISPs, Quick Charge 2.0 compatibility, and hardware decode support for 1080p H.264 video.

The major difference between these two 400 series chips comes down to LTE speeds. Both feature integrated LTE modems, but the 415 uses the X5 LTE module, which supports download and upload speeds of 150Mbps and 50Mbps respectively, while the Snapdragon 425 features the same X8 modem found in the new Snapdragon 618 and 620.

Qualcomm is also replacing the “Gobi” name on its modems with its more well-known “Snapdragon” branding. The infographic below shows where these renamed chips rank in terms of speed and in which SoCs you can expect to find them.

Qualcomm LTE Modems

The Snapdragon 415 is already available for sampling and should arrive in smartphones within the first half of this year, while the 425 should begin to appear in the second half of 2015. The Snapdragon 618 and 620 are also set to arrive in consumer devices sometime in H2 2015.

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