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Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 announced: What the regular chipset should've been?
- Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset.
- The refreshed SoC is manufactured by TSMC rather than Samsung.
- The company also announced the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1.
Qualcomm has regularly released mid-year Plus refreshes of its flagship silicon for a few years now, offering small gains for CPU and GPU performance and efficiency. This year is no different, the company has now announced the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1.
True to the rumors, the refreshed chipset is a 4nm design manufactured by TSMC rather than a Samsung-made 4nm chip like the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Although Qualcomm does swap foundries, this quite possibly marks the first time we’ve seen Qualcomm switch chip foundries mid-year for a Plus processor. So what does this mean, then?
A major battery boost
Perhaps the biggest upgrade is a claimed 30% efficiency improvement for the CPU and GPU. We’ll need to put this claim to the test, but this theoretically should result in notably longer battery life compared to standard 8 Gen 1 devices.
In fact, Qualcomm dished out a number of specific endurance improvements with the refreshed SoC. It says the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 allows you to game for almost an hour longer, stream video for 80 more minutes, and offers 5.5 hours more talk time.
The chipmaker adds that you can also get up to 17 more hours of music playback, 50 more minutes of social media browsing, and 25 more minutes of 5G video calls over WeChat.
These endurance claims do lend credence to the suggestion that TSMC’s 4nm manufacturing process is more efficient than Samsung’s process used for the vanilla Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Exynos 2200. After all, Qualcomm didn’t announce any massive efficiency gains for the Snapdragon 888 Plus and 865 Plus in 2021 and 2020 respectively.
What else does the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 offer?
Qualcomm is also bringing several other improvements to the table. This includes a 10% CPU clock speed boost, with the Cortex-X2 core now running at 3.2GHz, and a 10% boost for GPU clock speeds. Other claimed gains include a 20% performance-per-watt boost and 15% overall SoC power savings based on a variety of use cases.
This is the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset otherwise, so you’ve still got the same CPU layout, that Adreno 730 GPU, and the Snapdragon X65 modem.
Why the decision to go with TSMC, though? Is it because the Taiwanese chip manufacturer is simply more efficient? Well, Qualcomm chipset product manager Cindy Lei told us on the sidelines of its 5G Summit that it went with TSMC in a bid to diversify its sources, adding that this move was part of a “dual-sourcing initiative” within the company. There is an ongoing global chip shortage to contend with too.
Qualcomm told Android Authority that it expects the first phones with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 to launch in Q3 2022. It added that virtually all major OEMs bar Sony and Sharp have publicly thrown their weight behind devices with the SoC. More specifically, it noted in a follow-up press release that ASUS ROG, Black Shark, HONOR, Iqoo, Lenovo, Motorola, nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, OSOM, realme, REDMAGIC, Redmi, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE have all pledged support.
It’s also worth noting that Samsung isn’t present on the list, but this isn’t unusual as the Galaxy maker traditionally doesn’t allow itself to be named as an OEM for these announcements.
Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 revealed
This wasn’t the only chipset announced today, as the firm also revealed the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 SoC. This is the first chipset in the Snapdragon 700 series to switch to the “Gen” naming convention.
Qualcomm didn’t disclose the model of CPU cores used here, bar saying it’s an octa-core design comprising a prime core at 2.4GHz, three performance cores at 2.36GHz, and four efficiency cores clocked at 1.8GHz. The company didn’t confirm any specific model number for the Adreno GPU either, simply saying it offered a 20% increase in GPU power over the Snapdragon 778G. Otherwise, the company added that the new chipset has a 30% improvement in machine learning performance as well.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 or MediaTek Dimensity 8100?
Other notable Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 features include QHD+ display support at 60Hz (or FHD+ at 144Hz), 200MP camera support via the 14-bit ISP, and Quick Charge 4 Plus capabilities. Connectivity features include a Snapdragon X62 5G modem with 3GPP Release 16 capabilities and 4.4Gbps downlink speeds, Bluetooth 5.3, and Wi-Fi 6E when coupled with Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900 setup.
Expect the first devices with this chipset to debut later in Q2 2022. HONOR, OPPO, and Xiaomi are three of the publicly confirmed brands pledging to offer devices with the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1.
Hadlee Simons was a guest of Qualcomm at its 5G Summit in San Diego. Qualcomm paid for his travel and accommodation.