Qualcomm samples its newest Snapdragon CPUs

January 18, 2013

Bernard Cole-January 18, 2013

The first two of Qualcomm’s much anticipated next-gen quad-core Snapdragon system-on-chip processor chips is now being sampled.

Already being used in a number of designs, the Snapdragon 600 and 800 are powered by quad-core Krait 300 and Krait 400 processors. They are enhanced implementations of its currently used ARM-compatible Krait processor.

Some of the key changes in the family are support for LPDDR3 32-bit memory interfaces to provide memory bandwidth. In the case of the top of the range Snapdragon 800, this means support for UltraHD video rendering at an image resolution of about 4k by 2k pixels.

The quad-core Snapdragon 800 uses the Adreno 330 for its GPU and incorporates a range of integrated peripherals and capabilities including an LTE modem capable of category 4 150-Mbits per second communications.

The Snapdragon is implemented in a 28-nm high performance mobile (28HPM) manufacturing process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. that has a typical voltage regime of 0.9-volts but can still achieve up to 2.3-GHz clock frequency.

As a result, Snapdragon 800 processors should be able to deliver up to 75 percent better performance than the previous generation Snapdragon S4 Pro. The S4 Pro is also implemented in a 28-nm CMOS process.

The Adreno 330 GPU delivers more than twice the performance for compute applications over the current Adreno 320 GPU, Qualcomm said.

The Snapdragon 600 delivers up to 40 percent better performance than the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor at lower power while the Snapdragon 600 makes use of an Adreno 320 GPU but with expanded connectivity.

The Snapdragon 600 processor is sampling now and is expected to be available in commercial devices by second quarter 2013. The Snapdragon 800 processors are also sampling and expected to be in commercial devices by the middle of 2013.

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