Qualcomm's new flagship mobile processor is called the Snapdragon 888.
It is a complex system on a chip, which includes not only the processor itself, but also a graphics processing chip, a machine learning module, a signal module, a modem 5G and a sensor hub. The new SoC has an incredible amount of possibilities. As usual, it will become faster and more energy efficient than previous generations of the Snapdragon 800 series and will provide the flagship smartphones of 2021 with an expanded set of features.
A full overview of the features of Snapdragon 888 is written by many publications. We will focus on five key features.
5 nm manufacturing process - a new level of energy efficiency
The development of the mobile industry is significantly ahead of the development of other microprocessors. Qualcomm, Apple, Huawei and Samsung are already mastering 5nm chipset manufacturing, while 10-14nm is still considered the industry standard for desktop PC components.
The high density of transistors has several advantages. Firstly, this leads to a reduction in the size of the microcircuit itself, and secondly, it provides higher energy efficiency compared to 7 nm chipsets of the current generation. New ARM Cortex-A78 cores and an updated machine learning engine also bring important changes. With them, the Snapdragon 888 will become Qualcomm's highest performing flagship chip ever.
Qualcomm notes that Snapdragon 888 wins not only in terms of raw processing power.
It outperforms last year's Snapdragon 865 in terms of power consumption. That is, smartphones based on this chipset will be able to work longer with an active screen. This is very reassuring information as the 2020 trend towards 5G and high refresh rate displays has taken a toll on device autonomy.
Even more gaming power
Snapdragon 888 is expected to also surprise with graphics performance : 35% faster rendering, with overall efficiency improved by 20%. This is a major leap forward, as the difference between 40 FPS and a stable 60 is visible to the naked eye, and going from 90 FPS to 120 also affects the quality of the gaming experience.
Overall performance improvements are good, but the Snapdragon 888's graphics capabilities don't stop there. The chipset supports 10-bit graphics HDR, forward rendering, it is suitable for screens with a maximum refresh rate of 144 frames per second. For the smoothness of drawing, reducing input delay and subpixel rendering meet the new Variable Rate Shading engine and Qualcomm Game Quick Touch technology.
In general, gamers have something to rejoice. Snapdragon 888 shows a serious jerk forward in the field of Snapdragon 888.
Integrated Module 5G
This time Qualcomm decided not to separate the 5G module from the main SOC: Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 will be an integral part of Snapdragon 888. A similar solution already exists in the form Snapdragon 765, only this SOC is not flagship, but the middle level, and the 5G modem in it is used slower.
Previously, Qualcomm explained that the large size and relatively high power consumption of Snapdragon X55 prevented add functions 5G to the main crystal. So the transition to 5 nm TechProcess has a positively affected here. Now the company has the possibility of integrating a powerful communication module and a flagship processor on one silicon plate.
Integrated components, as a rule, a reduced energy consumption is characterized, since less energy is spent on moving data between chips. Also, the smaller area of the silicon component itself implies that the released space inside the case will be able to take other equipment, such as a battery. Therefore, the autonomy of mobile devices of the coming generation will not be worse.
With regard to the cost of manufacturing SOC new type, they must decrease, although the cost of Qualcomm components refused to comment.
The volume of data for machine learning increases twice in
Machine training - part of modern mobile processors. It is quite natural that Qualcomm did not disregard the possibilities of AI in Snapdragon 888.
The chipset combines the components of artificial intelligence, offers a 3-fold increase in performance per 1 W and up to 26 trillion operations per second. The possibilities of AI in a constantly active sensory hub: voice recognition and other steel functions are an order of magnitude better at relatively low power.
But in order to use the potential of the new iron to the maximum, appropriate software instruments are needed. Qualcomm Ai Engine Direct acts as an entry point for Android NN, TENSOR Flow and Qualcomm SDK. The AI Qualcomm platform now supports open source TVM compiler, allowing developers to program on Python, not with or assembly. The whole Qualcomm AI engine has become easier to use.
If you do not delve into complex terms, then the essence is as follows. Smartphone based on Snapdragon 888 will be high quality work with art filters. Machine learning will become faster and more accurate. In this case, the battery consumption will be less than before.
Maximum from the triple chamber
For several years, triple cameras have been firmly settled on the back panel of flagship smartphones. But the world in place is not worth it: what seemed the limit of perfection two years ago, today it looks mediocre. For this reason, Qualcomm has updated image processing tools in Snapdragon 888. ISP Spectra 580, consisting of three modules, demonstrates a colossal computational force - 2.7 gigapixel per second.
Snapdragon 888 is able to parallel to process the image from three cameras.
This allows you to shoot immediately to the main, wide-angle lens and the telephone or the simultaneous shooting on the front and rear cameras. Also, more advanced image processing from one camera when the machine learning module is activated.
There is a support for a 10-bit HDR video, 4K HDR and 12 MP serial shooting at a speed of 120 frames per second. However, the final result of all these functions will depend strongly on how the manufacturer of the smartphone is ordered by them. Therefore, in different smartphones of the next generation, the same modes can give different results.
Superior graphic potential and communication functions, extended gamers and significant progress in the field of AI, supporting multiple cameras - that's what we can expect from the smartphones of the upcoming generation. Compared to Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon 888 shows high-quality improvements in many indicators, although they are difficult to call them revolutionary - rather, it is just the evolution of existing technologies, but the evolution is high-quality and definitely worthy of attention. Waiting for not long: the first quarter of 2021 will present us the first smartphones based on Snapdragon 888.