Qualcomm is currently holding their Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii, and after announcing the new Snapdragon 845 platform yesterday, today they’re announcing what’s actually included.
The Snapdragon 845, is basically an improvement on this years CPU darling the Snapdragon 835 which is powering most of the smartphones we know and love. The focus for the SD845 appears to be in four key areas: XR which includes Augmented and Virtual Reality, improved UHD video/picture capture, Artificial Intelligence (Neural Networks) and security.
The SD845 System on Chip (SoC) includes an Octa-Core Qualcomm Kryo 385 CPU built on the 2nd generation 10nm LPP (Low Power Plus), it runs the usual big.LITTLE config which includes 4x performance up to 2.8GHz + 4x efficiency cores up to 1.8GHz. The Kyro 385 offers power savings as well as performance increases, with Qualcomm stating that the performance cores offer up 25 percent performance uplift compared to previous generations.
The SD845 uses the Adreno 630 GPU bringing improved eXtended Reality (XR) performance. Qualcomm says the Adreno 630 is the first processor to enable Room-Scale VR for mobile XR headsets. Features to enhance XR include support for ‘six degrees of freedom (6DoF) and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM)’ allowing for freedom of movement in Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality environments.
The platform utilises the 3rd generation Hexagon 685 DSP (Digital signal processor) which includes support for 64x more colours than before with access to a billion shades of colours. The DSP can also be used to enhance XR and gaming. Best of all you’ll get HDR quality UHD capture at 60 frames per second.
As the flavour of the year, Qualcomm is including more support for neural networks. Previously they have supported both Google’s Tensor Flow and Facebook’s Caffe/Caffe2 frameworks but the new Processing Engine (NPE) SDK now supports Tensorflow Lite and the new Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX). This should improve support for voice activation, which is also supported by the Kyro 385 CPU.
Qualcomm has also implemented what they call the secure processing unit (SPU), a hardware isolated subsystem that’s designed to keep your biometric data more secure.
Finally, the SoC includes an X20 LTE modem capable of speeds up to 1.2 Gbps and support for the new multi-gigabit 802.11ad standard as well as the usual integrated 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO.
Qualcomm says the SD845 chips are currently sampling with OEMs and we’ll start to see the Snapdragon 845 in smartphones, XR headsets and always connected PCs from early 2018.