Print 27 comment(s) - last by ssnova703.. on Mar 6 at 11:00 PM

Snapdragon 800 will air this summer, boost CPU speeds and the on-die GPU

NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) in January made the bold claim that its Tegra 4 system-on-a-chip (SoC) was "the world's fastest mobile processor".  At the 2013 Mobile World Congress, the company was busy preaching that claim and praising the chips potential for smartphones/tablets.  The 28 nm Tegra 4 packs four cores running at up to 1.9 GHz, plus a low-power companion core, and is paired with 72 GPU processing units.

Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) is unphased, though, by NVIDIA's bold rhetoric.  In an interview with The Verge, Qualcomm's Senior VP of Product Management, Raj Talluri, said that the Snapdragon 800 should "easily" beat Tegra 4 in most benchmarks.  He's also confident that despite the die-shrink Tegra will still be more power hungry than Snapdragon, due to its lack of an on-die LTE modem.  He adds that his company is "more focused on shipping products" than refuting rivals' braggadocio.

So far about 50 upcoming products have been announced or leaked that feature the Snapdragon 800, which begins sampling next quarter.  The chip packs a quad-core processor clocked at up to 2.3 GHz, on-die LTE, and a fresh GPU, the Adreno 330.

Qualcomm is confident that the Snapdragon 800 willl still be more than enough to hold off the Tegra 4i (Grey), the refined version of Tegra 4 that's slated to land later this year.  Tegra 4i and Snapdragon 800 are somewhat similar on paper -- both are clockd at up to 2.3 GHz, both feature four primary CPU cores, both feature an on-die LTE modem.

Snapdragon 800
Qualcomm is confident the Snapdragon 800 won't be beat. [Image Source: Liliputing]

But Qualcomm is also focused on keeping dominant on the low end.  Its Snapdragon 200 (1.4 GHz quad-core, Adreno 203) will be aimed at sub-$100 USD smartphones, its Snapdragon 400 (1.4 GHz quad-core or up to 1.7 GHz dual-core, plus Adreno 305) will be aimed at $100-300 USD phones.

Currently Qualcomm's high-end chip is the Snapdragon 600 (1.9 GHz quad-core, Adreno 320).  The Snapdragon 600 has already scored some important early design wins, such as the HTC One from HTC Corp. (TPE:2498).

Qualcomm and NVIDIA can't focus solely on each other, though -- they also have to contend with the likes of Intel Corp. (INTC), whose 22 nm chips will soon hit the mobile space.  And then there's Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) both of whom make their own proprietary ARM cores.  By merit of their massive market shares, they also effectively drive the processor market.

Source: The Verge

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ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By maxxcool on 2/27/2013 1:24:35 PM , Rating: 0
The chip packs a quad-core processor clocked at up to 2.3 GHz, on-die LTE, and a fresh GPU, the Adreno 330. - See more at:

The battery will need to be HUGE to support a full throttle that beast with LTE sucking away at the teat as well.

i'd be happier with a max clock of 1.5ghz and have an assload of battery life. It's not like the GPU cannot handle a 1080 decode on it's own already..

overkill and phone-penis ...

RE: ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By Pirks on 2/27/2013 1:42:12 PM , Rating: 2
The battery will need to be HUGE
Razr HD Maxx

RE: ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By ssnova703 on 2/27/2013 8:38:20 PM , Rating: 3
Anand debunked and explained the whole higher gHZ's correlating with battery life.

If done right higher ghz= better battery life

I'd have to dig up the article, but essentially Anand explained that the faster the CPU is done with it's task, the quicker it can go back to idle-like states, thus saving battery power... so think... instead of taking 12 sec to load a page while loading out a 1.5ghz cpu... let's say it only takes 5 sec to load that same website with a newer 1.9ghz cpu..and thus going back to a lower freq state...and thus saving battery....

RE: ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By charleski on 3/3/2013 7:14:53 AM , Rating: 2
This idea first surfaced openly with Intel's HUGI (Hurry Up and Get Idle, also known as Deep Power Down) marketing-speak that they used to champion Centrino 2 back in 2007.

It's a bit iffy because it relies on savings in static power draw from ancillary components outweighing the V^2f increases from the faster CPU. This is highly dependent on the way the device is used. In some cases there is no 'doing it right' unless you can break the laws of thermodynamics, but if your CPU design inflicts a large power penalty simply for having a core active then you may well see a benefit.

I'd be intrigued to see a CPU that's 27% faster load a webpage in under half the time - that would certainly be magical...

By ssnova703 on 3/6/2013 11:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
You and your antics, I was trying to dumb it down, you mistook the big picture in order to attempt to look smart. As for my rough analogy, go look up generations between arm cortex and sunspider benchmarks. That's what I meant by "done right", meaning engineered with HUGI-like-concepts in mind(no breaking the law of physics here, mr. smartypants), rather than what the OP originally implied-that it would be running at full throttle, max frequency at all times, thus equating to much lower battery life. When simply, this is not the case with the newer, more "efficient" progression(by whatever engineering means)to achieve a "faster" chip, by tweaking algorithms, pre-processes, schedulers, etc.

The point, iphone 3GS vs iphone 4S, battery capacity is less than 200mAh's, end result, iphone 4S is more efficient, faster, better, despite high clock rate in it's cpu(yeah yeah, I can go and reference every single part), but if you don't get the point, you're one irrational and prideful idiot. Oh no! "it can't be done!"

You're attempt to appear technical has made you lose touch with the big picture and argument. Which if you stopped for a second to think as an Engineer, you would see that you would agree with me.

RE: ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By wuZheng on 2/27/2013 1:46:43 PM , Rating: 2
You're right that the whole oversimplification of processor specifications to generate hype thing has reached the mobile world.

However, you are wrong in your assertion that because the part has more cores and a higher clock that it will necessarily take more power to run. Did you think that digital designers just take on more transistors to an old design, redo the layout, and call it a day? If it were that easy, we'd get phones with new parts every quarter.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of changes to the core components of the design of each module inside the chip. An average SoC contains hundreds of such modules (top-level). So in fact, a Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) quad-core running @ 2.3GHz could potentially use less power than an MSM8960 dual core chip clocked @ 1.5GHz. Operative word being could because nobody has real world numbers yet.

Also, the MSM8860 doesn't employ extensive clock gating technologies (power saving mechanism by partially disabling portions of logic on-die), hopefully the MSM8974 addresses this.

By eagle470 on 2/27/2013 1:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
Lets not forget the now widely support ability to turn cores off and on at the firmware level.

As a side note, some SPARC systems allow you to actually throttle the clock speed on the fly based on current usage, applications running, peak usage times, etc. Don't be surprised to see that flow over to the ARM world eventually.

Granted it's all buggy and flawed at first, but I seem to remember the same being true for computer 20 years ago. Mobile processing is still young.

RE: ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By FITCamaro on 2/27/2013 2:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think his point is that the same chip clocked lower would mean longer battery life AND still be far more than adequate for a phone.

I agree that I only need so much power in a phone. A phone is a terrible gaming platform for any serious game. And its not like Words with Friends needs buttloads of computing power.

RE: ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By eagle470 on 2/27/2013 3:49:27 PM , Rating: 3
For now, give it time and your phone will have that docking station that motorola tried and failed with. The phones just couldn't do enough. The phone is what will kill the desktop. Not the tablet.

By Spuke on 2/27/2013 6:39:46 PM , Rating: 2
The phone is what will kill the desktop. Not the tablet.
X2, you guys are thinking small time. The intention here is to invalidate laptops and desktops. Phones and tablets will be your computing devices. In order for this to happen, mobile devices need to be just as powerful as the one's they're replacing. IMO, they'll be BETTER than today's desktops/laptops.

RE: ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By anactoraaron on 2/27/2013 2:12:33 PM , Rating: 2
It wouldn't matter if your quad core SoC was at 1.5 or 3.0. Your biggest drain will be the 4.5-5" display. The display will always be the biggest battery hog.

FWIW, having a faster clock speed is a good thing as it follows the 'hurry up and get idle' approach to conserve power.

Throw in a custom kernel/driver and add in a stable UV (undervolt) and you will increase power efficiency - even at the highest clock speed.

RE: ghz stupidity moves to the phones...
By name99 on 2/27/2013 2:33:23 PM , Rating: 3
"It wouldn't matter if your quad core SoC was at 1.5 or 3.0. Your biggest drain will be the 4.5-5" display. The display will always be the biggest battery hog. - See more at:"

And yours is a perfect example of people evaluating technology by looking backwards rather than forwards.
The way we use our phones TODAY has power dominated by the screen. But it doesn't have to be that way. A phone which spends most of its life sensing the environment and deciding how to respond has a very different power profile.
You can see a very early version of this sort of thing today in, for example
- apps which sense how much you move when you sleep, and wake you up not at a specific time but when you are in lightest sleep
- Apple's location-based notifications

There's no reason this sort of thing shouldn't grow. I would not be surprised if future phones come with a feature that detects dramatic deceleration (eg car crash), generates some UI (ringing and suchlike) to ask if people are OK, and if that UI is not silenced, calls 911. etc etc.

These sorts of features require logic that can run 24/7 at very low power levels.

[I'm not defending quad-core, which I think is a stupid way to spend transistors today --- maybe it will make sense in 2016.
And this is not relevant to high GHz --- the point of high GHz is to make the UI snappy, and if it only runs a few minutes a day, that's fine, as long as it does its job of being fast when needed.
The point is, when you look at what you want (or could want) from a phone, there's a tremendous spectrum of possibilities, and ideally you'd support all of them.

IMHO the best way to do this involves a really low-power companion core (not big.LITTLE) for 24/7 action; much like the really low power ARM cores that are hidden inside the baseband on some cellular chips.
Perhaps what we will eventually evolve to is both
- a big.LITTLE config (high end CPU for snappiness, with very similar low-power CPU for bulk work while user is thinking and deciding what to tap next --- you want both, largely identical and paired so it's very easy and cheap to move from one to the other)
- AND an ultra low-power core that is doing the 24/7 sensor stuff and deciding when to send some sort of alert on to the more capable cores.]

By inighthawki on 2/27/2013 3:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
You do not need much processing power to do any of those kinds of tasks. Most of what you described already happens. Phone are never completely turned off, and perform slight amounts of background processing at all times. Things that require "environmental detection" can also be triggered by sensors at low cost. Accelerometers can easily provided a notification to the SoC to signal something like a massive deceleration. The moment I see a phone consume more power at idle than the display uses while on, I will laugh at how inefficient it is. Say hi to your 5 hours of battery life.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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