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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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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.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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