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Qualcomm lays groundwork for Snapdragon 820

Posted: 14 Aug 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Jon Peddie Research  Qualcomm  GPU  ISP  sensor 

Qualcomm may soon roll out the successor to the much-criticised Snapdragon 810. According to the company, the Snapdragon 820 flaunts a totally different design, with a new GPU, the Adreno 530, as well as an enhanced DSP, and more of them, and two Spectra 14bit ISPs.

Qualcomm said the image processing capabilities will provide DSLR-like quality photography, and be able to handle up to one 25MP, or two 12MP sensors that could be used for depth sensing cameras.

The ISPs also offer a hybrid autofocus capability and multi-sensor fusion algorithms that support next generation computational photography. Qualcomm has created a tight coupling between the sensor array and the ISP that can accept the raw Bayer signal from the sensor. They will disclose more on that at Hot Chips in a few weeks.

The company claimed the Adreno 530 will produce a 40 per cent improvement in graphic performance and lower power consumption over the Adreno 430 in the Snapdragon 810. The 820's Adreno 530 GPU can process over 5,000 draw calls in Vulkan, which is 40 per cent more than the Adreno 430 can do. The GPUs supports 4K resolution up to 60fps via HDMI 2.0.

The SN 820 also will employ Qualcomm's custom designed Kryo 64bit quad-core ARM. The SoC will be built in Samsung's 14nm Finfet process, so using Intel terminology, the 820 is a tick and tock, a novel architecture and a new process node.

The GPU and the ISPs have aggressive, dynamic, fine-grain clock-gating power management, and will independently turn down, or off any component that is not in current use. The chip also will employ fine-grain 2:1 lossless bandwidth compression.

In addition to supporting OpenGL ES 3.1 with AE, it also supports the latest Vulkan API, and is Windows-Phone ready. It can run multiple OSes via a hypervisor, and offers pre-emption for context switching.

Qualcomm, like many others, is caught up in the excitement over VR, and hinted we can expect to see the 820 featured in a VR HMD in the latest future.

Qualcomm has been spoon-feeding the press and a few analysts' facts about the new chip. It may have just given its partners a dose of the Osborne effect. That'll teach them to reject the 810.

- Jon Peddie
  EE Times

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