The new Snapdragon 888 chipset from Qualcomm was already presented on Tuesday, but the details have only now been announced. We will discuss the main features of this article.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
The new Qualcomm chipset announced on December 1 has an integrated 5G modem, it runs on a 5 nm process, and it comes with a big boost in graphics power and camera capabilities. Qualcomm is now releasing all the details about the processor. The Snapdragon 888 will get a place in most flagships next year and here you can read about the main features in the different areas.
Let us start with architecture. Like the Kirin 9000 from Huawei and the new Exynos 1080 from Samsung, Qualcomm uses an energy-efficient 5 nm baking process. Then there is the arrangement of clusters with processor cores. The Kryo 680, as the processor is called, has a total of three clusters, which are divided in the same way as with the Snapdragon 865.
There is one powerful ‘prime core’, three cores that take on the normal tasks, and four cores that are energy efficient and perform the light tasks. The prime core is the ARM Cortex-X1 for the first time and compared to the Cortex-A78 used last year, it can execute 33 percent more instructions per clock. It also has a clock speed of 2.84 GHz.
Then there are three Cortex-A78 cores that operate at a clock speed of 2.42 GHz and four cores that are clocked at 1.8 GHz. This trio of CPU clusters should provide a performance gain of 25 percent for the Snapdragon 888 compared to the 865. It is also a quarter more energy efficient.
Then we arrive at the new Adreno 660 GPU, and Qualcomm already emphasized on Tuesday that it has undergone the biggest improvements. Thanks to a technique called ‘Variable Rate Shading’ (VRS), the rendering speed is increased by 35 percent.
The chipset can adjust the rendering depending on the different areas of the screen, so less detailed textures on the screen can receive a little less attention, increasing the overall performance. We already know the technology from desktop processors.
VRS also contributes to energy efficiency, which has improved by 20 percent. Finally, the touch delay on the touch screen has been reduced by 20 percent and Qualcomm also supports the display of 10-bit HDR for better color contrast.
With the 880, Qualcomm uses not two, but three Image Signal Processors (ISPs) for the first time. They take care of the data processing for photography, and an extra ISP simply ensures that more camera images can be processed at the same time.
For example, you can process three 4K video recordings at the same time or take three 28 MP photos at the same time. We see that manufacturers are increasingly trying to improve camera performance by combining the information from different sensors, and this seems like a logical improvement from Qualcomm.
The ISPs can also make 4K movies with HDR10 + and Dolby Vision and a higher 8K resolution is supported. At 4K, the maximum frame rate is 120 fps. As for slow-motion video, it can shoot images at a maximum of 960 frames per second and with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
Also new with the new chipset is the Snapdragon X60 modem for faster 5G internet. Unlike last year’s X55, Qualcomm does opt for an integrated modem, as it did previously with the Snapdragon 765, among others. This time, the X60 comes out with support for the low-frequency bands below 6 Ghz and mmWave. The download speed has also been slightly increased to 7.5 Gbps and uploads can be done at 3.0 Gbps.
In addition to the mobile internet, you also have WiFi 6G, at a speed of 3.6 Gbps. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 888 provides the fastest connection in the industry. The company can also offer lower latency – or network delay. The 888 also comes with Bluetooth 5.2.
In addition, there is the new AI Engine, the Hexagon 780. This provides lightning-fast calculations in the case of artificial intelligence applications, and that is expressed in Tera Operations Per Second, or TOPS. The 15 TOPS that the Snapdragon 865 delivers is outclassed by the 26 TOPS of the 888. The Hexagon processor is also 3 times more energy efficient.
For light tasks in the field of AI, Qualcomm has also equipped the second generation of its Sensing Hub. Consider, for example, the recognition of ‘Hey Google’ commands. 80 percent of the AI tasks are now handled by this Hub without the more powerful Hexagon processor having to take effect.
The Snapdragon 888 comes as expected with the QuickCharge 5 fast-charging standard that Qualcomm had previously announced. You can charge phones with a higher power of 100 watts or more while the temperature remains low.
The Snapdragon 888 also works with a feature called Hypervisor. You can run two operating systems at the same time, completely separate from each other. If there are security issues with the first system, it will have no effect on the second OS. It’s not clear yet to what extent this feature could become important for Android, but it could be more important with tablets, laptops, or Chromebooks that will work with the chipset.
The Snapdragon 888 will appear in the phones of various brands next year, but it will be the first to be found in the Xiaomi Mi 11, it became known. In addition, Motorola has plans for a Moto G phone with the Snapdragon 888. It remains to be seen what influence the new chipset will have on the production costs of smartphones.