Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 Plus brings faster CPU and AI performance to flagship phones

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 Plus brings faster CPU and AI performance to flagship phones

Qualcomm unveiled its latest flagship chip, Snapdragon 888, in December of 2020. Since its launch, the new chip has made its way to many flagship smartphones such as the Galaxy S21 series, Mi 11, ROG Phone 5, Xperia 1 III, and iQOO 7 Legend, to name a few. While Qualcomm previously launched a single flagship chipset each year, in 2019 the company started a new tradition by giving a mid-cycle refresh to its flagship chipset in the form of a Plus variant. In keeping with this tradition, Qualcomm has now released the Snapdragon 888 Plus.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus: Specifications

SpecificationsQualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus
CPU
  • 1x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex X1-based) Prime core @ 2.995GHz, 1x 1MB L2 cache
  • 3x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A78-based) Performance cores @ 2.4GHz, 3x 512KB L2 cache
  • 4x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A55-based) Efficiency cores @ 1.8GHz, 4x 128KB L2 cache
  • 4MB L3 cache
GPU
  • Adreno 660
    • Vulkan 1.1 API support
    • HDR gaming with 10-bit color depth
    • Hardware-based H.265 and VP9 decoder
    • HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
Display
  • 4K @60Hz
  • QHD+ @144Hz
  • HDR10 and HDR10+
  • 10-bit color depth
AI
  • Hexagon 780 with Fused AI Accelerator architecture
  • 6th generation AI Engine
  • Qualcomm Sensing Hub (2nd generation)
    • New dedicated AI processor
    • 80% task reduction offload from Hexagon DSP
  • 32 TOPS
Memory & Storage
  • 16GB LPDDR5 @3200MHz
  • 3MB system level cache
  • 512GB UFS 3.0
ISP
  • Triple 14-bit Spectra 580 ISP
  • 2.7 Gigapixels per second throughput
  • 10-bit HDR HEIF photo capture
  • Triple 28MP photo capture
  • Triple parallel processing
  • 4K HDR video capture with computational HDR
  • Low-light architecture photo capture
Connectivity
  • Snapdragon X60 5G modem
    • 7.5Gbps peak download
    • 3Gbps peak upload
    • Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), mmWave, Sub-6GHz
  • Qualcomm FastConnect 6900
    • Wi-Fi 6E
    • 3.6Gbps peak speed
    • 8×8 MU-MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.2
Manufacturing process5nm (Samsung’s 5LPE)

The Snapdragon 888 Plus is basically an overclocked variant of the Snapdragon 888. In particular, the clock speed of the Kryo 680 Prime core (based on ARM Cortext-X1) has been boosted to 2.995GHz from the earlier 2.84GHz. The remaining cores — 3x ARM Cortex A78-based cores running at 2.4GHz and 4x Cortex A55-based efficiency cores clocked at 1.8GHz, are unchanged. There’s no upgrade to the GPU this time around, making this year’s refresh a bit less interesting than the last year’s Snapdragon 865 Plus, which besides faster CPU performance, also offered a 15% performance boost to the GPU.

A phone with Snapdragon 888 Plus chip

Instead of GPU, Qualcomm has decided to focus on AI performance this year. The 6th Gen Qualcomm AI Engine on the Snapdragon 888 Plus now offers 32 TOPS AI performance, a 20% performance increase from the 26 TOPS AI performance offered by the Snapdragon 888. Qualcomm told us in a briefing that the majority of the performance increase came from optimizing the hardware efficiency of the Hexagon 780 as well as software optimizations to the 6th Gen AI Engine.

The rest of the specifications of the Snapdragon 888 Plus, including the Spectra 580 ISP, the Snapdragon X60 5G modem, connectivity features, and so on, are all the same as the Snapdragon 888.

Qualcomm says commercial devices featuring the new Snapdragon 888 Plus chip are expected to hit the market in the third quarter of 2021. ASUS, Xiaomi, HONOR, Motorola, and Vivo are among the list of OEMs who have confirmed to launch a new flagship with the chipset.

Besides the new chipset, Qualcomm also detailed its various advancements in the 5G space. The Snapdragon X65 5G modem, which Qualcomm unveiled in February, will be making its way to products later this year. It will offer up to 10 Gigabit speeds on both standalone and non-standalone networks, along with simultaneous carrier aggregation between all sub-6GHz and mmWave bands.

Qualcomm also announced it would be working with various carriers and OEMs to expand the presence of mmWave in multiple markets. As part of this announcement, Xiaomi and OPPO both revealed they would be launching their first commercial device with mmWave support in the near future.

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Kishan Vyas
Kishan Vyas

A loyal Android user since Android 2.1 Eclair. Direct inquiries to [email protected]