The successor to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 will have Arm’s new v9 CPU designs
Thanks to the ongoing global chip shortage, chip design firm Qualcomm is struggling to meet the demand for its premium-tier Snapdragon 888 chip, so they’ve resorted to launching products like the Snapdragon 860 and 778 in recent months. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still working on their next major chipset. We already know that Qualcomm is working on a new chipset aimed at high-performance laptops after they acquired Nuvia earlier this year, but we don’t expect products based on that design to launch until late next year at the earliest. Meanwhile, we now have the first details of Qualcomm’s next premium-tier chipset for mobile devices.
Famed leaker Evan Blass took to Twitter today to share some details on “SM8450”, the presumed part number for Qualcomm’s “next-gen premium system-on-chip.” The Snapdragon 888’s part number was “SM8350”, which is why we expect “SM8450” to be its successor. Given the lack of consistency in Qualcomm’s chip naming process, we have no idea what “SM8450” will be marketed as. Nonetheless, we now know what to expect from it thanks to a list of “key components” that Blass shared on Twitter.
“SM8450 is Qualcomm’s next-gen premium system-on-chip (SoC). It has an integrated Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF system. It is fabricated on a 4nm process.” pic.twitter.com/u1GXMhOWBf
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) June 3, 2021
According to Blass, SM8450 will integrate Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 5G modem-RF system. The Snapdragon X65 is the successor to the Snapdragon X60 modem integrated into the Snapdragon 888. The modem is built on a 4nm process just like the AP. Phones built on the SoC can support connecting to mmWave or sub-6GHz 5G frequencies on either non-standalone or standalone 5G networks.
The CPU consists of Qualcomm Kryo 780 cores “built on Arm Cortex v9 technology.” The Armv9 architecture was announced earlier this year, and the first CPU designs to be announced using the new technology were the Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-A510. Thus, we expect the Snapdragon 888’s successor to be using these three CPU core designs, likely in a 1 x 3 x 4 configuration (1X Cortex-X2, 3X-Cortex-A710, 4X Cortex-A510.)
The GPU is Qualcomm’s Adreno 730, but we don’t have any technical details on it yet. The Snapdragon 888 had Qualcomm’s Adreno 660, though, and we can usually tell how Qualcomm’s GPU compare to one another by their names. The Adreno 730 could be a big step up from the Adreno 660, or it might not be.
Similarly, the integrated signal processor (ISP) is getting a bump to Spectra 680 from the Spectra 580 in the Snapdragon 888. The Spectra 580 was Qualcomm’s first Spectra with a triple ISP enabling triple concurrency. If we were to guess, the Spectra 680 could enable quadruple concurrency depending on how fast its processing speed is.
Other features mentioned in the leak include support for Qualcomm’s Aqstic WCD9380/WCD9385 audio codec, Qualcomm’s secure processing unit (SPU260), Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900 subsystem for Bluetooth LE Audio/5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E, quad-channel package-on-package LPDDR5 RAM, Adreno 665 video processing unit (VPU), and Adreno 1195 display processing unit (DPU).