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Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: Flagship SoC for 2022 Devices

J-from-Nucleon
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Ps. Writing this pretty early in the morning, excuse the rambling-esque tone

Summary

At this year’s Tech Summit from Hawaii, Qualcomm is announcing the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the direct follow-up to last year’s Snapdragon 888.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Chip Image_678x452.jpg

Quotes

Quote

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 follows up its predecessors with a very obvious change in marketing and product naming, as the company is attempting to simplify its product naming and line-up. Still part of the “8 series”, meaning the highest end segment for devices, the 8 Gen 1 resets the previous three-digit naming scheme in favor of just a segment and generation number. For Qualcomm's flagship part this is pretty straightforward, but it remains to be seen what this means for the 7 and 6 series, both of which have upwards of several parts for each generation.

As for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the new chip comes with a lot of new IP: We’re seeing the new trio of Armv9 Cortex CPU cores from Arm, a whole new next-generation Adreno GPU, a massively improved imaging pipeline with lots of new features, an upgraded Hexagon NPU/DSP, integrated X65 5G modem, and all manufactured on a newer Samsung 4nm process node.

CPU

Starting off with the CPUs of the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (I’ll shorthand it as S8g1 here and there): This is Qualcomm’s first chip featuring the new Armv9 generation of CPU IPs from Arm, which includes the Cortex-X2, Cortex-A710, and Cortex-A510 in a big, middle, and little setup. Qualcomm continues to use a 1+3+4 core count, a setup that’s been relatively successful for the designers over the past few years and iterations ever since the Snapdragon 855.

What is most surprising about the X2 core is that Qualcomm is claiming 20% faster performance or 30% power savings, the latter figure being especially intriguing. Samsung Foundry only describe a 16% reduction in power in going from a 5nm to 4nm node, and obviously 30% is significantly better than what the process node promises.

GPU

Qualcomm notes that from an extremely high-level perspective, the new GPU might look similar to the previous generations, however there are large architectural changes included that are meant to improve performance and efficiency. Qualcomm gave examples such as concurrent processing optimizations that are meant to give large boosts in performance to real-world workloads that might not directly show up in benchmarks. Another example was that the GPU’s “GMEM” saw large changes this generation, such as an increase of 33% of the cache (to 4MB), and now being both a read & write cache rather than just a writeback cache for DRAM traffic optimizations.

Other stuff:

image.png.46991c6890da31f733c463a5a68fa786.png

Credit: Anandtech

 

My thoughts

Another year, another Snapdragon processor. Woooo. It will almost certainly be a performance bump over the 888, but to me, efficiency is a lot more important in a mobile device. There isn't very much improvement in the GPU space, and Qualcomm acknowleged this and last year's 888 power draw while distancing themselves a bit:

Quote

Qualcomm also uncharacteristically commented on the situation of peak power figures and the current situation in the market. Last year, Qualcomm rationalized the Snapdragon 888’s high peak GPU power figures by noting that this is what vendors had demanded in response to what we saw from other players, notably Apple, and that vendors would be able to achieve better thermal envelopes in their devices. Arguably, this strategy ended up as being quite disastrous and negative in terms of perception for Qualcomm, and I feel that in this year’s briefing we saw Quaclomm attempt to distance themselves more from the situation, largely by outright saying that the only point of such peak performance and power figures is for vendors to achieve higher first-run benchmarking numbers.

The new ISP is also pretty intereesting, however, we've yet to see sensors that can make full use of it's capabilities (It introduces, 18-bit colour depth per channel)

Well, as with most thing take these metrics with a grain of salt and We'll have to wait and see how this performs within an actual Phone to see how it compares (especially in thermals and efficiency).

Sources

Anandtech

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I really look forward to it! All the cool AI i am exited!!!

 

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Still no AV1 decoding support.

Everything else seems good about the chip, but Qualcomm's refusal to accept AV1 as a standard is really bothering me. Instead of backing a free and open standard that is already out and basically everyone else has agreed is the future, they are trying to kneecap AV1 adoption so that they can push VVC in the future.

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The most power hungry part, is the modem. I ve had my phone off-internet and lived for almost 5 days while I was using it for videos and photos for 2-3 hours per day

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1 hour ago, Comic said:

I really look forward to it! All the cool AI i am exited!!!

 

Don't be. 3/4 of vendors don't use any of the fancy Qualcomm's features, be it Ai/Neural or imaging ISP unit. Which means out of all the fancy features, only thing that really matters are just raw CPU and GPU performance. Same goes for Mediatek and Unisoc too. Only phones that actually use all the fancy features is Qualcomm's own phone they released like a year ago and iPhones because they design chipsets specifically for iOS features, menaing all the neural and image processing is actually done by for example latest A15 Bionic chipset.

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1 hour ago, RejZoR said:

Don't be. 3/4 of vendors don't use any of the fancy Qualcomm's features, be it Ai/Neural or imaging ISP unit. Which means out of all the fancy features, only thing that really matters are just raw CPU and GPU performance. Same goes for Mediatek and Unisoc too. Only phones that actually use all the fancy features is Qualcomm's own phone they released like a year ago and iPhones because they design chipsets specifically for iOS features, menaing all the neural and image processing is actually done by for example latest A15 Bionic chipset.

Not sure where you got that idea from but it's absolutely wrong.

A ton of Android phones uses Qualcomm's (or other vendors) dedicated non-CPU/GPU units. It's no coincident that once Qualcomm added support for night-mode in their ISP/NPU that suddenly a bunch of smartphones were released that had night-mode. Or that once Qualcomm added support for pixel binning we started seeing phones with pixel binning. Same with Bokeh mode, or HDR recording, or pretty much any camera feature that suddenly gained traction across Android smartphones.

If you think that all these camera features are done on the CPU then I don't know what to tell you. It's ludicrous to even think that.

 

Android also has the NNAPI which abstracts vendor-specific NPU implementations from the developers. If you target NNAPI (or Tensor Flow Lite for that matter, or even PyTorch) then your app will work on a very wide range of Android chipsets, including Snapdragon and Exynos, and it will be hardware accelerated on the NPU if one is available. 

 

 

Android has a lot of issues, but we don't need to invent new ones like "cameras don't use the ISP" or "the NPU isn't used".

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Overall very solid so far.

I do wonder though when are we going to see Android SoC cores that will rival Apple ones.

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There's some pretty serious improvements I've last gen in this Soc. It'll be really interesting to see how they all factor into better battery life. The ISP has some ludicrous percentage improvement over the last one; maybe we'll start to see more camera-centric phones. Panasonic. I'm looking at you. 

 

Not a company that will likely be using it to its full potential, but Motorola has a phone coming out next week with it. 

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1 hour ago, Doobeedoo said:

Overall very solid so far.

I do wonder though when are we going to see Android SoC cores that will rival Apple ones.

MediaTek's latest is supposedly close in graphics (albeit with only one test that I've seen), but it's pretty telling that these new chips don't really leap ahead of Apple despite big changes in architecture and manufacturing processes. I would like to see some in-depth benchmarking for 8 Gen 1, of course.

 

Don't get me wrong, this is great news for Android fans... it just means another year where the best Android phones are merely competitive in raw performance with last year's iPhone.

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I wonder how the new GPU will compare to the Samsung + AMD Exynos chip. Emulators on Android might get a decent boost in performance 🙂

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6 hours ago, PeachGr said:

The most power hungry part, is the modem. I ve had my phone off-internet and lived for almost 5 days while I was using it for videos and photos for 2-3 hours per day

buuut, I need the internet for my local storage of pictures and videos!!! :(( also 99% of the apps being always online or position driven to background running apps!

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4 hours ago, LAwLz said:

Not sure where you got that idea from but it's absolutely wrong.

A ton of Android phones uses Qualcomm's (or other vendors) dedicated non-CPU/GPU units. It's no coincident that once Qualcomm added support for night-mode in their ISP/NPU that suddenly a bunch of smartphones were released that had night-mode. Or that once Qualcomm added support for pixel binning we started seeing phones with pixel binning. Same with Bokeh mode, or HDR recording, or pretty much any camera feature that suddenly gained traction across Android smartphones.

If you think that all these camera features are done on the CPU then I don't know what to tell you. It's ludicrous to even think that.

 

Android also has the NNAPI which abstracts vendor-specific NPU implementations from the developers. If you target NNAPI (or Tensor Flow Lite for that matter, or even PyTorch) then your app will work on a very wide range of Android chipsets, including Snapdragon and Exynos, and it will be hardware accelerated on the NPU if one is available. 

 

 

Android has a lot of issues, but we don't need to invent new ones like "cameras don't use the ISP" or "the NPU isn't used".

It's not an industry standard and that's the issue.  They use it on what, new phones, because Android vendors are notorious to show you big FU when it comes to features at a later time. Because what even are updates on Androids. Bunch of stuff you mentioned is maybe used on few flagship models and for the rest no one can be bothered. Because if all the fancy Qualcomm's features were actually used by everyone, we wouldn't have such garbage ass cameras almost across the board until you reach flagship models. Unless their magical ISP is just BS buzzword and it's not actually that good.

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8 minutes ago, RejZoR said:

It's not an industry standard and that's the issue.  They use it on what, new phones, because Android vendors are notorious to show you big FU when it comes to features at a later time. Because what even are updates on Androids. Bunch of stuff you mentioned is maybe used on few flagship models and for the rest no one can be bothered. Because if all the fancy Qualcomm's features were actually used by everyone, we wouldn't have such garbage ass cameras almost across the board until you reach flagship models. Unless their magical ISP is just BS buzzword and it's not actually that good.

Keep in mind that many Snapdragon-powered phones are using mid- or low-range chips that don't have as much advanced processing to start with. You'd have a point if most Snapdragon-powered phones were using 8 series chips to start with, but many of them aren't. The 4 and 6 series chips are very commonplace.

 

And remember, the best processing possible won't make up for so-so hardware. You can see that with the Realme GT; it takes solid shots, sometimes quite good, but the lower-cost cameras limit what Realme can do with the Snapdragon 888 inside.

 

Look, we get it — you don't think Snapdragons are as good as Apple's chips. But could you please make a more nuanced argument based on substantive data instead of broad generalizations?

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2 hours ago, Commodus said:

MediaTek's latest is supposedly close in graphics (albeit with only one test that I've seen), but it's pretty telling that these new chips don't really leap ahead of Apple despite big changes in architecture and manufacturing processes. I would like to see some in-depth benchmarking for 8 Gen 1, of course.

 

Don't get me wrong, this is great news for Android fans... it just means another year where the best Android phones are merely competitive in raw performance with last year's iPhone.

At this point I'd be happy with the latest Android chip being as good as last year's Apple chip, but I don't even think we will get that.

image.thumb.png.54b6f6fd2510a053f5484afb7619f8d8.png 

(Data from Anandtech)

 

The X2 is expected to be about 15% faster than the X1 although chances are it will be lower, and efficiency isn't that much better (meaning the higher performance comes at a higher power consumption).

The A710 is expected to be up to 10% faster than the A78 at the same power, or 30% less power at the same performance. If that is true remains to be seen.

The A510 cores are expected to be 10% faster than the A55 at the same power, or 20% less power at the same performance.

 

It's just nowhere near enough to catch up to Apple. I would be very surprised if The Snapdragon 8 gen 1 will be able to reach the same performance as the A14, let along efficiency.

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I'm more interested in the the 7, 6, an 4 series based on 4nm, as Dimensity 7000 for instance even though it doesn't use  the new CPU cores, does use the new GPU. Similarly can't wait to see how Samsung + AMD pans out.

 

Oh and we really need a decent quality methodology Diablo Infinite as a benchmark as soon as it launches xD

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1 hour ago, RejZoR said:

It's not an industry standard and that's the issue.  They use it on what, new phones, because Android vendors are notorious to show you big FU when it comes to features at a later time. Because what even are updates on Androids. Bunch of stuff you mentioned is maybe used on few flagship models and for the rest no one can be bothered. Because if all the fancy Qualcomm's features were actually used by everyone, we wouldn't have such garbage ass cameras almost across the board until you reach flagship models. Unless their magical ISP is just BS buzzword and it's not actually that good.

I think you're confusing some things or making broad generalizations that doesn't really work.

The things I mentioned are industry standards. One issue is that they are only really industry standard for first party camera apps. If you want to make a third party camera then you are kind of screwed, since APIs like camera2 and camerax aren't widely implemented, or third party developers being lazy/stupid and doing things like taking a screenshot of the viewfinder (*cough* snapchat *cough*). Those are big issues, but that's not the same as saying Android vendors don't use the ISP, NPU, etc.

 

 

Besides, even when an app like Snapchat takes a screenshot of the camera viewfinder, the ISP is still used. The camera is literally wired into the ISP and you can't not use it. Whether or not you use all the features available is a different question though. Most manufacturers do in their first part app. The problem is third party apps.

 

As for Android updates, the issue is basically solved for 2 reasons.

1) The big manufacturers are updating their devices faster and far longer than they have. Samsung for example update their phones for 3 major releases (~3 years) and then an additional 1 year (or maybe 2 years?) of security updates. I think that after 4-5 years you probably want to get a new phone. Sure, longer is better, but at some point it goes from practical to just being a dick measuring contest, and I think we have reached that point (for some Android vendors, like Samsung).

 

2) Most of the important things in Android are not tied to OS updates. On iOS, OS updates are really important because they include not just security updates but also things like API changes and even system apps like the dialler, calendar, etc. On Android, most of the big stuff is updated through Play Services. NNAPI that I mentioned earlier? That was delivered to a bunch of Qualcomm-powered phones through a Play Store update. No OS update needed. Android Nearby share? Was also delivered as a Play Store update. 

 

 

And as Commodus said, these "magical ISP buzzword" features as you call them are often only available on high end devices, and I don't see a problem with that. Want a better camera? Then you need to buy a more expensive phone. You can't expect a low end device to be as good as a high end one.

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1 hour ago, LAwLz said:

At this point I'd be happy with the latest Android chip being as good as last year's Apple chip, but I don't even think we will get that.

image.thumb.png.54b6f6fd2510a053f5484afb7619f8d8.png 

(Data from Anandtech)

 

The X2 is expected to be about 15% faster than the X1 although chances are it will be lower, and efficiency isn't that much better (meaning the higher performance comes at a higher power consumption).

The A710 is expected to be up to 10% faster than the A78 at the same power, or 30% less power at the same performance. If that is true remains to be seen.

The A510 cores are expected to be 10% faster than the A55 at the same power, or 20% less power at the same performance.

 

It's just nowhere near enough to catch up to Apple. I would be very surprised if The Snapdragon 8 gen 1 will be able to reach the same performance as the A14, let along efficiency.

You may well be right. I'm just cautious since there are multiple new factors at work that could make this more than the usual yearly refresh. I just won't be surprised if the A15 remains comfortably in front for 2022.

 

On that note: the rumor goes that the next iPhone SE will have an A15 inside. It'd be amusing if a $399 iPhone was once again outperforming $1,800 Android phones in raw computational power.

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4 minutes ago, Commodus said:

You may well be right. I'm just cautious since there are multiple new factors at work that could make this more than the usual yearly refresh. I just won't be surprised if the A15 remains comfortably in front for 2022.

 

On that note: the rumor goes that the next iPhone SE will have an A15 inside. It'd be amusing if a $399 iPhone was once again outperforming $1,800 Android phones in raw computational power.

Not sure "amusing" is the right word. I think it's sad. Apple is just so far ahead of everyone else it's not funny anymore.

I wish Apple sold their SoCs to Android makers. I think that would light a much needed fire under Qualcomm's butt.

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6 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Not sure "amusing" is the right word. I think it's sad. Apple is just so far ahead of everyone else it's not funny anymore.

I wish Apple sold their SoCs to Android makers. I think that would light a much needed fire under Qualcomm's butt.

This might light a fire if Apple starts eating more of Qualcomm's share of the Android market. QC doesn't want to be in an awkward middle position where it's too far behind the fastest offerings (mainly Apple) but also can't compete in the budget realm (where MediaTek reigns).

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31 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Not sure "amusing" is the right word. I think it's sad. Apple is just so far ahead of everyone else it's not funny anymore.

I wish Apple sold their SoCs to Android makers. I think that would light a much needed fire under Qualcomm's butt.

That would be counterproductive. Why would you sell your advantage to competition when in current state, they can't have it at all and is exclusive to iPhones? Apple wouldn't get back selling chipsets to 3rd parties than they get just keeping it for themselves with all the advantages it has.

 

And same applies to Samsung too. If they'll one day make Exynos that beats Qualcomm and Mediatek across the board, you can be assured they won't sell it to anyone.

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1 minute ago, RejZoR said:

And same applies to Samsung too. If they'll one day make Exynos that beats Qualcomm and Mediatek across the board, you can be assured they won't sell it to anyone.

So Samsung might still sell it to others since unlike apple they are more of a sorted collection of companies that all use the Samsung name. But the people who makes cpus get paid (and get bonuses) from selling cpus not from selling Samsung phones. Would take a large re-structure to change that at Samsung. 

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1 hour ago, RejZoR said:

That would be counterproductive. Why would you sell your advantage to competition when in current state, they can't have it at all and is exclusive to iPhones? Apple wouldn't get back selling chipsets to 3rd parties than they get just keeping it for themselves with all the advantages it has.

Yeah it wouldn't make any sense, I just wish it would happen.

 

 

1 hour ago, RejZoR said:

And same applies to Samsung too. If they'll one day make Exynos that beats Qualcomm and Mediatek across the board, you can be assured they won't sell it to anyone.

Samsung is not like Apple. Each division of Samsung is essentially its own company. Samsung makes the best screens on the market, and they still sell them to others like Apple. Samsung Electronics literally has to place orders and pay for screens when they order from Samsung Displays Co. I don't see why things would be different for Exynos and Samsung LSI.

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17 hours ago, Quackers101 said:

buuut, I need the internet for my local storage of pictures and videos!!! :(( also 99% of the apps being always online or position driven to background running apps!

Yeah, I m always online, that time I was on safari. My point is that processor's efficiency doesn't mean a lot in the end. There is the screen and the internet that will burn much

 

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On 12/1/2021 at 8:37 AM, LAwLz said:

Still no AV1 decoding support.

Everything else seems good about the chip, but Qualcomm's refusal to accept AV1 as a standard is really bothering me. Instead of backing a free and open standard that is already out and basically everyone else has agreed is the future, they are trying to kneecap AV1 adoption so that they can push VVC in the future.

Dr 🖥️🖥️🥔 asked and QC excuse is that AV1 didn't make the cutoff for this gen.

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1 hour ago, AlexGoesHigh said:

Dr 🖥️🖥️🥔 asked and QC excuse is that AV1 didn't make the cutoff for this gen.

https://twitter.com/IanCutress/status/1466205654637432833?t=ftrbks5SMqrv5J1V0nKMbQ&s=19

Thanks for the link but I don't buy it. How many times are they going to say that?

They were already behind last year with support, and now they will be behind for a whole other year as well. Wouldn't be surprised if they will pull the same shit next year.

 

Intel has implement it.

AMD has implement it.

Nvidia has implement it.

 

Samsung has implement it.

MediaTek has implement it.

Google has implement it.

ARM has implemented it.

Amlogic has implemented it.

Realtek has implemented it.

Rockchip has implemented it.

Broadcom has implemented it.

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