Qualcomm Details Snapdragon 835 SoC
Samuel Wan / 3 years ago
Just before the end of the year, Qualcomm teased their new Snapdragon 835 SoC. Now only would it be a significant update over the current 820 and 821 SoCs, the new chip would also be the first to be designed for and built on Samsung’s new 10nm process. With these changes in mind, Qualcomm is touting improved battery life, a smaller die, and even more feature integration.
Starting from the core, we have the Kryo 280 CPU which is Qualcomm’s first semi-custom ARM core. With Snapdragon 810, Qualcomm used a nARM design while 820 was a fully custom design. This time, the Snapdragon 835 Kyro 280 uses a semi-custom design, with changes made to the stock ARM cores done by Qualcomm. Running in a big.LITTLE configuration, we have 4 efficient cores running at 1.9 GHz and 4 performance cores at 2.45 GHz. The L2 cache is doubled to 1MB and 2MB respectively. These clock speeds are actually quite conservative so it will be interesting to see where IPC and overall performance falls in the end. The SoC can also decode and encode H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC) and features HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) to make better use of system resources. This is expected to provide improved VR and machine learning functions for smartphones using the 835.
For the GPU, the Adreno 540 is used which is a minor tweak. Performance is improved by up to 25% due to a combination of frequency boosts and architectural improvements. Qualcomm has also updated the DSP and ISP incrementally. Updates have also been made to the wireless and Wi-Fi modems, with power savings up to 60%. Combined, these changes are set to bring power consumption 25% below the 821 and 50% less than the 801. While SoC power draw is but one battery drainer, any reduction to eke out more battery life is appreciated. One can only hope that the next-generation of smartphones will actually improve battery life rather than choosing to slim down even more.