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Snapdragon 865 in detail: Qualcomm throws the modem out

Snapdragon 865 im Detail: Qualcomm schmeißt das Modem raus

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, with its Cortex-A77 CPU and Adreno 650 GPU, is a logical evolution of the Snapdragon 855 and will power next-year's high-end smartphones. Surprising is the division of the platform into two components: AP and modem. In addition, the ISP has been significantly drilled.

Unlike what was expected over the course of the year, Qualcomm today unveiled the Snapdragon 865 with an integrated 5G modem. Instead, the Snapdragon 765 (G) for the upper middle class is the first appropriately equipped chip. Why this is not the case with the Snapdragon 865, Qualcomm has one main reason: the performance of the modem. Coupled to the Snapdragon 865, the Snapdragon X55 modem with multi-mode support for all standards from 5G to 2G would not have delivered the same performance integrated into the SoC as a separate chip. This is illustrated by the direct comparison to the Snapdragon 765 (G) Snapdragon X52 integrated modem, which does not achieve the high data rates of the Snapdragon X55.

Snapdragon 865 (not gold in series)
Snapdragon 865 (not gold in series)
Snapdragon 865 rear
Snapdragon 865 rear

Snapdragon 865, 855, Exynos 990 and Kirin 990 5G in comparison

The fact that Qualcomm offers a pure AP (Application Processor) for the first time in six years can also be explained by other areas of the chip, which occupy more die space this year and thus take up space for the Snapdragon X55. What features the Snapdragon 865 offers is explained in detail by ComputerBase after yesterday's rudimentary announcement. The table below describes the key features of the SoC compared to the previous Snapdragon 855 (+) and the Samsung Exynos 990 and HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G.

ARM Cortex-A77 arrives

In the field of CPU Qualcomm relies on the new Cortex-A77 from ARM, which is to deliver a 20 percent higher performance compared to the direct predecessor with a revised frontend and new L0 cache. According to ARM, the Cortex-A77 occupies 17 percent more area on the die with the same manufacturing process. In Snapdragon 865 hears the Cortex-A77 on the name Kryo 585. Its own name to justify changes such as the Prime Core with 2.84 GHz and the doubled L2 cache. The 1 + 3 + 4 core design is also made up of three other Cryo 585 Gold based on the Cortex-A77, which operate at the same clock rates and caches as last year, and four Cryo 585 Silver based on the Cortex-A55 together. The smaller cores again work at 1.80 GHz and provide 128 KB of L2 cache.

Two memory interfaces for LPDDR5 and LPDDR4X

In addition, the doubly designed memory interface with which Qualcomm covers the new LPDDR5 standard as well as the previously used LPDDR4X proves to be less than space-saving. The JEDEC has adopted the new standard, which provides up to 50 percent more throughput, in February this year, associated chips according to LPDDR5-5500 there, for example, from Samsung. Qualcomm supports the Snapdragon 865 LPDDR5 with 2.750 MHz and the older LPDDR4X with the well-known 2.133 MHz.

Adreno 650 goes wide

The graphics unit is also expected to provide 20 percent more power than the Snapdragon 855's Adreno 640. With Qualcomm's current state-of-the-art GPU running at virtually unchanged clock speeds to maintain efficiency at a high level, the design needs to expand with more execution units to deliver more performance away from architectural enhancements. Also, the GPU is a component that occupies more die area than before in the SoC.

The graphics unit can control displays with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz or with the more commonly used QHD + resolution at 144Hz. Qualcomm has also incorporated new gaming features that allow, for example, to optimize SDR content segmented towards HDR. The GPU performs a pro-frame analysis to adjust only individual areas of the image for HDR, but not to distort skin tones, among other things. Qualcomm worked with the creators of the Unreal Engine 4 to offer desktop-known features such as dynamic shadows, planar reflections, motion blur and the processing of multiple multiple light sources on the Adreno 650 GPU.

On the next page: Spectra 480 for 8K video and Dolby Vision

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