Qualcomm has unveiled its latest flagship mobile processor Snapdragon 888 for 2021 in its annual Snapdragon Tech Summit Digital 2020 event. The new chipset from Qualcomm is built on 5nm process with the next-generation architecture. The first devices with the Snapdragon 888 are expected to be available in 1st quarter of 2021.
The 888 is the third chipset, which was built on the 5nm process after the Apple Bionic A14 chip equipped inside the iPhone 12 series made by TSMC and the Samsung Exynos 1080 chipset.
Cortex-X1 and Adreno 660 CPU
The 888 packs some major architectural advancements inside with the first chip with the Cortex-X1 architecture. Compared to the Cortex A78 cores, the X1 core running at 2.84GHz can execute 33% more process per clock with double L1 and L2 cache capacity.
The cluster of three Cortex A78 cores will run at a clock speed of 2.4GHz and four A55 cores with 1.8GHz clock speed. It is also equipped with a 3MB System Cache and 4MB of L3 Cache memory.
The Snapdragon 888 will come with Qualcomm’s Kryo 680 CPU inside with an overall performance boost up to 25% compared to the Snapdragon 865 chipset. It is also equipped with Adreno 660 GPU, which delivers 35% more graphics performance over the predecessor with an improved power efficiency of up to 20%. It also supports HDR gaming with 10-bit colour depth support and HDR Playback support for HDR10+, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision.
Qualcomm X60 Modem & FastConnect 6900 with Wi-Fi 6E
Qualcomm has integrated the 5G modem directly into the Snapdragon 888 SoC, it was one of the challenges faced by the manufacturers, which they had to find the space and the power source for the external 5G modem in the chipset. The 888 will feature Qualcomm X60 modem for the 5G connectivity. It offers better 5G Sub-6 carrier aggregation and downlink speed up to 7.5Gbps and downlink speed of up to 3Gbps.
The Snapdragon 888 also debuts the recently announced FastConnect 6900 mobile connectivity system with Wi-Fi 6 support and the new 6 GHz band support with Wi-Fi 6E. The 6E support will greatly improve the streaming gaming experience such as Google Stadia or Steam Link with its lower latency offering.
The 888 chipset features Bluetooth 5.2 version with aptX codec support and Low Energy audio features with dual Bluetooth Antenna support.
Spectra 580 tripple ISP
The Snapdragon 888 will be the first from the brand with the triple Image Signal Processor (ISP) with its Spectra 580, which will allow three different cameras to stream simultaneously. Like it is capable of capturing 4K HDR videos simultaneously or 28 MP photos on three cameras at a time. The triple ISP can also be used for staggered HDR as it is capable of processing short, medium and long exposure simultaneously.
The 888 chipset can record and play 8K videos at 30 fps and 4K videos at 120 fps and can capture 120 photos in a second at 12 Mega-pixel resolution.
AI and Security
The Hexagon 580 Artificial Intelligence processor has been integrated into the new Snapdragon 888 processor. The sixth-generation AI engine from the Qualcomm is promised to bring performance improvements in computational photography to Voice Assistance performance.
The 888 can perform up to 26 trillion operations per second with three times better power efficiency. While the second generation of the Qualcomm Sensing Hub has improved drastically with managing lower intensive tasks with the Hub, it will reduce the power consumption by not using the main Hexagon 580 AI processor.
The latest chipset from Qualcomm will be the first mobile chipset with the Content Authenticity Initiative Standard certification. It can capture cryptographically-sealed photos, which include tamper-resistant metadata that prove an image is authentic without compromising the privacy,
The Type-1 Hypervisor in the 888 chipset will allow running multiple OSes on the same hardware isolating the OS from each other, much like the Server and client in the hardware virtualization.
The Quick Charge 5 technology which were announced months ago by Qualcomm and it will be supported in the 888 chipset. It will enable the device to manage 100W fast charging solution with minimal thermal impact on the battery. With the multiple PMIC’s SMB1396 and SMB 1398 support, it can charge both wired and wirelessly in single or dual cell battery devices.
The QC 5 will have backward compatibility multiple generation back to the Quick Charge 2.0 and will have USB Power Delivery compatibility as well.