Qualcomm's Snapdragon 615 SoC has eight 64-bit ARM cores

The Mobile World Congress is in full swing in Barcelona, Spain, and our inbox is flooded with press releases about new mobile products. One of the most interesting comes from Qualcomm, which has introduced its first octa-core SoC. The Snapdragon 615 combines eight CPU cores with a DirectX 11-class Adreno 405 GPU and integrated 4G connectivity. The CPU cores are compatible with the ARMv8 instruction set, too. Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon 615 is the world's first eight-core chip with 64-bit CPU cores and integrated LTE support.

The Snapdragon 615 isn't the only new addition to the family. Qualcomm has also lifted the curtain on the Snapdragon 610, which is essentially a quad-core version of the same chip.

The press release doesn't provide specific details on the CPU cores used in these SoCs, but we suspect they're based on ARM's Cortex-A53 design rather than the custom Qualcomm Krait cores found in some other Snapdragons. Krait is 32-bit-only right now, and Qualcomm already uses the 64-bit A53 in its Snapdragon 410 chip, which pairs four CPU cores with a less capable Adreno 306 GPU.

Qualcomm says the first devices based on its new 600-series silicon aren't due until the fourth quarter of this year. The chips are scheduled to start sampling in Q3, and it seems likely that they'll be joined by more powerful 64-bit offerings from the Snapdragon 800 series. The Snapdragon 600 family is designed for "high-tier smartphones and tablets," but Qualcomm's flagship products come from the 800 series, which targets "premium" devices.

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