Snapdragon 820 SoC will arrive in over 60 devices in 2016

Qualcomm has been teasing and tormenting us with its Snapdragon 820 SoC for months. Today, the company officially introduced the chip. To mark the occasion, Qualcomm held an event in New York, where marketing honcho Tim McDonough also hosted a Twitter-based Q&A session.

Let's recap what's on board this SoC. The Snapdragon 820 will have four cores based on Qualcomm's custom 64-bit Kryo CPU. Zeroth, the company's first "neural processing platform," is also in the new chip. Zeroth is apparently a dedicated deep-learning block that can be used for tasks like automatically categorizing photos by subject matter.

Updated Adreno 530 graphics ride shotgun, along with Qualcomm's Hexagon 680 DSP, Spectra ISP, and X12 LTE modem. Finally, devices based on the 820 should refuel in a hurry thanks to Quick Charge 3.0, too. The Snapdragon 820 is built on a 14-nm FinFET process.

The questions in the Twitter after-party covered a broad range of topics, but the most popular ones asked where consumers will see the next Snapdragon. McDonough didn't—and perhaps couldn't—give many specifics, but he says the Snapdragon 820 will make its way into plenty of devices starting in the first half of 2016.

Another major concern was the Snapdragon 810's reputation for running hot under duress. With the Snapdragon 820, McDonough says the company has a much better handle on power efficiency.

Qualcomm has made a number of promises regarding the performance of this new SoC, including major increases in CPU and graphics performance along with big gains on energy efficiency. We'll have to see whether those promises hold true once companies begin shipping Snapdragon 820-based hardware next year.

Ben Funk

Sega nerd and guitar lover

Comments closed
    • cybot_x1024
    • 4 years ago

    > #Snapdragon820 sets a new bar for performance and is 30% more efficient.

    30% more efficient than? The 810?
    How much less/more power does it draw than the 805?
    I would think claiming efficiency over the 810 wouldn’t be so hard to achieve given the thermal issues that plagued the 810.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 4 years ago

    I just bought a Snapdragon 805 phone. And yes, it’s only 32-bit, but really, it’s plenty fast on Marshmallow, quite smooth and buttery really. I’m sure 3GB of RAM doesn’t hurt, but the only thing I could see that needs improvement is changes to increase battery life.

    So, I guess I see the priority as increased IPC for more efficiency (and allowing them to downclock and get the same performance) and a better die process with minimal leakage.

    • ClickClick5
    • 4 years ago

    Gonna be hard to get your hands on one if only 60 devices are being made.

      • willmore
      • 4 years ago

      Pedant high five!

      No, stop, you did that wrong, it’s like this….

    • maxxcool
    • 4 years ago

    Never knew we needed a ARM enabled Hotplate ? Or food warmer… 😉

    • The Dark One
    • 4 years ago

    This whole year has been a wash for devices shipping with Qualcomm chips. I don’t know if they were convinced from a marketing point of view that they had to absolutely go 64-bit, or if their in-house ARMv8 implementation just wasn’t ready, but the reference design cores they rolled with weren’t competitive at all.

      • Flying Fox
      • 4 years ago

      In my view Apple won this round of the marketing-driven tech race. Both Samsung and Qualcomm were forced to scramble and went 64-bit before they were ready (yes, even the 7420 overheats if shooting 4K long enough, despite being on the latest fab tech).

    • albundy
    • 4 years ago

    glad i waited before jumping to a new phone.

    • Unknown-Error
    • 4 years ago

    AT has some details: [url=http://www.anandtech.com/show/9778/qualcomm-snapdragon-820-experience-hmp-kryo-and-demos<][u<]Link[/u<][/url<] Interesting configuration. Its not big.LITTLE but 2 clusters of Kryo cores, Kryo HP & Kryo LP. Its quad core (2HP + 2LP). No more crazy octa-core or deca-core and the architecture is identical in-contrast to A72/A57+A53

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]Zeroth is apparently a dedicated deep-learning block that can be used for tasks like automatically categorizing photos by subject matter.[/quote<] It's good to know they continue to come up with better ways to spy on us. /s

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    Does it make my smartphone go for longer between charges without sacrificing peformance?

    Yes = \o/
    No = Krogoth

    • Platedslicer
    • 4 years ago

    I doubt Qualcomm will rival Apple in IPC… not because of their engineering prowess or lack thereof, but because a higher IPC core needs to be wider and thus bigger, and that runs against the MOAR CORES marketing routine.

    It seems hard to believe, but there really are a bunch of people who think that all “cores” are created equal.

      • blastdoor
      • 4 years ago

      If they do rival Apple in IPC and if everything else in this SOC is as good as it sounds then the die size would have to be huge relative to the A9. Given the economics of the Android market it’s a little hard to believe that Qualcomm would go with a massive die. So…. yeah… it probably doesn’t rival Apple in IPC.

      • tipoo
      • 4 years ago

      Plus Apple spends an enormous amount of die space on L2 and L3 cache for the thing, 3MB L2 and 8MB L3 are where desktop quads are. Apples benefit is they know they are going to sell the SoC wrapped in a high margin high sales product, so they can spend more on die space.

    • TheJack
    • 4 years ago

    64 bit capable is not the same as 64 bit native, is it? Are they kind of emulating 64 bit?

      • DancinJack
      • 4 years ago

      The 820 is native 64.

        • TheJack
        • 4 years ago

        The link says “64 bit capable”, that’s why asked.

          • UberGerbil
          • 4 years ago

          Marketing emphasis. Virtually all the code out there is 32bit, so while being 64bit capable is an important checkbox item it’s not really relevant in terms of what code it can run right now. A year or two from now, when 64bit is all that matters and 32bit is merely for legacy usage, the marketing would describe this as a 64bit chip that was “32bit capable”

            • TheJack
            • 4 years ago

            Are you implying that my suspicion is correct?

      • ronch
      • 4 years ago

      I’m pretty sure this new SoC is more 64-bit than the old Atari Jaguar.

        • TheJack
        • 4 years ago

        I wouldn’t be so sure. They were caught off guard when Apple brought out their 64 bit, so it could be possible Snapdragon is emulating 64 bit, why else would they say 64 bit capable?

          • ferdinandh
          • 4 years ago

          Dude, this is not the time to wear your tinfoil hat.

            • TheJack
            • 4 years ago

            I thought this is what this forum is all about!

      • kuttan
      • 4 years ago

      64 bit cant be emulated.

    • blastdoor
    • 4 years ago

    If this ends up being as impressive in real life as it sounds on paper then Apple might finally have a competitor.

    • DancinJack
    • 4 years ago

    I’m honestly a little meh about this. Apple is just killing it so hard on the CPU front right now. I really do hope the 820 introduces some new, useful features though. I’m talking about a real, discernible difference to the end-user. Not just some spec on a whitepaper.

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    I call #28 right now!

      • LostCat
      • 4 years ago

      Did anyone answer?

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