The Snapdragon 845, expected in handsets before June, will reduce power or increase performance in graphics and video by 30 percent. Its eight-core ARM-based CPU should boost performance on other apps 25 percent.
The increases come in part from a new 3-Mbyte cache shared dynamically across SoC blocks, in addition to a 2-Mbyte L3 on the CPU block. The move to a three-issue Kyro CPU is a larger factor, said Travis Lanier, product manager for the block, which uses four semi-custom Cortex-A75s running at up to 2.8 GHz and four A55s at 1.8 GHz.
Qualcomm chose to dedicate its custom circuit designers to its recently released Centriq server processor. They are presumably back at work on a next-generation Snapdragon for 2019, likely the first to use a 7nm process and incorporate a 5G modem.
Other SoCs may sport higher CPU benchmarks, Lanier said, but they are not likely to move the needle on features users notice. Qualcomm hopes its support for video capture in Ultra HD Premium at 60 frames/second does catch users’ eyes with its 10-bit color depth, 1,000-nit luminance and BT.2020 color gamut.
Some observers noted CES is likely to see a battle over competing video standards from Dolby and others. Several TV makers and content providers Amazon, Netflix and others are supporting the Ultra HD Premium standard, said Tim Leland, product manager for video and graphics.
In still images, the 845 aims to hit a new high in the DXOMark benchmark where Qualcomm’s 835 already beats Apple’s A Series chip.
The 845 also boosts slow-motion video capture to up to 480 frames/second for HDR 10 720-progressive resolution. In addition, it increases depth sensing to 2K x 2K resolution at 120 frames/second for better biometric security and AR/VR response.
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The 845 significantly expands the Snapdragon's color palette.