Qualcomm has unveiled its new flagship processor – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset is here. Performance has been improved on all fronts compared to the Gen 1 model. The first devices based on the 8 Gen 2 are already in the starting blocks. The chip is officially known as SM8550-AB and is produced on a 4Nm node.
CPU and GPU
As with every new generation, energy efficiency was a focus in development. Qualcomm promises up to 40% higher efficiency. Nevertheless, the CPU manages up to 35% more peak performance, although the clock speeds are the same as on the 8+ Gen 1. The core composition has changed, though. The single Kryo Prime core based on the Cortex-X3 architecture runs at 3.2 GHz (3.1872 GHz to be exact). In the new chipset, however, four performance cores instead of three handle multithreaded workloads. The performance cores run at 2.8 GHz, and there are now three instead of four efficiency cores at 2.0 GHz.
The 8 Gen 2 also brings new, faster storage technologies. In addition to LP-DDR5X-RAM with up to 4,200 MHz instead of the previous LP-DDR5 with up to 3,200 MHz, the new UFS 4.0 format (instead of UFS 3.1) is also supported.
The latest Adreno GPU promises up to 25% higher graphics performance with up to 45% higher energy efficiency. The new GPU also brings support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing to the Snapdragon platform. Ray tracing has already established itself on PC and consoles, and now developers of mobile games can also use the new technology. The new GPU is also the first to support Vulkan 1.3 along with OpenGL ES 3.2.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can drive on-device displays with QHD+ resolution at up to 144 Hz or 4K displays at up to 60 Hz. It also supports external displays up to 4K@60Hz including 10-bit Rec., HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Qualcomm has also finally enabled AV1 video decoding – streams up to 8K at 60fps with HDR are supported.
According to Qualcomm, the 8 Gen 2 image processor has been optimized for Sony sensors with Digital Overlap HDR (DOL-HDR) and Samsung’s 200 megapixel HP3 sensor. Like its predecessor, the 8 Gen 2 brings a triple 18-bit ISP that can process the data from up to three 36-megapixel cameras (30 fps) simultaneously or a single 200-megapixel camera. 108 megapixel sensors are supported with no shutter lag.
As for video, the chipset is capable of recording 8K HDR footage at 30 fps while also capturing 64-megapixel photos, 4K at 120 fps, and slow-motion video at 720p and 960 fps. It supports multiple HDR formats including HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision. With DOL-enabled sensors, up to four exposures can be captured for each video frame.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also brings the new Snapdragon X70 modem. It of course supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G. Peak download speeds hit 10 Gbps, peak upload rates reach 3.5 Gbps, similar to its predecessor. The modem supports dual-SIM and dual-active (DSDA) standby, where two 5G SIMs (or 5G and 4G) are active at the same time.
Thanks to the new FastConnect 7800 system, the upcoming Wi-Fi 7 standard (802.11be) is also on board. It achieves a maximum of 5.8 Gbps instead of the previous 3.6 Gbps. In addition to speed, the new standard also reduces latency, which Qualcomm calls “wire-like”.
As before, the FastConnect system features Bluetooth 5.3. With the latest Snapdragon Sound System, it can deliver 48kHz lossless music streaming as well as 48ms low latency for gaming. Not much has changed in terms of wired connections – the chip supports USB 3.1 with Quick Charge 5.
The new Hexagon processor introduces support for a new INT4 format on a mobile Qualcomm chip for the first time. It promises 60% better performance per watt than previous technologies. The Hexagon is also generally faster – Qualcomm is claiming a 4.35x increase in AI performance. For example, the camera benefits from the performance when it automatically recognizes and separates face, hair, clothing and the background in order to process the areas differently.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be used by all major Android brands. Qualcomm lists Asus ROG, Honor, iQOO, Motorola, nubia, OnePlus, Oppo, Red Magic, Sharp, Sony, vivo, Xiaomi, Meizu and ZTE in its press release. The first 8 Gen 2 smartphones are expected to be launched before the end of the year.