Snapdragon 888 details disclosed: epic performance jump, a number of technical industry firsts

Qualcomm officially launched a new generation of 5G flagship mobile platform, the Snapdragon 888, which is a new high-end chip currently equipped with 5G in Android phones. From “865” to “888”, the unconventional naming method has already made us look forward to the breakthrough technology and performance of the new platform.

Change in naming: top product performance “fafafa”

Previously, most of the speculation about this year’s new Snapdragon 875 was the Snapdragon 875. After the launch of the “Snapdragon 888”, many discussions on social media believed that it is a product that is very suitable for the Chinese market, because “888” means luck and auspiciousness in China.

Xiaomi founder Lei Jun said in Weibo that he was surprised when Qualcomm came to discuss with Xiaomi a month ago that the next-generation SoC might be called the Snapdragon 888.

Qualcomm President An Meng said in an interview that the reason for the name “Snapdragon 888” actually represents the most advanced and top-level platform of Snapdragon.

“The number 8 has always had a special meaning for Snapdragon, representing the top platform in the Snapdragon family for over a decade. Each generation of the Snapdragon 8 Series mobile platform brings our latest mobile innovations to consumers, and these Mobile technology innovation is not only pioneered by Snapdragon, but is often pioneered in the mobile industry. The number 8 of Snapdragon represents flagship-level performance, while 888 means the ultimate in performance.” Anmon said.

In an interview with foreign media earlier today, Ammon said that the number 8 is also the lucky number in the world, for some it means infinity, success or wisdom, while for others it means luck. For example, in India, the number 8 symbolizes wealth; in China, it represents better luck.

5nm Samsung foundry CPU super core architecture

The Snapdragon 888 uses Samsung’s 5nm process technology and was officially announced at today’s summit. Following the Apple A14, Kirin 9000, and Samsung Exynos1080, the Snapdragon 888 means that the 5G flagship mobile phone chip has fully entered the 5nm era.

Samsung “frustrated” the Snapdragon 865 last year, and this time it returned to the C position. Qualcomm said that the choice of foundries is to take into account that the technology can meet the comprehensive requirements of cost, power consumption and performance.

There have been rumors in the industry that Samsung’s 5nm has a yield problem, but from Samsung’s latest Exynos1080 (first launch of vivo) and the choice of Snapdragon 888 to cooperate with Samsung, Samsung’s 5nm foundry capabilities have also made a name for itself in the industry.

In terms of CPU, Kryo 680 adopts a new 8-core architecture design. “1 super core + 3 large cores + 4 small cores” has become the industry’s first. The core architecture of “1+3+4” is currently the mainstream flagship 5G chip manufacturers. Choices, including Samsung’s newly released Exynos 1080 and Kirin 9000, all use this architecture. But the difference between the Snapdragon 888 is that its super-large core launched ARM’s Cortex-X1 architecture, with a main frequency of 2.84GHz; 3 large cores, 2.4GHz A78; 4 small cores, 1.8GHz A55.

Under the new CPU architecture, the performance of the CPU is increased by 25% and the overall power efficiency is increased by 25%.

GPU performance soars three ISP industry firsts

In terms of GPU, when upgraded to Adreno 660, the graphics rendering speed is increased by 35%, achieving the largest leap year-on-year, and the power efficiency is increased by 20%. It can be said that Adreno 660 has achieved the most significant performance improvement in history. In addition, Qualcomm has added new hardware in the Display section, such as Demura and sub-pixel rendering technology, to further improve the image quality displayed by smartphones.

In the imaging part, it is the focus of the promotion of the Snapdragon 888, and Qualcomm even calls itself a “camera company”. When Spectra launched five years ago, Qualcomm used dual ISP, and the new Spectra 580 pioneered the triple ISP format, which means the smartphone can capture three different video streams from three different perspectives and then decide which one to use. Which photo or video works best and combine them to create the best experience. The Spectra 580 will also support the latest sensor technology known as a single-frame progressive HDR sensor, the first time the concept of computational HDR has been introduced on a mobile platform.

The new ISP can shoot 2.7 gigapixel photos per second or about 120 photos per second at 12 megapixels, and image processing speed is 35% faster than the previous generation.

Performance leaps AI 26 TOPS computing power record

In the AI ​​section, the new Hexagon 780 processor integrates different AI accelerators – scalar, tensor and vector accelerators – working together as a unit, an industry first. Importantly, a layer of shared memory is also added to these accelerators in the Snapdragon 888, which is 16 times the size of its predecessor. The increased memory also allows many neural networks to run inside the Hexagon without utilizing external memory. Compared to the previous generation platform, the response time can be reduced to nanoseconds and the performance per watt is improved by more than 3 times.

Last year, Qualcomm introduced the Qualcomm Sensor Hub, which is always on when the smartphone is in standby and is context-aware. On the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm introduced the second-generation sensor hub and added a dedicated AI processor to it. It can collect and understand different types of data streams, including 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and location data streams, which is also the first time on the Snapdragon platform. The addition of these data streams creates new opportunities for smartphones to learn about their surroundings, such as a baby’s cry, weather conditions around the user, time information—all of which can also work with AI assistants to seamlessly provide recommendations.

When all those cores are grouped together in the Snapdragon 888 – including the Adreno 660, the newly built Hexagon 780, the Kryo 680, and the second-generation Qualcomm Sensor Hub – this makes up the sixth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine. The computing power of this new AI engine exceeds 26TOPS (26 trillion operations per second), making it the highest of any mobile platform and the biggest leap in performance ever made by Snapdragon.

The 8-series first integrated 5G baseband with six technologies leading the industry

At the beginning of this year, Qualcomm released the third-generation modem and radio frequency system of 5nm, the Snapdragon X60 5G modem and radio frequency system.

The Snapdragon 888 integrates the X60 5G baseband, that is, the radio frequency system. This is the first time that the Qualcomm 8-series product of the flagship series adopts the integrated baseband method. When the Snapdragon 865 was released last year, it used the plug-in X55 method. At that time, Qualcomm said that it would not ignore performance due to the pursuit of integration.

As for the integration of the X60, Qualcomm said that Qualcomm has always been able to integrate performance characteristics into the chip platform, and it is not a problem to integrate different functions together. The first consideration is whether the existing product can be optimized. Qualcomm believes that integrating the baseband is the best choice for the Snapdragon 888 due to the new architecture that will be used due to its expiration.

In the Snapdragon 888, support for TDD and FDD 5G carrier aggregation is added based on the first implementation of support for millimeter wave and Sub-6GHz frequency bands. Achieve industry-leading download speeds of up to 7.5Gbps and upload speeds of 3Gbps.

In addition, through the FastConnect 6900 mobile connection system, the Snapdragon 888 also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E for the first time, extending the powerful functions of Wi-Fi 6 to the 6GHz frequency band and achieving a transmission speed of up to 3.6Gbps. The FastConnect 6900 mobile connectivity system also supports a range of leading technologies such as 4K QAM and 4-way dual-band concurrent technology, which can further relieve Wi-Fi network congestion by increasing the number of channels from two to three. FastConnect 6900 also integrates Bluetooth 5.2 with dual antenna support for a better Bluetooth connection experience. It can be seen that the Snapdragon 888 has excellent performance in the connection performance part.

5 minutes to half charge the phone to switch between multiple systems

The Snapdragon 888 also uses Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 fast charging technology, which can support up to 100W of charging power, and it only takes 5 minutes to charge the phone from 0 to 50%. Another core component is the Qualcomm 3D Sonic fingerprint solution, which verifies fingerprints very securely and quickly.

In the Snapdragon 888, it also includes the first to achieve some major breakthroughs in the field of global audio technology, resulting in a broad technology portfolio in codecs, active noise reduction, echo suppression, and more.

The new experience is built on the basis of security. In the Snapdragon 888, Qualcomm first tried to introduce the security technology adopted on the desktop computer to the mobile terminal. The Snapdragon 888 will be the first Snapdragon mobile platform to support Type-1 Hypervisor for running multiple operating systems in their own separate secure spaces. Like desktop computing, Qualcomm’s hypervisor can enable multiple instances of the same operating system on a smartphone and switch between them on the fly.

Qualcomm’s Hypervisor creates isolation within the hardware, protecting the security and privacy of each environment. We also think hypervisors can be used in different ways. For applications, the future may be applications with their own operating system.

Hypervisor is just one of many technologies enabled by Snapdragon chipsets. In fact, Qualcomm’s security technology has expanded from Snapdragon chips to the cloud. In 2018, Qualcomm created Wireless Edge Services. This is a set of cloud services that Snapdragon can interact with, enabling applications and services to remotely verify device identities and detect the security of devices and their wireless connections in real time. Qualcomm’s service enables applications and services to securely collect information from a device to conduct risk-based assessments and deliver sensitive information to that target device. Applications and services can also utilize Qualcomm Wireless Edge Services to remotely activate hardware and software features of the chipset.

The touch response speed is increased by 20%, and the terminal game rendering technology is introduced

Today, the mobile game market has surpassed the PC side, and game performance is also the focus of the Snapdragon flagship series. Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming has been at the forefront of innovation with many breakthrough features first implemented on mobile, including delivering ultra-smooth gaming experiences such as ultra-high game rendering frame rates up to 144fps. Qualcomm sets a new benchmark in delivering the highest HDR quality, with support for features including True 10-bit HDR, hyper-realistic image enhancement, and Qualcomm Adreno Fast Mix.

In addition, Qualcomm is the first company in the industry to introduce game-level features to the mobile terminal, such as GPU driver updates for specific games and game-level forward rendering.

In the Snapdragon 888, a new third-generation Elite Gaming was launched, including Game Quick Touch technology, which avoids frame delays and can increase the response speed from touch to display by 20%.

In addition, Snapdragon Elite Gaming features Variable Rate Shading technology for the first time, which is only supported on high-end PCs and next-generation professional gaming consoles. Variable resolution rendering, powered by the new Qualcomm Adreno 660, will help reduce GPU workload while significantly enhancing gaming performance. This will enable next-generation mobile games to run at faster speeds and at higher resolutions, while still maintaining the highest possible visual fidelity. In addition, the reduction in GPU workload also reduces power consumption, allowing players to play for longer periods of time.

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