Premium Section SoC Will get a Cortex-X CPU Core

After a 2021/2022 product cycle that was a bit extra interesting than Qualcomm maybe would have favored, 2023 has been a much more easy yr for the prolific SoC and mobile modem vendor. After releasing the primary of their Gen 2 household of elements earlier this yr with the flagship-class Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the corporate is making ready to iterate by way of the subsequent step of its product stack with the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2. Geared toward what’s turn into Qualcomm’s conventional $400 to $600 “premium” market section, which focuses on flagship-level options with extra modest efficiency and prices, for the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2, Qualcomm is aiming to ship a large efficiency increase to the platform.

Positioned because the successor to final yr’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, this yr’s iteration of the Snapdragon 7 is, broadly talking, extra targeted on bettering efficiency than including options. Whereas final yr’s Gen 1 half added mmWave help and new CPU and GPU architectures – significantly Armv9 structure CPU cores – this yr there’s solely a handful of latest options. Rather than that, nonetheless is what Qualcomm is touting as one in every of their largest efficiency boosts ever for the Snapdragon 7 household. That is being enabled largely by a much-welcomed pivot from Samsung’s beleaguered 4nm course of to TSMC’s  4nm course of, mirroring the swap Qualcomm made final yr for the well-received mid-cycle Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 half.

Additionally new this yr, Qualcomm is dropping hints that this won’t be the one Snapdragon 7 Gen 2 half we see this yr, vis-a-vie the choice to launch their first Gen 2 half because the 7+ moderately than the 7. In a nutshell, launching as a Snapdragon 7+ half leaves Qualcomm room to launch a vanilla Snapdragon 7 half in a while. To make certain, Qualcomm isn’t explicitly asserting any such half now, however there’s little purpose to launch a 7+ first except they’d plans for one thing under it; in any other case they might have launched it as 7 half ala the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, which was at all times a one-chip stack.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 7-Class SoCs
SoC Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2
Snapdragon 7 Gen 1
CPU 1x Cortex-X2
@ 2.91GHz

3x Cortex-A710
@ 2.49GHz

4x Cortex-A510
@ 1.8GHz

1x Cortex-A710
@ 2.4GHz

3x Cortex-A710
@ 2.36GHz

4x Cortex-A510
@ 1.8GHz

GPU Adreno Adreno
DSP / NPU Hexagon Hexagon
2x 16-bit CH

@ 3200MHz LPDDR5  /  25.6GB/s

2x 16-bit CH

@ 3200MHz LPDDR5  /  25.6GB/s

ISP/Digicam Triple 18-bit Spectra ISP

1x 200MP or 108MP with ZSL
64+36MP with ZSL
3x 32MP with ZSL

4K HDR video & 64MP burst seize

Triple 14-bit Spectra ISP

1x 200MP or 84MP with ZSL
64+20MP with ZSL
3x 25MP with ZSL

4K HDR video & 64MP burst seize

4K60 10-bit H.265

Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

1080p240 Sluggish Movement Recording

4K30 10-bit H.265

Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

720p480 Sluggish Movement Recording

Built-in Modem X62 Built-in

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)

DL = 4400 Mbps
5G/4G Twin Lively SIM (DSDA)

X62 Built-in

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)

DL = 4400 Mbps

Mfc. Course of TSMC 4nm Samsung 4nm

By way of CPU group, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 retains the identical 1+3+4 CPU core configuration that we’ve seen for the previous few generations of the Snapdragon 7 household. The large information right here is that the top-performing Prime core is getting a major efficiency enchancment, as Qualcomm makes the swap from utilizing a barely greater clocked mid-core to utilizing a extra performant CPU structure altogether.

So, for the primary time ever for a Snapdragon 7 half, Qualcomm is tapping one in every of Arm’s Cortex-X cores for the Prime core. The Cortex-X2 used right here is technically Arm’s previous-generation design, so it gained’t be stepping on the toes of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and its Cortex-X3 core. However in comparison with the A710 core used for the 7 Gen 1’s Prime core (and seven+ Gen 2’s mid-cores), the Cortex-X2 represents a major enchancment in each IPC and clockspeeds. Because of this, the height clockspeed for the Prime core has gone from 2.4GHz to 2.91GHz, which compounds additional with the IPC positive aspects of the extra complicated core.

All informed, Qualcomm is touting an “as much as” 50% CPU efficiency enchancment for 7+ Gen 2 over the 7 Gen 1; just about all of that is coming from the brand new Prime core.

The trade-off is that such a big efficiency increase is actually solely accessible for single-threaded workloads, since there’s solely the one Cortex-X2 core. The three mid (efficiency) cores are as soon as once more Cortex-A710 primarily based, and are clocked all of two% greater than earlier than. As such, the 7+ Gen 1 isn’t going to see large positive aspects on closely multithreaded workloads. The improved energy effectivity of TSMC’s 4nm course of ought to pay some dividends there, however a few of these positive aspects have been invested into making that power-hungry Cortex-X2 viable from a battery life perspective.

In the meantime, the 7+ Gen 2 additionally incorporates a quicker Adreno GPU. As has been the case with Qualcomm’s built-in GPUs for a few generations now, the corporate isn’t assigning a product quantity to it – not to mention disclosing important architectural particulars – so there’s a restricted quantity of element we will share. Based mostly on the characteristic abstract, it doesn’t appear to be that is utilizing the newer GPU structure from the 8 Gen 2; so it might appear Qualcomm has integrated a much bigger model of their present GPU and virtually actually given it a wholesome clockspeed increase.

No matter is the case, the GPU efficiency expectations for the brand new SoC are important: Qualcomm is boasting a large 2x efficiency enchancment over the 7 Gen 1 – a platform that solely delivered 20% greater than its personal predecessor. Although these aren’t flagship-class SoCs, Qualcomm nonetheless likes to place the Snapdragon 7 sequence as being a superb match for gaming smartphones, particularly in China, so it’s not too stunning to see Qualcomm investing a lot into GPU efficiency.

All informed, Qualcomm is touting a 13% enchancment in energy effectivity over the 7 Gen 1, at the least on an “prolonged every day use” foundation. The swap to TSMC’s 4nm course of ought to pay important dividends, as evidenced by final yr’s 8+ Gen 1 half, however on the identical time it’s clear that Qualcomm has been investing a superb portion of these positive aspects into bettering general efficiency.

Feeding the dragon is a 32-bit (twin 16-bit) LPDDR5 reminiscence controller. Not like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the 7+ Gen 2 isn’t getting help for quicker LPDDR5X reminiscence, which suggests establishment reigns for the Snapdragon 7 household. On this case, this implies help for reminiscence speeds as much as LPDDR5-6400, which works out to 25.6GB/second of reminiscence bandwidth. Contrasted with the numerous CPU and GPU efficiency will increase, there’s going to be much more strain positioned on Qualcomm’s cache and reminiscence subsystem to maintain the assorted processing blocks fed.

Talking of which, it’s not simply the CPU and GPU blocks which have seen main efficiency will increase. Qualcomm’s Hexagon DSP/AI engine block has additionally acquired a major efficiency tune-up, rivaling the 2x enhance to the GPU. Qualcomm was gentle on the technical particulars right here, nonetheless in our briefing there was no point out product of options corresponding to INT4 or micro-tiling – two main options of the next-gen Hexagon block on the 8 Gen 2 – so it appears seemingly that it is a closely beefed up model of the Hexagon block used on the earlier 7 Gen 1.

One piece of Snapdragon 8 expertise that’s making its manner all the way down to the Snapdragon 7, nonetheless, is its triple 18-bit Spectra ISP. Changing the 14-bit unit featured in earlier generations of the platform, the 18-bit unit on the 7+ Gen 2 will convey help for triple publicity computational HDR video seize, in addition to improved low gentle pictures, which Qualcomm calls their Mega Low Mild characteristic. The top result’s that the 7+ Gen 2 can seize at greater resolutions when utilizing zero shutter lag performance, and mixed with the up to date GPU, can now file 4K video at as much as 60fps, doubling the 7 Gen 1’s 4K30 restrict.

Lastly, rounding out the bundle is a reprise of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X62 built-in modem. Like final yr’s SoC, it is a mmWave + Sub-6 Launch 16 design that may obtain a theoretical most obtain fee of 4.4Gbps. This yr’s design does include a twist, nonetheless: twin SIM twin lively (DSDA) help, which is one other first for the Snapdragon 7 platform. Each lively radios on 7+ Gen 2 help 5G and 4G communications, permitting twin SIM customers to make use of basically no matter community they’d like on both radio. That is one other premium characteristic, that till now, had been restricted to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 platform.

As for non-cellular connectivity, the 7+ Gen 2 makes use of a FastConnect 6900 radio system. This can be a comparatively modest replace over the sooner 6700 radio, bumping up Bluetooth help to model 5.3 of the protocol, and rising the height bandwidth of the 2×2 stream Wi-Fi 6E radio to three.6Gbps due to dual-band simultaneous (DBS) help.

Wrapping issues up, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 will probably be coming to market in a short time. Based on Qualcomm, handsets utilizing the SoC will probably be obtainable later this month, with Redmi and Realme among the many OEMs slated to launch telephones primarily based across the new chip.

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