Published in PC Hardware

Snapdragon 810 is a 20nm A57 SoC

by on08 April 2014

Ships this year, devices in 2015

The latest phones including the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 are launching with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 SoC. There is another Krait-based in the making, the Snapdragon 805, and Qualcomm has finally revealed its 64-bit plans for the high-end SoC parts.

The new performance leader from the house of Qualcomm is the Snapdragon 810 and will be the company’s first high-end 64-bit, 20nm SoC that can even support LPDDR4 memory.

No custom cores for now

The chip is based on Cortex A57 and Cortex A53 cores that will work in Qualcomm’s version of big.LITTLE. You will have four A57 high performance cores for heavy lifting, and four A53 cores for idling and easier tasks.

The surprising bit of course is that Qualcomm VP Anand Chandrasekher made a few questionable comments about octa-core chips and 64-bit cores just last year. Qualcomm was clearly working on them at the time, but for some reason Chandrasekher decided to call them “dumb” and “marketing gimmicks.”


This was clearly not the official line and Chandrasekher was eventually demoted for causing a few PR problems for Qualcomm. The company went on to announce its first 64-bit part a few months later and in February it announced the Snapdragon 615, its first 64-bit octa-core.

This is not a big surprise as Krait cores in 20nm with 64-bit are in the making and traditionally custom cores come after the ARM core version of the chip. This has happened before and will happen again, as it makes the transition a bit easier.

New GPU, 4K support, better imaging support

The new Adreno 430 GPU should be enough for upcoming 4K displays and should be some 30 percent faster than Adreno 420. Qualcomm also states that in GPGPU performance the new chip is 100 percent faster than the Adreno 420 and consumes 20 percent less, thanks to the 20nm process presumably. The new GPU has support for OpenGL ES 3.1 plus hardware tessellation, geometry shaders and programmable blending.

The new Snapdragon also enables a rich, native 4K/Ultra HD user interface and better camera support. The video and camera suite has been updated with gyro stabilisation and 3D noise reduction for high quality 4K video at 30 FPS and 1080p video at a stunning 120 frames per second.

Qualcomm introduced new 14-bit dual Image Signal Processors (ISPs) capable of supporting 1.2 GPixel/second throughput, with support for imaging sensors up to 55 megapixels.

4th generation LTE, MU-MIMO and more

The new chip and platform support LPDDR4 memory, but more importantly the Snapdragon 810 features a 4th generation LTE advanced multimode modem with support for the Qualcomm RF360. This new chipset supports 3x20MHz Carrier Aggregation enabling speeds up to 300Mbps, but it will be up to provides to support this standard.

When it comes to wireless the new SoC supports VIVE 2-stream 802.11ac with multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO), which makes WiFi networks more efficient than ever in order to maximize the performance of local connectivity for mobile devices. Support for the new Bluetooth 4.1 standard is also on board, along with NFC, Qualcomm IZat location core for ubiquitous and highly accurate location services as well as USB 3.0.

Qualcomm plans to ship the Snapdragon 810 in the second half of 2014, but it expect us to see them in devices in early 2015. A cheaper and slower version of the SoC, dubbed Snapdragon 808, is also on the way. Samsung Galaxy S6 anyone? 

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