Published in PC Hardware

Qualcomm overhyping Snapdragon 820

by on12 October 2015


Too much really


There are signs that Qualcomm might be over-egging the pudding when it comes to pushing its new Snapdragon 820.

Don't get us wrong, based on what we have heard it is not a bad chip, but the need for Qualcomm to have the 820 undo the embarrassment which was the 810, there is a little bit of over-hyping going on.  The Motley Fool has noticed too, from the investor's side of things.

Qualcomm has been publicly saying that CPU performance doubles from the 810. It says that the Snapdragon 820's Kryo CPU will offer twice the performance and twice the efficiency of the Cortex A57 core found inside of the prior generation Snapdragon 810.

To make matter worse there has been no reference tablets or smartphones for review sites to test to back up any of these claims. The result is that the press is having to rely on Qualcomm PR. This should raise a few eyebrows about whether those claims are true.

A slide looking at the improvements of the Snapdragon 820 (MSM8996) over the Snapdragon 810 (MSM8994) leaked ahead of Qualcomm's public disclosures. In that slide, Qualcomm said that CPU performance improved by roughly 35 per cent from the Snapdragon 810.

It would appear that the 35 percent performance improvement in the leaked slide is the peak CPU performance that the Snapdragon 820. The "twice the performance" claim is sustained performance. Sustained performance is exactly what the Snapdragon 810 had trouble with, so twice this figure is no great boast.

Testing of the Snapdragon 810 found that the 810 throttled under full load after about a minute, with CPU frequency plunging from around 1.9GHz to less than 1GHz.

As long as the Snapdragon 820 can deliver sustained CPU performance that's roughly equivalent to what the Snapdragon 810 does at peak, the company's hype of "up to twice the performance" of the Snapdragon 810 is true, but a little silly.

It really does not have to be that great anyway. It just has to offer a little bit more than the 810 without catching fire. That should be enough to get into the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy Note 6.

It might be that the over-hyping is needed to convince the world that Qualcomm still has his fingers on the industry's pulse. If the 820 turns into a turkey the company could have a few problems.

Last modified on 12 October 2015
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