Galaxy S 4 - Powered by a Better Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064AB)?

At a high level, Samsung's Galaxy S 4 integrates Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 SoC. From what Qualcomm told us about Snapdragon 600, we're dealing with four Krait 300 cores and an Adreno 320 GPU. The Krait 300 cores themselves are supposed to improve performance per clock over the original Krait CPU (Krait 200) through a handful of low level microarchitectural tweaks that we've gone through here. The Krait 300 design also allegedly improves the ability to run at higher frequencies without resorting to higher voltages. This isn't the first time we've talked about Snapdragon 600, but since then a few things have come to light.


Snapdragon 600 from HTC One - Chipworks

For starters, Chipworks got their hands on a Snapdragon 600 SoC (from an HTC One) and delayered the SoC. In its investigation, Chipworks discovered that Snapdragon 600 had the exact same die area as the previous generation Snapdragon S4 Pro (APQ8064). Also, although you'd expect APQ8064T markings on the chip itself, the part carried the same APQ8064 label as previous S4 Pro designs. 


Avenger 2 Markings on Snapdragon 600 die from HTC One - Chipworks

Chipworks did note however that there were some subtle differences between a standard APQ8064 and the Snapdragon 600 SoC from the HTC One. The Snapdragon 600 from the One is labeled with an Avenger2 codename rather than Avenger, the latter was apparently present on prior APQ8064 designs. Chipworks also noticed differences in the topmost metal layer, although it's not clear whether or not they stopped there or found no differences in lower layers.

All of this points to a much more subtle set of physical differences between APQ8064 and the earliest Snapdragon 600s. Metal layer changes are often used to fix bugs in silicon without requiring a complete respin which can be costly and create additional delays. It's entirely possible that Krait 300 was actually just a bug fixed Krait 200, which would explain the identical die size and slight differences elsewhere.

That brings us to the Galaxy S 4. It's immediately apparent that something is different here because Samsung is shipping the Snapdragon 600 at a higher frequency than any other OEM. The Krait 300 cores in SGS4 can run at up to 1.9GHz vs. 1.7GHz for everyone else. Curiously enough, 1.9GHz is the max frequency that Qualcomm mentioned when it first announced Snapdragon 600.

Samsung is obviously a very large customer, so at first glance we assumed it could simply demand a better bin of Snapdragon 600 than its lower volume competitors. Looking a bit deeper however, we see that the Galaxy S 4 uses something different entirely.

APQ8064 from a Snapdragon 600 based HTC One - Chipworks

Digging through the Galaxy S 4 kernel source we see references to an APQ8064AB part. As a recap, APQ8064 was the first quad-core Krait 200 SoC with no integrated modem, more commonly referred to as Snapdragon S4 Pro. APQ8064T was supposed to be its higher clocked/Krait 300 based successor that ended up with the marketing name Snapdragon 600. APQ8064AB however is, at this point, unique to the Galaxy S 4 but still carries the Snapdragon 600 marketing name.

If we had to guess, we might be looking at an actual respin of the APQ8064 silicon in APQ8064AB. Assuming Qualcomm isn't playing any funny games here, APQ8064AB may simply be a respin capable of hitting higher frequencies. We'll have to keep a close eye on this going forward, but it's clear to me that the Galaxy S 4 is shipping with something different than everyone else who has a Snapdragon 600 at this point.

Battery Life & Charging CPU Performance
POST A COMMENT

332 Comments

View All Comments

  • medi02 - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    Never heard something as idiotic.
    Samsung's AMOLED is the reason I don't even consider other manufacturers.
    Reply
  • superflex - Friday, May 03, 2013 - link

    Until you get it in direct sunlight. AMOLED definitely has it's limitations. Reply
  • Belard - Saturday, April 27, 2013 - link

    I find the HTC One a truly exciting design compared to the SGS4... The cheap plastic look and feel of Samsung is why I bought the AtrixHD instead (same feature set, but crappy camera) as it looks different and looks better. The HTC feels like a well made product... looks great all over.

    But why it MAY NOT matter how the Samsung looks is for people who ALWAYS puts an external protection case over their phones, so with the HTC One & iPhones - you don't get to see sign industrial designs that make them sexy and made the purchase... silly, isn't it?

    So... for the case protectors, it doesn't matter.
    I like my phone to be as small as possible... I don't use them... and so the HTC One will matter more. Also, all that touchwiz stuff is... kind of ugh.
    Reply
  • RiotSloth - Saturday, April 27, 2013 - link

    I love Anandtech, and in particular Brian Klug's excellent and objective reviews. If you really want to know all about a new phone, it really is THE place to come and read. I assumed others would feel the same, but NO, there seems to be the same infantile nonsense on here as on other sites. Why do people get so fixated with people's phone choice? As I pointed out on another site, both of these phones are capable of explaining the sum of human knowledge to you almost instantly. they take pictures, they can direct you anywhere, they play music and HD video. In short they are probably the most amazing thing ever created in the whole of human history. And yet people make infantile remarks over whether one is plastic or metal?! Reply
  • MarkHunt - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    Have to say it, but majority of the new Chinese Android quad core phones do nearly everything the S4 does for a pittance for a similar performance level. The build quality of the S4 looks no better either. Reply
  • medi02 - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    Exactly how much does Samsung save but not using metal cover?
    Is it really more than couple of bucks?

    PS
    Got Samsung's first Galaxy S (9001).
    About 2 years old.
    Never used any kind of protection for it whatsoever. I bet most people whining about it being plastic would use some protective cover on it anyway.
    Reply
  • medi02 - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    "Most users admittedly don't care however and just see "bright" colors."

    Uhm, check any pro-sumer camera out there, which of them does NOT oversaturate taken pictures in JPEG mode?
    This can't be a hardware fault, can it, after all, RAW looks fine.

    So the only reason they oversaturate is because MOST CONSUMERS ACTUALLY LIKE IT THAT WAY. Models that use TFTs can't go as far, since, well, you know, cough, they are actually inferior to AMOLEDs, cough...
    Reply
  • rohini - Sunday, April 28, 2013 - link

    And finally the Galaxy SIV has been launched in India for INR 41500 which is a bit expensive but it is well under the asking price for the 16GB version of iPhone 5 16GB and HTC Butterfly.
    People in India who are planning to buy the S IV should also be aware of the other alternatives close to 40k INR. http://goo.gl/MbJ95
    Reply
  • Alvar - Monday, April 29, 2013 - link

    <a href="http://tinyurl.com/cunrjq6">6 Reasons to get the Samsung Galaxy S4</a> Reply
  • heleymartin88 - Monday, April 29, 2013 - link

    </b><a href="http://is.gd/tDlFss">The bettel between android smartphone begin now.From hands-free gesture controls to a “photobomb”-erasing feature, here’s why you’ll want the Samsung Galaxy S4.6 Reasons to get the Samsung Galaxy S4.....</a></b> Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now