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.

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  • danbob999 - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    Glasses are fashion accessories. You don't choose a specific model because it is more powerful or will give you better vision. You choose a model because it looks good. Reply
  • UpSpin - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    I need glasses. And I choose the model which not only gives me better vision, but perfect vision. You can choose between glass or plastic, with adaptive dimming in sunlight, a flexibel titan frame, or a huge bold hipster frame, with large or small glasses, with color enhancements, polarisators, AR coatings, ...
    If I had perfect eyesight, I wouldn't choose any model at all, so I only buy it because I need it, not because it's a fashion accessory, but this doesn't mean that the glasses I buy must look ugly as hell. I choose the model which fits to my person.
    The same with watches. I had a watch, because I had no mobile phone but wanted to know the time. Of course did I choose the watch which had the functions I wanted at a reasonable price and which looked the best for me. We're not talking about Rolex, or whatever, but the useful traditional watches (in my case Casio).
    The same with smartphones. And here again do we also not talk about Vertu, etc. but a competive priced high end smartphone, which, even with all those features, can and should still look good, especially if it costs +$600.
    Reply
  • danbob999 - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    You are talking about the lenses. With any model of glasses you can get lenses which will give you perfect vision.
    The glasses themselves are fashion accessories.
    Unlike your glasses and your watch, a smartphone isn't a fashion accessory. You wouldn't pick a phone just because it looks good. Specs are the most important things to consider. At least that's what I expect on a tech site. If I wanted to know which phone looked the best I woul be reading fashion magazines instead.
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    I think you try too hard to justify that design isn't important for you. I'm not a native english speaker, so I assumed that the meaning of glasses is the whole lenses+frame (dictionary confirmed this), just as the meaning of smartphone is the whole thing, not just the electronics or the casing. Now you reduced it to glasses frame, fine, but this makes absolutely no sense, because you always have to buy and use both and the frame can't be freely choosen either. Some frames only support glass, some require plastic lenses. Some frames only work for thin lenses some people with bad eyesight and thick lenses have to use other frames. You pick what both suits your needs and looks good on you. The same with a watch, the same with a car, the same with a smartphone the same with everything you spend money for. Both design and specs go hand in hand.
    Or would you like a 1kg heavy, 10cm thick smartphone if you don't care about design? What's design and what's specs for you?
    Again: At such a high price point it should look and feel great, too, thus design is important, too. Sure, if the specs are crap, then the best design is worth nothing. But the HTC One specs aren't crap, they are on par with the S4. And it's a fact that the S4 looks like the S3, and both look like all the other cheaper Samsung smartphones, and all of them have a highly glossy finish which looks, for me, very cheap. So the specs are great, but it just doesn't look like it.
    Reply
  • danbob999 - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    Most glasses can be paired with any type of lenses. I am sure you understood my point. Going back to phones, I do care about design. I care about size and weight. I care about the resistance of the phone (if I drop it). I care about the placement of the buttons. I prefer hard buttons than capacitive ones. All these are part of the design. I just don't care how it looks, and even less how it "feels". I knew schoolgirls cared about the look of their phones but I didn't imagine so many people cared about it on a tech site. It's beyond me. Did you also choose your home phone or your TV based on their look? Did you really tell yourself that you can't buy that $2000 TV because it looks like a black rectangle which looks as cheap as that $500 TV next to it? At least home phones and TVs constantly in sight, and not hidden in your pocket most of the time. Reply
  • TedKord - Thursday, May 02, 2013 - link

    Lenses are custom ground and fitted into the frames you choose. You can literally get most any lenses in any frames (except if your vision is so bad it requires super thick lenses, then you may have limitations on what frames you can pick)

    I've gone through this with my daughter, who has 20/200 vision. I've been lucky so far - while the rest of me is falling apart, my eyesight is still 20/18.
    Reply
  • mrochester - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Personally I don't see why as a consumer I can't have both functionality AND looks. Apple and HTC show that you can have both, so I don't see why I would settle for an S4 when I already have an iPhone 5. Reply
  • danbob999 - Monday, April 29, 2013 - link

    The iPhone 5 doesn't have the functionality of the S4. It's more to the level of the S3, 6 months late to get that shiny metal box.
    The One is a good phone but it does make some compromises in order to fit metal. These compromises are SD card, battery capacity and replaceability, overall phone size, included sensors, and even a little CPU speed. The S4 even supports more LTE bands (T-mobile's version supports 6 different ones)
    Reply
  • TedKord - Thursday, May 02, 2013 - link

    It depends on which you value more. I'll take functionality/versatility over aesthetics any day, so I chose the S3 over the 4s/5. I would choose the S4 over the 5/One simply because it still has expandable storage and swappable battery, and Samsung releases source/updates much better than HTC. (I've got my S3 in a Seidio Active Extended case, so you can't even tell it's got a plastic back. Plus, I can get an aluminum back for my S3 for $10 off Amazon, if the plastic bothered me - but I prefer to keep the stronger signal) Reply
  • TedKord - Thursday, May 02, 2013 - link

    But many people DO choose a smartphone based solely on looks, or what others own. Probably not the folks in forums like this, but they're a small minority. The general public is sold on shiny and pretty. Reply

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