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
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  • RiotSloth - Saturday, April 27, 2013 - link

    Bizarre, had to read that twice to make sure you weren't joking. Have you read the HTC One review? Seriously, you think removable battery and sd card slot is a game breaker? Jokes.... Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - link

    IMO whether a phone has a plastic or aluminum shell adds absolutely zero to the daily functionality of any phone. If one can make a case for increased signal strength or something other than just that its NOT metal, I'd see that as an acceptable functional difference. It just comes off as unnecessary filler IMO.

    Most users will be wrapping thier phones in what.....whats that....some form of plastic or rubber protectors? For those of you who are very good at caring for your phones and choose not to use any form of additional protection, what are the real world odds that the metal case will be better protection over plastic? Perhaps there should be a rigorous test scenario set up by Anandtech to test the reality of true protection using metal over plastic cases?

    The 2014 Ford Mustang comes with either a 3.7L V6 (305 HP) or a 5.8L supercharged v8 (631 HP) while the core frame and shell are both the same. My point is.....It's what's under the hood that really counts.

    Same with mobile phones today. Please stop focusing on case materials if they have zero to do with operation/specs.
    Reply
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - link

    My point using the Mustang...would you prefer the V6 or the v8?

    No factoring cost of fuel of course.

    Best wishes you whatever you select as your mobile phone.
    Reply
  • Zeratul56 - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - link

    Your argument is ridiculous. The 2014 mustang is something most people can agree is well designed and beautiful car.

    A better comparison would be would you rather have that supercharged v8 in the body of The current mustang or an old 90's beater.
    Reply
  • kevith - Thursday, April 25, 2013 - link

    Correction: Most people = Most Americans Reply
  • CoryS - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Correction...some Americans. Reply
  • Crono - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - link

    Last time I checked, I don't hold my car in my hand. Plus the comparison should between a Mustang and an uglier higher HP car.

    And I do prefer the V6 as a daily driver. You can't just leave fuel cost out of the equation because you want to.

    HTC One and 2012 Mustang V6 owner.
    Reply
  • Kutark - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - link

    What you failed to mention in your example is that the base v6 mustang looks almost nothing like the GT500. People would NOT pay the premium for the GT500 if the only difference was the engine/drivetrain. Aesthetics are extremely important to people and not just for outward reasons. The gt500 looks absolutely amazing, the base v6 while it doesnt look bad, is only moderately attractive, but still very "meh". A little goes a long way. Just like why HTC's plastics felt better than Samsungs.

    I am a fan of engineering. Its why i tend to prefer german cars over american cars (though there are some im impressed with, cadillac CTS-V for example). If something has brushed aluminum or magnesium, or billet aluminum, etc etc. I'm all about it. And it has nothing to do with what other people think.

    Also, like someone else said, cost benefits are meaningless unless they are passed on to the consumer, which they typically arent. This phone will likely cost as much as the HTC One and frankly its not a better phone. Its more like comparing oranges to tangerines. Basically IMO if you dont care about a replaceable battery or an SD slot, get the HTC One, if those two features are important to you, get the samsung. Im sure people would be pleased with either phone.
    Reply
  • beluga - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - link

    I am fine with the choice of materials. The GS3 looks fine to me. I don't treat my phone like a precious jewel but take it into rough conditions. Plastic is softer than metal so when it drops it acts as more of a bumper for the fragile parts inside. If it gets scratched up I get another back off ebay for a few bucks. And most importantly - it makes the back easily removable to access battery and storage without using tools. Reply
  • Roffles12 - Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - link

    fans of the solid aluminum chasis are a very vocal and illogical minority. very annoying in fact. i have yet to hear any logical argument for why it's better. "it feels nicer in the hand" isn't a reason, but rather a completely subjective opinion. by my logical observation, the aluminum phones are actually more fragile and prone to scratching. aluminum is also more rigid which means it will have greater energy transfer on shock impact, resulting in a greater chance of shock energy transferring to the screen, thus damaging it. you're almost forced to purchase a case to protect it.

    i think the sales figures for the gs3 alone show that most people don't care if their phone looks like a piece of jewelery. please save your opinions of vanity for the imaginary fashion show in your head. i much prefer polycarbonate plastics for logical reasons. i've been using my gs3 for a year without a case and it looks just like new. if i want to be flashy, i'll wear my nicest watch. my phone is for functionality, so the gs3's build is par for the course. The 45 total second battery swap of a GS3/4 (thanks for flexible plastics) compared to 3.7 hour charging for the HTC One (thanks to a solid metal frame) is all that really needs to be said on the matter. case closed. argument over. shup up. go away.
    Reply

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