If you’ve been paying attention to the right places in the past few months it was probably obvious this was coming, but Qualcomm is announcing a higher tier to their Snapdragon 82x lineup, known as the Snapdragon 821 or MSM8996 Pro. While today’s announcement basically boils down to acknowledging that this SoC exists and that the big CPU cores have a clock speed of 2.4 GHz, it’s likely that in the months since the Snapdragon 820 was released Qualcomm engineering staff have been working on resolving various errata as well as improving their floorplanning and architecture implementation. It’s also likely that we will see a few new or otherwise revised IP blocks.

  Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 821
CPU Perf Cluster 2x Kryo 2.2 GHz 2x Kryo 2.4 GHz
CPU Power Cluster 2x Kryo 1.6 GHz 2x Kryo >2 GHz
GPU Adreno 530 624 MHz Adreno ??? ~650 MHz

What isn’t in this announcement is that the power cluster will likely be above 2 GHz and GPU clocks look to be around 650 MHz but without knowing whether there are some changes other than clock relative to Adreno 530 we can’t really estimate the performance of this part. However, this information can be subject to change depending upon what happens at Qualcomm. It's important to note here that while these changes may seem to be small that improvements in the implementation of an SoC can have a dramatic effect on performance and power. I’m sure we’ll be learning more about this SoC in the coming months so for now we’ll just have to wait and see what comes next.

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  • tipoo - Tuesday, July 19, 2016 - link

    Apple controls the benchmarking apps? Lol. Here, have some tinfoil for your hat. Reply
  • patrickjp93 - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    No, just multithreaded operations. Apple is still destroying the competition in single-threaded everything. Reply
  • Geranium - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - link

    Nokia S40 like operating will score very high even running on Cortex-A53. Reply
  • retrospooty - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Agreed, and also an 8 core ARM cpu isnt really running 8 cores in a standard sense. It uses big.little and the 4 high power ones are used when speed is needed and the low power ones are used for less important ops and when the device is idle. People that say "we dont need 8 cores on a phone" simply dont understand the tech involved and how it works. Reply
  • Ariknowsbest - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    In real life usage it was very hard to see any diffidence between the kirin 650 and s801AC (2.46GHz). Antutu score was pretty close at 56k vr 61k as well.

    But on the other hand i prefer big custom cores.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Yup, they are all plenty fast. The real life difference between the Kirin, SD820, Exynos 8890, and Apple A9 is basically nothing. Reply
  • Meteor2 - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Hmmm I think A9 is still appreciably faster than anything else, though of course it's hard to compare iOS and Android meaningfully. But the iPhones seem to get a lot done, quickly, with smaller batteries. Reply
  • retrospooty - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Apple has their own closed architecture that they totally control. They control everything from the hardware, to the drivers, to the API's and even the benchmarking apps. Open architecture is entirely different especially when benchmarking. Doing it Apple's way is "a way" to go and it benefits... Well, it only benefits Apple and no-one else. Apples stuff "benchmarks" fast at single core ops for sure... But calling it "appreciably faster" is a bit of a stretch. It benchmarks very well. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, July 14, 2016 - link

    It also benefits developers, who have a more consistent market to work with, and the consumer, who get a higher quality end product. Reply
  • easp - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    You demonstrate again that the one who doesn't understand the tech involved and how it works is you. Reply

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