Today Qualcomm announces a new entry to the Snapdragon lineup with the first 700-series SoC platform. The Snapdragon 710 is a direct successor to the Snapdragon 660 but comes with a new branding more worthy of the increased performance characteristics of the SoC. The higher-end 600 series SoCs such as the Snapdragon 650 and 660 were among the first non-flagship SoCs that used big CPU cores, which brought a significant jump in terms of performance to the mid-range.

While we haven’t seen that many design wins with the Snapdragon 650/660’s, they are increasingly becoming popular among Chinese vendors for example. The Snapdragon 710 fixes this branding issue of having quite capable SoCs with large CPU cores grouped together as the 700 series, while the lower tiered SoCs such as the Snapdragon 625 or 635 remain in the 600 series .

Qualcomm Snapdragon Upper Mid-Range SoCs
SoC Snapdragon 710 Snapdragon 660
CPU 2x Kryo 360 (CA75)
@ 2.2GHz 
6x Kryo 360 (CA55)
@ 1.7GHz
4x Kryo 260 (CA73)
@ 2.2GHz
4x Kryo 260 (CA53)
@ 1.8GHz
GPU Adreno 616 Adreno 512
DSP Hexagon 685  Hexagon 680 
ISP/
Camera
Spectra 250 ISP
32MP single / 20MP dual
Spectra 160 ISP
24MP
Memory 2x 16-bit @ 1866MHz
LPDDR4X
14.9GB/s

1MB? system cache
2x 16-bit @ 1866MHz
LPDDR4
14.9GB/s
Integrated Modem Snapdragon X15 LTE
(Category 15/13)
DL = 800Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
UL = 150Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM
Snapdragon X12 LTE
(Category 12/13)
DL = 600Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
UL = 150Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM
Encode/
Decode
2160p30, 1080p120
H.264 & H.265

10-bit HDR pipelines
2160p30, 1080p120
H.264 & H.265
Mfc. Process 10nm LPP 14nm LPP

The big IP blocks found on the Snapdragon 710 are very much derivatives of what’s found on the flagship Snapdragon 845. On the CPU side we see the same 2.2GHz maximum clock on the big cores, but the Kryo 360 Cortex-A75 based CPUs are microarchitectural upgrade over last year’s A73 based Kryo 260. The little cores are also based on the newer Cortex-A55’s and are clocked at up to 1.7GHz. The performance improvements are quoted as an overall 20% uplift in SPECint2000 and 25% faster performance in Octane and Kraken versus the SD660.

The SoC now also uses the new system cache first introduced in the Snapdragon 845 – although I’m expecting a smaller, yet unconfirmed 1MB size in the SD710.

GPU-wise, this is also Qualcomm’s first mid-range SoC sporting the new 600 series Adreno. As usual we don’t have too much information about the Adreno 616 other than an expected frequency of around 750MHz. The performance benefits on the GPU are quoted at up to 35% higher performance versus the Adreno 512 in the SD660.

In terms of connectivity the new SoC implements an X15 modem which is capable of UE Category 15 in the downstream with up to 800Mbps in 3x carrier aggregation and up to UE Category 7 in the upload with up to 2x CA. The new chipset now also offers 2x2 802.11ac digital backend for WiFi – however it’ll still need an external discrete analog RF frontend.

Where the Snapdragon 710 is claimed to shine though is power efficiency. The chipset is manufactured on the Samsung's leading edge 10nm LPP node – same as the Snapdragon 845. The fact that Qualcomm is targeting a leading edge node might be a sign of the where 700-series is headed and what it’s aiming for.

It’s not only on the CPU and on the manufacturing node where the 710 borrows features from the 845- the Hexagon DSP is of the same generation and the Spectra 250 ISP also inherits most of the new features found in the flagship SoC which should greatly improve image processing for mid-range devices. The camera and display pipelines are fully 10-bit capable so it can handle HDR capture and display.

Overall the Snapdragon 710 really does seem like a toned down 845 variant which actually balances out some important aspects. It’s especially good to see the mid-range being pushed into the 10nm manufacturing node as that will give a generation power efficiency jump for the relevant devices.

The Snapdragon 710 platform is available today and Qualcomm expects consumer devices to be launched in this second quarter – meaning we’ll likely to see some vendor announcements around Computex.

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  • serendip - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    That efficiency is why I keep going for Snapdragon chips even if Qualcomm's support policies suck. I have SD650 and SD625 devices and they're both fast and more efficient than equivalent Mediatek chips. Reply
  • KatouMegumi - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    SDM710 is Dual-core Kryo360 Gold and Hexa-core Kryo360 Silver. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    I know Qualcomm's been doing it for a while, but I can't help thinking back to: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/02/qualcomm_m... Reply
  • .vodka - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    A75 and A55 cores? Interesting. Is this configured as big.LITTLE or is it based around the new DynamIQ setup? Reply
  • Wardrive86 - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    DynamIQ, notice the A55 core count Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    cool and all, am sure performance and potentially battery life will be quite decent
    however
    heat issues...had many folks use the "latest and greatest" as far as Big.little, I think they need to declock the little a bit more so a 2:1 ratio or even a 3:1 (so if 2200 for the Big, 1100 for the little) to conserve as much battery power as possible and to not have to deal with phone getting HOT when just casually using it.

    Mom just got her "new phone" and she said compared to her old LG model it is snappier but gets uncomfortably warm for no real reason where her old phone was cool as a cucumber.

    I have always really liked the concept of big core working with little ones (for GPU AMD did exactly this with VLIW designs) a "master" with a bunch of smaller "helpers" it lends itself very well for mobile processors, but not so good if it means that much extra heat cooking your hand and the battery ^.^
    Reply
  • peevee - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    "I think they need to declock the little a bit more so a 2:1 ratio or even a 3:1 (so if 2200 for the Big, 1100 for the little) to conserve as much battery power as possible"

    Little are actually more power efficient than big at the same clock. And unlike Intel/AMD CPUs, these frequencies are like "Turbo", not really you get running all of them all day long. Note "up to".
    Reply
  • jOHEI - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    well that shows you dont know much about how big.Little has been implemented (now Dynamiq)

    1st- the flagship 845 (quad A75+quad A55) doesnt even get hot during normal operation and the power used are very good.

    2- frequency is determined by Voltage, P=C*V^2*f, but the imposed frequency depends on the voltage so these companies determine the maximum frequency depending on the power draw that they want and performance required.

    the A75 core uses 1W at maximum frequency (@2.8), the little cores should use between 100-250 mW at maximum frequency.

    so Power consumption of this CPU @ max load should be around 3W maximum. + 3W for the GPU at maximum load giving a power consumption of 6W at maximum performance, something hard to get as games on mobile dont use max out the CPU.

    Comparing with other SoC's, the Kirin 970's GPU uses 6W at maximum load and those phones dont get Hot usually.

    in 2015 things were different though, with the 810 was super garbage (13W used i think at maximum?) using the 20nm process.

    The market has matured so it will be hard to find any SoC that is as bad as 2015 SoC's were.
    Reply
  • jjj - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    "The Snapdragon 710 fixes this branding issue of having quite capable SoCs with large CPU cores grouped together with lower tiered SoCs in the lower numbered SKUs in the 600 series such as the Snapdragon 625 or 635."

    Took some effort to ignore the 636 and come up with that reasoning! And you know very well that the 10$ and above SoC, going forward, will have big cores.
    They try to create value through just branding and you bend over backwards to enable that. There is nothing going on here, just marketing tricks. No idea why you felt the need to sell out and come up with factual inaccurate justifications.

    At least it's quite funny that while trying to justify their behavior , Qualcomm's deceptive tricks burned you too and you list the wrong number of cores.
    Reply
  • bug77 - Thursday, May 24, 2018 - link

    The only problem I see is price. Qualcomm's mid-range chipsets (SD6xx) have traditionally found a hard time getting into proper mid-range phones (priced at $200-250). Reply

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