The Snapdragon 765 SoC: Improved Premium With 5G

Alongside the main Snapdragon 865 star-SoC today, Qualcomm is also announcing a new addition to the 700-series line-up. To be exact, we’re seeing two new additions, the Snapdragon 765 and Snapdragon 765G. The two chips are of the same silicon, with a slight difference in performance binning, and are both successors to the Snapdragon 730.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Premium SoCs 2019-2020

Snapdragon 765
Snapdragon 765G

Snapdragon 730
CPU 1x Kryo 475 Prime (CA76)
@ 2.3GHz (non-G)
@ 2.4GHz (765G)
1x Kryo 475 Gold (CA76)
@ 2.2GHz
6x Kryo 475 Silver (CA55)
@ 1.8GHz
2x Kryo 470 Gold (CA76)
@ 2.2GHz

6x Kryo 470 Silver (CA55)
@ 1.8GHz
GPU Adreno 620
+20% perf (non-G)
+38% perf (765G)
Adreno 618
DSP / NPU Hexagon 696
HVX + Tensor

(Total CPU+GPU+HVX+Tensor)
Hexagon 688
HVX + Tensor
2x 16-bit CH

@ 2133MHz LPDDR4X / 17.0GB/s
2x 16-bit CH

@ 1866MHz LPDDR4X 14.9GB/s
ISP/Camera Dual 14-bit Spectra 355 ISP

1x 192MP or 36MP with ZSL
2x 22MP with ZSL
Dual Spectra 350 ISP

1x 36MP with ZSL
2x 22MP with ZSL
2160p30, 1080p120
H.264 & H.265

10-bit HDR pipelines
Integrated Modem Snapdragon X52 Integrated

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 1200 Mbps
4x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
UL = 210 Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6 4x4 100MHz
+ mmWave 2x2 400MHz)
DL = 3700 Mbps
UL = 1600 Mbps
Snapdragon X15 LTE

(Category 15/13)
DL = 800Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
UL = 150Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 64-QAM
Mfc. Process Samsung
7nm EUV (7LPP)
8nm (8LPP)

In terms of architecture, the new chips don’t differ as drastically to its predecessors as the flagship S865. On the CPU side, we’ve seen a slight change in the CPU layout, with the big cores now coming in a 1+1 Prime and Gold configuration, rather than an equal pairing as with the Snapdragon 730. We didn’t get more detailed info on the setup, but it’s likely that the new Prime core has larger L2 caches than the secondary big cores, if Qualcomm’s implementation here is similar to the larger flagship siblings. Clock frequencies on the Prime core have increased to 2.3GHz for the regular Snapdragon 765, whilst it goes up to 2.4GHz on the S765G. The secondary big core remains at 2.2GHz.

The big disappointment here is that these are still Cortex-A76 based CPU cores, so Qualcomm hasn’t actually updated the microarchitecture designs of the CPUs. In this regard, the new chip actually seems slightly inferior to the Exynos 980 with A77 cores, which targets the same device segment.

We continue to see 6x Cortex A55 cores at 1.8GHz alongside the big cores.

Qualcomm’s First Integrated 5G Modem

The biggest change in the SoC is the fact that this is Qualcomm’s first chipset to integrate a 5G modem. In terms of modem architecture, it’s said that the block is identical in functionality to the X55 external modem, just that it supports lesser bandwidth. 4G LTE speeds reach up to 1200Mbps download and 210Mbps upload, and 5G speeds aggregate over sub-6 as well as mmWave peak at 3700Mbps down and 1600Mbps up.

Qualcomm was keen to point out that unlike other vendors, they’re not skimping on mmWave connectivity at this category, although I do wonder if vendors will actually integrate mmWave modules on the devices with the SoC as it’s essentially a high-end feature on a more price-sensitive platform.

Also very interesting is the new SoC’s manufacturing process – it’s made by Samsung on their new 7nm EUV 7LPP node, meaning the premium SoC technically has a more advanced process technology than the flagship Snapdragon 865, although in practice this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually better in terms of characteristics.

The first Snapdragon 765(G) devices are expected to be released in the first quarter of 2020.

The Snapdragon 865 & 765: First Impressions

Overall, today’s launch was very exciting and hopefully we’ve been able to present to you with some exclusive clarifications on the new SoC platforms.

Qualcomm’s execution in recent years have been pretty much excellent, and flagship devices powered by Snapdragon SoCs have been always extremely well-rounded. Naturally we do wish the Android SoC vendors would put the pedal to the metal in terms of raw performance and efficiency and catch up with Apple’s designs, but when it comes to all other aspects of SoC design Qualcomm is in pretty much in a leadership role. That’s not to say the performance improvements of the new generation is disappointing, I’m expecting the new CPU cores to shine and Qualcomm has promises very healthy improvements in a generation where there have only been minor process node improvements.

Two big takeaways from today’s launch were camera and 5G. The camera capabilities of the Snapdragon 865 means that next year we’ll see some exciting new designs and a leap forward in camera capture experiences.

The Snapdragon 865 and 765 both supporting 5G to the fullest extend also means that the SoCs represent the foundation for 5G devices in 2020, and we expect vendors to 5G in their full line-up, with maybe only a few exceptions at the low and mid-low-range. I was quite doubtful about the value in buying X50 based 5G devices this year as they did have some crucial feature compromises, I don’t have the same qualms about the new X55 and X52 based platforms next year, and it’s likely the generation to get on board for 5G.

I’m excited to get my hands on the first Snapdragon 865 devices early next year, and hopefully we’ll be able to get more details on the platform in the next weeks and months to come.

Immense Camera Upgrades: 15 TOPs AI, 200 MPix Sensors, 8K30 Recording


View All Comments

  • generalako - Thursday, December 5, 2019 - link

    I wonder. Wouldn't it be better to have 2 + 6 cores like Apple, rather than 4 large cores + 4 small cores? That way ARM could make their main Cortex Core wider and massively increase cache, which plays a large part in Apple's performance advantage. Reply
  • peevee - Thursday, December 5, 2019 - link

    Apple does 2+4.
    6 A55s would not produce MT performance of 4 Apple Thunders though at energy-efficient frequencies.

    I suspect with the right scheduler, something like 1+8 (or even 1+12) would be the best combination of ST and MT at any given TDP.
    Especially if the small cores are redesigned to say share L1I cache (in MT-critical things they mostly run the same loops) and wide decoder and have L0I (microcommand cache) and L1D per core. Maybe even secondary expensive ALUs for superscalar execution (cheap ops like add/sub or logic can have 2-3 ALUs in each cores for the cost of only a few transistors).
  • Kangal - Saturday, December 7, 2019 - link

    A better arrangement would be 3+5.
    Most applications are still threaded with "dual core" heirachy and few spilling over the "quad core" scheduling. So having a Third Large Core would keep the single core and dual core threads running well, whilst helping to smooth off those extra/stray threads.

    The small cores are getting long in the tooth, and haven't had a decent upgrade since they were introduced back in 2015. Having the extra fifth core, and raising clocks would help slightly. But its no competition against Apple's Thunder Cores. To show you how impressive they really are, they are consuming (slightly) less than certain Cortex A55 cores whilst performing (slightly) faster than certain Cortex A73 cores.

    ARM is already at the drawboard designing their next-generation architecture: ARM v9. So I suspect that's when we will see them leapfrog the competition in 2021-2022. I'm hoping for an APU design with a monolithic GPU at the centre, surrounded by a shared RAM, then chiplet CPUs, which are then surrounded by flash storage blocks and co-processors, with the I/O finally coming out from the SoC. That way they can scale it from 3W small-phones, to 5W large-phones, 7W tablets, 15W laptops, or even 45W for a Console/Desktop-like form factor.
  • Kabm - Thursday, December 5, 2019 - link

    Apple advantage/disavantage is they cannot have modem intergrated so they have more room for cpu. Qualcomm don't have their own cpu core design anymore and they use ARM Cortex. ARM Cortex cores was designed to be desktop-like scalable cpu, also be used on other application outside phone: like ARM server, ARM AI chip,... Reply
  • Andrew Art - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    Hi, Andrei.

    Read your article. Everything was good as well.

    Could you tell Snapdragon 765 contained AI engine? Yes or not? It doesn't clear in the article. Please update article about that.

    If yes, how much TOPS will be at Snapdragon 765 AI engine?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    I updated the tables. The 765 is 5.4TOPS total across CPU+GPU+HVX+Tensor. Reply
  • PeterCollier - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    So what Android applications actually take advantage of the AI acceleration? Reply
  • Amandtec - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    There is a Android app called "GAFA Spies on You" which uses tons of inference, No TOP will go to waste... Reply
  • generalako - Thursday, December 5, 2019 - link

    Is there any chance mid-range phones would use it on a wide scale this time? I know SD730 was in very few phones last year, with most preferring the SD670 and others in the 6xx series. I'd love something like the Pixel 4a with the SD730, but I have a feeling Google will just use the SD675, which is also a mix of 2 A76 + 6 A55 cores, like the SD765 -- the differences lying in different processes and various other technologies in the latter, of course. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    I'm curious why hisilicon couldn't get to these frequencies, as stated in the Kirin 990 article.
    What kind of frequencies were they hoping for?
    How did qcom achieve these frequencies? Did they tweak the libraries?

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