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

  • Andrei Frumusanu - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    No transistor disclosure from QC. For die sizes, we'll likely have to wait a few months. Reply
  • Raqia - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    Quick and dirty pixel counting on this pic of a penny (19.05 mm diameter, ~285 mm^2) next to the 865 gives ~200mm^2 for the package:

    Seems like most of the budget went to the DSP, some to the GPU, and some to the larger caches. Assuming no density changes for N7P, this is about 2.76 times the die area of the 855. According to:

    The 855 weighs in at about 6B transistors. Quick and dirty estimate: ~16.55B transistors?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    I'd gather your off in your estimate by about 8-9B transistors. Reply
  • Raqia - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    You're probably right given this shot of the 8cx:

    which weighs in at around 10B transistors at 122mm^2 and has a larger package size. :)
  • tijag - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    A13 manufactured on this node is 8.5B transistors, doubt strongly the 865 will be much more than that. Reply
  • tijag - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    I see how you got to roughly 200mm^2 for the package but i'm guessing something is off on the scale or the chip is much much smaller than the BGA package its on. Reply
  • skavi - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    I'm going to guess ~85mm^2 with ~7 billion transistors based on the image. Reply
  • Raqia - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    You are probably right. Considering that this bump is from 6 billion - x24 modem transistors, it should be a pretty healthy gain over the 855 in GPU and DSP. Next year's TSMC 5nm process with almost double the transistor density over its 7nm processes should bring far steeper gains even with an integrated x55 modem. I'm fully expecting +75-100% performance gains in GPU and DSP with gobs more cache; their next high end part might warrant a 9xx designation. Reply
  • generalako - Thursday, December 5, 2019 - link

    That's assuming to go over to a new architecture as well.

    I'm more interested about CPU(s). A78, and if ARM will actually get off their asses and give us a successor for the A55, as they seriously need to up their game here, compared to Apple -- both in terms of power efficiency and performance. I'm sure the A78 will continue the 25% IPC improvement trend, which is still very nice, but it's in an A55 successor ARM needs to do something. It's ridiculous how Apple can make a new power-efficient core every single generation, whereas ARM, whose only task is to do this, and who supplies their designs to a huge industry for far more units than iPhones, spend 3 years between them.
  • Raqia - Thursday, December 5, 2019 - link

    There will be more straightforward gains for caches and units besides the CPU with a denser process as those workloads are more embarrassingly parallel even on the same slice/core/module architecture, and the bump from 7nm to 5nm in transistors per mobile SoC will be equal to today's mid-tier desktop GPUs.

    It's unclear what went into this year's vastly improved Thunder cores in the A13, but at least some of it has to do with Apple's simpler cache hierarchy and ever bigger caches with 8MB of L2 for the 2 large cores, 4MB for the 4 small cores, and a whopping 16MB for the system level L3 cache; the A77 by comparison has 512KB-256k of L2 for the big cores, 128kb of L2 for the little cores, and 4MB of L3 + 3MB of system L4. There's also the fact that they don't need to address server class Neoverse style designs as well with whatever cores they design. Having no need to integrate a modem simplifies Apple's foundry process requirements and lets it devote more die area to its CPU and caches.

    As for Android CPUs at 5nm, I could see Android SoCs going to 12 cores on the CPU side or going with more cache per core / CPU complex. I don't expect as much of a single threaded performance change with the Hercules core as it'll get tougher and tougher to wring out more performance from the A76 base design that it will be based on; the successor Matterhorn though... They changed the CPU cluster design greatly with the A75+A55 combo introducing an L3 cache and have seemingly maintained this uncore through A76+A55 and A77+A55; we'll see soon enough if they have a new small design at ARM's techday in May, maybe they'll use the A65AEs next year.

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