Final Words

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 is quite possibly its most ambitious SoC to date. The goal? To drive absolute performance while maintaining power efficiency. While Snapdragon 600 was clearly about delivering evolutionary gains in performance, Snapdragon 800 intends to compete with ARM's Cortex A15 and Intel's Bay Trail platform. 

On the CPU performance front, Snapdragon 800's 2.3GHz Krait 400 cores do appear to hold their own quite well against ARM's Cortex A15. In some cases ARM holds the advantage, while in others the higher clocked Krait 400 takes the lead. We still have the question of power to answer, but Qualcomm bets it can deliver A15-like performance without A15-like power thanks to the 28nm HPM process at its foundry partners.

Qualcomm didn't have any power demos setup, so power analysis and battery life performance will have to come at a later date, but the claim is better performance at equivalent platform power as Snapdragon 600.

On the GPU side, we have a new king. Adreno 330 delivers huge performance improvements over Adreno 320 and everything else we've tested thus far. Snapdragon 800 is the new benchmark to beat. It's very clear to me why many tablet designs scheduled for later this year are based on Snapdragon 800 silicon.

The Great Equalizer: Snapdragon 800 vs. PC GPUs
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  • althaz - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link


    I'm not sure you could call them the Intel of Mobile. There's a couple of key differences - the first and most obvious being that Intel is leading in x86 IPC, power management and, this is the big difference, manufacturing. Intel won't and can't go away because they have a tangible advantage over their competitors that will require incredible investment to overcome.

    The other is that Qualcomm have a large slice of an ever-increasing pie, but Intel have basically the whole x86 cake to themselves, with the crumbs falling to AMD.

    It's probably also worth mentioning that Qualcomm seem better at producing the right improvements for consumers, wheras Intel were late to the low-power party and slow to get going on graphics to (although both are clear foci of the company now).

    Interestingly, I believe Qualcomm's mobile division is basically AMD/ATI's old mobile division, which they didn't think was worth it to keep. That's looking a like a pretty huge mistake right now.
  • tuxRoller - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    Thanks for the grammar correction, teach. Now that I know it any way you can teach it to my phones keyboard? Grammar is useful for helping to avoid ambiguity but the previous could only be understood one way. IOW, your correction wasn't needed unless you were just being anal.

    You make some good points and it's clear that not clear what it means when someone says "X is the Intel of Y". Intel using their fab is certainly a part of their success. That they are THE key x86 player is, I think, the more important touchstone. It was that which I was speaking of when I spoke of them. I THINK they are, by far, the biggest, most profitable supplier of ARM based SoC in the world. Samsung is huge but they consume what they make. TI is leaving the mobile field and haven't had a major design win for awhile.
    BTW you're right about ATI and adreno but the 300+ series is vastly different from the architectures Qualcomm inherited from ATI.
  • FwFred - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Very inconclusive without any power measurements. In its tablet reference form factor certainly beats modern SoCs in phone form factors. I'd like to see it against Tegra 4, Bay Trail, and Haswell (4.5W SDP) in a tablet form factor.
  • grahaman27 - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    I second that.
  • aryonoco - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    I agree, I want to see it next to Tegra 4, Bay Trail, and also Kabini and Temash.

    But I have to say, it looks good, really good. Especially that GPU.

    To think that Adreno was AMD/ATI's embedded graphics division that AMD didn't think was worth anything and sold for peanuts (something like $30M IIRC) to Qualcomm. Dirk Meyer really ruined that company.
  • FwFred - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    Doh, totally forgot about Temash. I was trying to think of all the fanless tablet SoCs coming out.
  • wsw1982 - Thursday, June 20, 2013 - link

    The engadget has the benchmark for snapdragon on phone and tablet. It can be seen that the snapdragon 800 is very fast in tablet setup, but only little bit faster than snapdragon 600 in phone setup. I guess this partly answered your TDP concern.
  • iwod - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    I Love the Equalizer Part. Finally we have some sense of how far we are from Mainstream Desktop Performance. Would be great if Haswell were added to the Chart, and a UL Haswell running at similar Power usage in there as well. ( Although i believe Intel would properly pressure Anand not to have done so )
  • Impulses - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    Can't believe how far behind Atom's GPU is at this point and how long Intel sandbagged the market with it...

    I've been rather disconnected from the Android news/rumor mill, any chance Snapdragon makes it into the next small Nexus tablet design? I really wanna downsize/upgrade from my OG Transformer...
  • Impulses - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    Meant Snapdragon 800, obviously.

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