Qualcomm today announced 4 new additions to its Snapdragon 400 and 600 lineup of SoCs, along with a reshuffle and rebranding of their modem lineup. Let's begin with the new SoC offerings:

The Snapdragon 415 and 425 are additions to the low-end of Qualcomm's SoC offerings. The Snapdragon 415 is described a "quick transition piece" to the Snapdragon 410 which we suspect means it will be a pin-compatible SoC upgrade. It doubles up on the core-count from 4 A53 processors up to 8. The cores are still clocked in at the same 1.4GHz frequency. On the GPU side we see an upgrade from the Adreno 306 to a newer Adreno 405 and memory speeds have been slightly bumped from 533MHz to 667MHz LPDDR3, dropping LPDDR2 capability from the SKU.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Lineup
SoC Snapdragon 410 Snapdragon 415 Snapdragon 425
CPU 4x Cortex A53@1.4GHz 4x Cortex A53@?GHz

4x Cortex A53@1.4GHz
4x Cortex A53@?GHz

4x Cortex A53@1.7GHz
Memory
Controller
1x 32-bit @ 533MHz
LPDDR2/3

4.2GB/s b/w
1x 32-bit @ 667MHz
LPDDR3

5.3GB/s b/w
1x 32-bit @ 933MHz
LPDDR3

7.5GB/s b/w
GPU Adreno 306 Adreno 405 Adreno 405
Encode/
Decode
1080p H.264 1080p H.264

1080p30 HEVC decode
1080p H.264

1080p30 HEVC decode
Camera/ISP 13.5MP 13MP Dual ISP
21MP
Integrated
Modem
Cat. 4 150Mbps "X5 LTE" Cat. 4
150Mbps DL
50Mbps UL
"X8 LTE" Cat. 7 
300Mbps DL 100Mbps UL

2x20MHz C.A.
(DL & UL)

The Snapdragon 425 is also a octa-core A53 unit with the same GPU implementation, but clocked at a slightly higher 1.7GHz on the one of the A53 clusters. It's on the integrated modem side where things change, as the S425 employs a new integrated "X8 LTE" Category 7 LTE modem versus the Category 4 one found in the S415. The new unit also brings down the dual-ISP feature from the higher-end SoCs to the entry-level, enabling dual cameras up to 21MP. This should be an interesting SoC in the entry range as the specifications in terms of performance seem to match the Snapdragon 615 of the mid-range series.

While the entry range gets some large performance and connectivity boosts, today's biggest news comes in form of the Snapdragon 618 and 620. These are the first announced Cortex A72 SoCs, ARM's new high-end CPU architecture which was publicly announced just two weeks ago.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Lineup
SoC Snapdragon 610 Snapdragon 615 Snapdragon 618 Snapdragon 620
CPU 4x Cortex A53@1.7GHz 4x Cortex A53 @1.0GHz

4x Cortex A53 @1.7GHz
4x Cortex A53 @1.2GHz

2x Cortex A72 @1.8GHz
4x Cortex A53 @1.2GHz

4x Cortex A72 @1.8GHz
Memory
Controller
1x 32-bit @ 800MHz
LPDDR3

6.4GB/s b/w
1x 32-bit @ 800MHz
LPDDR3

6.4GB/s b/w
2x 32-bit @ 933MHz
LPDDR3

14.9GB/s b/w
2x 32-bit @ 933MHz
LPDDR3

14.9GB/s b/w
GPU Adreno 405 Adreno 405 "Next-gen" Adreno "Next-gen" Adreno
Encode/
Decode
1080p H.264

1080p30 HEVC decode
1080p H.264

1080p30 HEVC decode
2160p30, 1080p120
H.264 & HEVC
2160p30, 1080p120
H.264 & HEVC
Camera/ISP 21MP 13MP Dual ISP
21MP
Dual ISP
21MP
Integrated
Modem
Cat. 4
150Mbps DL
50Mbps UL
"X5 LTE" Cat. 4
150Mbps DL
50Mbps UL
"X8 LTE" Cat. 7
300Mbps DL 100Mbps UL

2x20MHz C.A. 
(DL & UL)
"X8 LTE" Cat. 7 
300Mbps DL 100Mbps UL

2x20MHz C.A. 
(DL & UL)

The Snapdragon 618 and 620 bring dual-channel memory back into the mid-range, employing LPDDR3 targeted at 933MHz, making them on par with today's Snapdragon 800 and 801 SoCs. The new offerings now employ full HEVC (H.265) hardware encoding and decoding, a feature first seen in the Snapdragon 810. Similarly to the 425, the usually high-end dual ISP functionality is brought down into the new SKUs and offer up to 21MP camera sensor functionality.

What Qualcomm doesn't specify though, is the GPU. We're being promised a new "next-generation" Adreno GPU, so we might be talking about a new 500-series, but we don't know for sure until Qualcomm actually announces the new architecture.

The Snapdragon 618 and 620 employ Qualcomm's new "X8" integrated modem solutions, capable of Category 7 LTE with up to 300Mbps downstream or 100Mbps upstream via 2x20MHz carrier aggregation on either upload or download channels.

Getting back to the CPU configuration: The Cortex A72 replaces the use of a higher-clocked A53 cluster as the "big" part of these new big.LITTLE SoCs. The A72 was announced as ARM's new flagship high-end core, so it's very interesting to see Qualcomm employ it in a mid-range SoC at only 1.8GHz. It would look like these new units are still manufactured under 28nm given the clock speeds. We still don't know much about the A72 core, but ARM's Peter Greenhalgh clarified that we should be seeing a 10-50% IPC gain over the A57 while improving power on the same process node and libraries. To see Qualcomm use the A72 in a mid-range SoC begs the question of exactly how big these new cores are, as pricing is be an important competitive factor below the high-end.

Qualcomm expects the Snapdragon 415, 425, 618 and 620 to ship in consumer devices in the latter half of 2015. This is an interesting timeline as the 618 and 620 pose direct competition to the Snapdragon 808 which we still haven't seen announced in any consumer device. On the high-end, Qualcomm is still keeping very quiet as we still don't know what the successor to the Snapdragon 810 will look like or what the state of Qualcomm's new ARMv8 core is in. 

Modem re-branding

Finally as part of today's announcement, is a re-branding of Qualcomm's modem line-up. The "Gobi" name is abandoned in favour of a "X# LTE" denomination. It's to be noted that the model numbers don't correspond to actual LTE category capability, as for example the X10 and X12 modems are capable of respectively Category 9 and 10 LTE. The aforementioned parts are re-brandings of the modem variants which we find in the standalone Gobi 9x45 and 9x40 and Snapdragon 808 and 810 SoCs.

Today Qualcomm raised the bar for low- and mid-range SoCs and we're looking forward to what kind devices Qualcomm's OEM partners will come up with towards the end of the year.

Source (Qualcomm)

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  • Anato - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    Who gives a shit, you aren't buying process, you are buying what the chip can do and what it takes to do it. Reply
  • danbob999 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    too many products. As always, only 1-2 of them will see actual deployment. Reply
  • A5 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Yeah, I'd be surprised to ever see the 425 or 618 in a US/EU device. Reply
  • Achtung_BG - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    X8LTE = 9x35 produced by 20nm, and Snapdragon 425, 618 and 620 should be similar. Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    The X7 is the 9x35, which is already on 20nm. Reply
  • Achtung_BG - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Four Cortex A72 it is impossible to reach 1.8GHz in smartphone 3W TDP use 28nm. FD-SOI from GloFo? Reply
  • saratoga4 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    I do wonder when we'll see FD-SOI SOCs in phones. Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Could be Samsung/GF 14nm as well. I read rumours that Qualcomm were another defector for 14nm. Reply
  • xilience - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Great article! Just a minor suggestion. It would be helpful to see specs of other series as a comparison. For example, you mention that the 618/620 would be competitive with the 808, and it would be great to see their specs/features side by side. Thanks! Reply
  • hailey14 - Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - link

    Great article. Just a minor typo:
    We still know know much ...
    Reply

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