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    Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon 845: Offers clues to next year's smartphones

    A couple days ago at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, the company finally unveiled its next flagship smartphone processor: the Snapdragon 845. The chipset sports improvements across the board, ranging from new processing technology to an improved modem. Qualcomm’s press release is heavily focused on multimedia, virtual reality, and security, but we’re going to dive into everything that this chip has to offer next year’s flagship smartphones. The chipset will retain the same 10nm footprint as its predecessor, but feature revamped architecture that brings about new features like 4K HDR video capture on smartphones and improved AI processing. The Snapdragon 845 will likely be found its way to Windows 10 laptops as well.

    The Snapdragon 845 being the first SoC to be based on a DynamIQ big.LITTLE CPU organization also undoubtedly suggests that the Kryo 385 CPUs are based on ARM's Cortex A75 and Cortex A55 IPs, as these are the only DynamIQ compatible CPU cores available to date. The Kryo 385 gold/performance cluster runs at up to 2.8GHz, which is a 14% frequency increase over the 2.45GHz of the Snapdragon 835's CPU core. The silver/efficiency cluster is running at 1.8GHz, this is clocked slightly slower than the A53's on the Snapdragon 835. Qualcomm has also implemented 2MB of L3 cache, which is designed to improve efficiency and latency across the CPU. Nevertheless the efficiency cores promise 15% boost in performance compared to its predecessor.


    When it comes to graphics, Qualcomm says the new Adreno 630 GPU is both 30 percent faster and 30 percent more power efficient than the Snapdragon 835's Adreno 540. The main benefit of this extra performance will be seen when using the Adreno 630 to power mobile VR experiences like a Gear VR or Google Daydream. And when combined with Qualcomm’s new Multiview rendering, the Snapdragon 845 should be able to hit 120 fps at 2K x 2K resolutions.

    Another significant improvement is the Snapdragon 845’s image signal processor (ISP), the Spectra 280 ISP. With the new Spectra ISP, there is a much stronger focus on pixel quality and color volume, which results in more accurate, more vibrant and more lifelike photos and video. Qualcomm is going to be the first with Ultra HD Premium video recording, which translates to being able to capture 4K HDR video footage.

    Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days and it’s a key focus for the 845, with Qualcomm now on its 3rd-generation of AI platform. The firm is touting three times the performance compared to the 835 with lower latency, improved privacy and better reliability. This will mean using digital assistants will be faster, more accurate and more natural.

    The Snapdragon 845 is Qualcomm’s first SoC to have an SPU (secure processing unit), which is a new subsystem designed to protect data about your fingerprints, iris, mobile payments, SIM, and more.

    The new chip has already started shipping to manufacturers and is due out in devices early next year. That means there’s a pretty good chance we’re going to see quite a few devices announced in roughly a month from now at CES. Huawei has already announced its intentions to use the chip on an unnamed flagship, and if the 835 is any indication, most of the other major Android manufacturers will join them soon enough.

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