5nm Samsung 5LPE Process Technology, Tri-Cluster CPU With Super-Core Cortex-X1 And Built-In 5G Modem

Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 888 flagship mobile SoC the day before yesterday, without going into technical details. As part of the second day of the annual Snapdragon Tech Summit 2020, the manufacturer, as expected, spoke in detail about the technical characteristics and features of the silicon “heart” of the upcoming flagship smartphones of 2021, so we now know everything about the new product.

Preliminary data on a three-cluster CPU with one high-performance Cortex-X1 core has been fully confirmed, as well as the fact that the Snapdragon 888 is not manufactured by TSMC. Still, Samsung – the new generation of Qualcomm’s top platform is produced using a 5-nanometer process technology (5LPE). Recall that the two previous generations – Snapdragon 855 and Snapdragon 865 – were produced using a 7-nanometer process technology at TSMC facilities.

Another important feature of the Snapdragon 888 is the built-in 5G modem. On the PCB, and therefore in the device case, this SoC will take up less space and consume less power than the previous circuit, when the modem was installed as a separate chip.

Comparison of characteristics of Snapdragon 888, Snapdragon 865, and Snapdragon 855

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855Qualcomm Snapdragon 865Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Date of announcementDecember 5, 2018December 4, 2019December 2, 2020
Process technology nm7 nm (TSMC N7)7 nm (TSMC N7P)5 nm (Samsung 5LPE)
CPU
  • 1xKryo 485 (ARM Cortex A76) @ 2.84GHz, 512KB L2 cache
  • 3xKryo 485 (ARM Cortex A76) @ 2.42GHz, 3×256 KB L2 cache
  • 4xKryo 385 (ARM Cortex A55) @ 1.8GHz, 4 × 128KB L2 cache
  • 2 MB shared L3 cache
  • 1xKryo 585 (ARM Cortex A77) @ 2.84GHz, 512KB L2 cache
  • 3xKryo 585 (ARM Cortex A77) @ 2.4GHz, 3×256 KB L2 cache
  • 4xKryo 385 (ARM Cortex A55) @ 1.8GHz, 4 × 128KB L2 cache
  • 4MB shared L3 cache
  • + 25% productivity
  • 1x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex X1) @ 2.84GHz, 1M L2 cache
  • 3xKryo 680 (ARM Cortex A78) @ 2.4GHz, 3×512 KB L2 cache
  • 4x Kryo 680 (ARM Cortex A55) @ 1.8GHz, 4x 128KB L2 cache
  • 4MB shared L3 cache
  • + 25% productivity
GPU
  • Adreno 640 @ 600 MHz
  • Vulkan 1.1
  • Snapdragon Elite Gaming
  • Adreno 650
  • Vulkan 1.1
  • Snapdragon Elite Gaming with Desktop Forward Rendering, Game Color Plus, and Graphics Driver Updates
  • 20% higher productivity
  • 35% less power consumption
  • Adreno 660
  • Vulkan 1.1
  • Snapdragon Elite Gaming with Qualcomm Game Quick Touch and Variable Rate Shading
  • 35% graphics rendering
  • 20% reduced power consumption
  • 43% faster processing of AI operations
Screen
  • Built-in screen: UHD
  • External screen: UHD
  • HDR
  • DisplayPort over USB Type-C
  • Built-in display: UHD @ 60 Hz or QHD + @ 144 Hz
  • External display: UHD @ 60Hz
  • HDR
  • DisplayPort over USB Type-C
  • Built-in display: UHD @ 60 Hz or QHD + @ 144 Hz
  • External display: UHD @ 60Hz
  • HDR
  • DisplayPort over USB Type-C
  • Pixel uniformity correction and OLED sub-pixel rendering for accurate and consistent image
AI
  • Hexagon 690 with Hexagon Vector eXtensions and Hexagon Tensor Accelerator support
  • 4th generation AI Engine
  • Performance 7 TOPS (Trillion Operations Per Second)
  • Hexagon 698 with Hexagon Vector eXtensions and Hexagon Tensor Accelerator support
  • 5th Generation AI Engine
  • Qualcomm Sensing Hub
  • Performance 15 TOPS (Trillion Operations Per Second)
  • Hexagon 780 with Fused AI Accelerator
  • 6th Generation AI Engine
  • 2nd generation Qualcomm Sensing Hub
    • new dedicated AI processor
    • 80% load reduction with Hexagon DSP
    • 5 times faster performance
  • 16 times the total memory
  • 50% faster scalar accelerator
  • twice as fast tensor accelerator
  • Performance 26 TOPS (Trillion Operations Per Second)
Memory
  • 4 × 16-bit LPDDR4 (2133 MHz) up to 16 GB
  • 3 MB system cache
  • 4 × 16-bit LPDDR4 (2133 MHz) up to 16 GB
  • LPDDR5 (2750 MHz)
  • 3 MB system cache
  • 4 × 16-bit LPDDR4 from 2133 MHz up to 16 GB
  • LPDDR5 (3200 MHz)
  • 3 MB system cache
ISP
  • Spectra 380 14-bit dual ISP
  • Single-camera: up to 48 MP with ZSL (Zero Shutting Lag) support
  • Dual cameras: up to 22MP with ZSL support
  • Video shooting: 4K HDR at 60 fps; in Slow motion mode up to 720p at 480 fps; HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG
  • Spectra 480 14-bit dual ISP
  • Single-camera: up to 64MP with ZSL support
  • Dual cameras: up to 22MP with ZSL support
  • Video shooting: 4K HDR at 60 fps + simultaneous image capture with a resolution of 64 megapixels; 4K @ 120 fps; 8K @ 30 fps; in Slow motion mode up to 720p at 960 fps (no time limit); HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG, Dolby Vision
  • Spectra 580 14-bit triple ISP
  • Single-camera: up to 84 MP with ZSL support
  • Dual cameras: up to 64 + 25 MP
  • with ZSL support
  • Video shooting: 4K HDR at 60 fps + simultaneous image capture with a resolution of 64 megapixels; 4K @ 120 fps; 8K @ 30 fps; in Slow motion mode up to 720p at 960 fps (no time limit); HDR10, HDR10 +, HLG, Dolby Vision
  • Designed for HDR Image Sensors with Pixel Shift Technology
  • Supports 10-bit color for HEIF shooting
  • New architecture for low light photography (capture photos at a minimum illumination of 0.1 lux)
  • Capture data stream at a speed of 2.7 gigapixels per second, which is 35% faster than its predecessor.
Modem
  • Built-in Snapdragon X24 4G LTE
    • download speed up to 2.0Gbps
    • upload speed up to 316 Mbps
  • Supports external Snapdragon X50 5G modem
    • download speed up to 5.0 Gbps
    • Operating modes: NSA, TDD
    • mmWave: 800 MHz, 8X carrier aggregation, 2×2 MIMO
    • sub-6 GHz: 100 MHz, 4×4 MIMO
  • Built-in Snapdragon X55 4G LTE and external 5G multi-mode
    • download speeds up to 7.5 Gbps (5G) and up to 2.5 Gbps (4G LTE)
    • upload speed up to 3 Gbps and up to 316 Mbps (4G LTE)
    • operating modes: NSA, SA, TDD, FDD
    • mmWave: 800 MHz, 8X carrier aggregation, 2×2 MIMO
    • sub-6 GHz: 200 MHz, 4×4 MIMO
  • Snapdragon X60 4G LTE and built-in 5G multi-mode modem
    • download speed up to 7.5 Gbps
    • upload speed up to 3 Gb / s
    • operating modes: NSA, SA, TDD, FDD
    • 5G CA over FDD and TDD
    • mmWave: 800 MHz, 8X carrier aggregation, 2×2 MIMO
    • sub-6 GHz: 200 MHz, 4×4 MIMO
Charging
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ (27W)
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ (27W)
  • Qualcomm Quick Charge AI
Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 (100+ W)
Means of communication
  • Positioning: Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS, SBAS, Dual Frequency support
  • Qualcomm FastConnect 6200
    • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6; 2.4 / 5 GHz; 20/40/80 MHz; DBS, TWT, WPA3, 8 × 8 MU-MIMO
    • Bluetooth: version 5.0, aptX TWS and aptX Adaptive
  • Positioning: Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS, SBAS, NavIC, Dual Frequency
  • Qualcomm FastConnect 6800
    • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6; 2.4 / 5 GHz; 20/40/80 MHz; DBS, TWT, WPA3, 8 × 8 MU-MIMO, OFDMA, 1024QAM
    • Bluetooth: version 5.1, aptX TWS, aptX Adaptive, and aptX Voice
  • Positioning: Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS, QZSS, SBAS, NavIC, Dual Frequency
  • Qualcomm FastConnect 6900
    • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6 and 6E; 2.4 / 5/6 GHz; 20/40/80/160 MHz; 4-channel DBS, TWT, WPA3, 8×8 MU-MIMO, OFDMA, 4KQAM
    • Bluetooth: Version 5.2, LE Audio, Qualcomm TrueWireless Mirroring, aptX TWS, aptX Adaptive, and aptX Voice

The Snapdragon 888 is configured with an eight-core processor with one high-performance Cortex-X1 @ 2.84GHz, three mid-range Cortex-A78 @ 2.4GHz, and four energy-efficient Cortex-A55 cores @ 1.8GHz. Qualcomm itself calls all cores its own marketing name Kryo 680, but these are reference Cortex cores without any significant modifications. The Snapdragon 888 is the first mobile SoC to use the latest Cortex-X1 and Cortex-A78 IP cores. Qualcomm estimates that the Snapdragon 888 CPU is 25% faster than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 865.

The new GPU is called the Adreno 660 and is 35% faster in rendering than the Adreno 650 GPU in the Snapdragon 865; separately, the manufacturer declares the new graphics a 20% reduction in power consumption and a 43% increase in performance in AI tasks.

The Snapdragon 888 also comes with a third-generation Qualcomm X60 integrated modem, Spectra 580 triple image processor (ISP), the sixth generation AI Engine with a Hexagon 780 processor, which is responsible for accelerating the processing of artificial intelligence tasks. But we mentioned all this in the preliminary announcement the day before yesterday.

The SoC also includes a FastConnect 6900 communication module that provides Wi-Fi 6 support, including Wi-Fi 6E (6 GHz band), Bluetooth 5.2, and Qualcomm aptX Adaptive and Qualcomm aptX Voice codecs. This Wi-Fi chip supports 4-stream (2×2 + 2×2) simultaneous dual-band (DBS) operation, enabling 6GHz 2×2 link aggregation with 5GHz 2×2 for a peak speed of 3, 6 Gbps.

Additionally, the Snapdragon 888 supports 3200MHz LPDDR5 RAM, 4K 60Hz or 144Hz QHD + displays, 100W Quick Charge 5, and USB 3.1 via Type-C port.

Xiaomi has confirmed that the upcoming flagship Xiaomi Mi 11 will be one of the world’s first smartphones to be powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC. The full list of brands that have confirmed the release of smartphones based on the Snapdragon 888 SoC:

  • ASUS
  • BlackShark
  • Lenovo
  • Lg
  • MEIZU
  • Motorola
  • Nubia
  • Realme
  • OnePlus
  • OPPO
  • Sharp
  • Vivo
  • Xiaomi
  • ZTE
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