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Snapdragon 820: Here’s the chip that will power next year’s flagship smartphones

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Snapdragon 820
Hoping the brightness is thanks to dramatic effect, not overheating...

Qualcomm’s mobile chips appear in loads of top-end smartphones, so anticipation is running high for the company’s next flagship processor.

Fortunately, Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 820 chip appears to have been detailed in full ahead of launch.

That’s thanks to leaked slides that a China-based source (via GForGames) purports to be official documentation about Qualcomm’s flagship chip for 2015.

The first thing to note about the chip – version MSM8996 – is that it is built using a 14nm FinFET manufacturing process.

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That’s significantly more efficient than the 20nm process used for the Snapdragon 810, and should see improved power and battery performance.

It also puts it on par with the FinFET-produced Samsung Exynos 7420 chip, at least in terms of manufacturing process.

What’s more, the documents claim “significant thermal improvements” compared to the 810. That’s good news, because the 810 was plagued with complaints about overheating issues.

The slides also point to the Snapdragon 820 using custom-built ARM-based “Hydra” processor cores – not ARM stock designs – which reportedly offer a 35% performance improvement.

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It’s worth noting that we had previously heard the 820 processors would be named “Kyro”, so either the name has been changed or the original information was spurious.

Interestingly, Samsung is chopping the number of cores down from the octa-core 810 – the 820 will only be quad-core.

The Snapdragon 820 also appears set to use an Adreno 530 GPU with 40% improved performance and 30% power improvements.

So what can the new chip support? As it’s a top-end chip, you’ll get support for (1) dual-channel LPDDR4 memory up to 1,688Mhz, (2) 4K video decoding at 60 frames per second, and (3) 28-megapixel image capture at 30 frames per second.

Related: Octa-core vs Quad-core: Does it make a difference?

Earlier today, we reported that Qualcomm is expected to officially unveil the Snapdragon 820 at an August 11 event in Los Angeles.

The Snapdragon 820 will feature in some of the top bill phones of 2016, and could appear as early as the end of this year.

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Previous reports have pointed to Qualcomm kicking off sampling with manufacturers in the second half of 2015, so these new leaks gel with that timeframe.

Check out our smartphone group test video below:

Dead Words

August 5, 2015, 4:09 pm

Good, 14nm.
Good, they didn't double the cores for the sake of doubling the cores (it obviously didn't help much with the Snapdragon 810).
Good, better thermal performance.

Mike Bramley

August 5, 2015, 5:14 pm

"Interestingly, Samsung is chopping the number of cores down from the octa-core 810 – the 820 will only be quad-core."
That's a bit sneaky of Samsung! Industrial espionage?

fried_egg

August 6, 2015, 1:10 pm

the price of getting the chip into the Galaxy 7 & Samsung actually making the chip for Qualcomm.... if any of it is true

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