Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus: Ultimate gaming CPU heads to Asus ROG Phone 2

Leading mobile chip-maker Qualcomm has just pulled the wraps off a specialised variant of its most powerful mobile processor – the Snapdragon 855 Plus.

The Plus (styled as ‘+’) looks to build on the foundation of the standard Snapdragon 855 by supporting higher CPU clock speeds and offering more graphical power than its predecessor. To non-techies this means it’s better suited to intensive tasks like gaming, virtual or augmented reality (collectively referred to as ‘XR’), AI and 5G-related tasks.

For the most part, the underlying architecture of this refreshed 855 remains unchanged from the base version, however, its eight-core Kryo 485 CPU now allows for a higher 2.96GHz maximum clock speed – up from 2.84GHz on the base 855.

While it also possesses the same Adreno 640 GPU, Qualcomm has managed to squeeze 15 percent more speed out of the chipset’s graphical rendering capabilities too.

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Beyond these key upgrades, the 7nm chipset sports the same integrated X24 4G modem and is compatible with Qualcomm’s standalone X50 5G modem (the one used in the likes of the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and Oppo Reno 5G). It also packs the same audio setup as before, which is based on the company’s aptX and Aqstic technologies, and makes use of the same AI engine.

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In the company’s own words, the “Snapdragon 855 Plus will raise the bar for elite gamers,” which aligns perfectly with Asus’ latest announcement, which confirmed that its next gaming-focussed handset – the ROG Phone 2 – “will be the first gaming smartphone to be powered by the latest Snapdragon 855 Plus Mobile Platform.”

Related: Asus ROG Phone review

The company unveiled the standard Snapdragon 855 chipset at the tail end of 2018 but it wasn’t until this year that we saw devices actually rocking the SoC. Devices like Xiaomi’s Mi 9 were first to the table, while top-tier handset such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, Sony Xperia 1 and OnePlus 7/7 Pro joined the fray soon after.

Qualcomm cites an H2, 2019 release window for devices actually using the 855 Plus, which aligns with the Asus ROG Phone 2’s expected launch at, or around, the IFA 2019 trade show in September.

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