Qualcomm introduced Snapdragon 855 – chip for flagships 2019

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On the second day of the Qualcomm summit, the manufacturer officially announced the release of the Snapdragon 855 mobile platform. The chip has become the most high-performance on the market for flagship devices. The platform has got OCTA core processor which consists of three clusters of nuclei Kryo 485: one consists of a core with a frequency of 2.84 GHz, and the other three cores with a frequency of 2.42 GHz, and the third includes four cores with a frequency of 1.8 GHz.

An integral part of the new platform was also the Adreno 640 graphics, the Hexagon 690 signal processor, and the Spectra 380, a separate processor responsible for image processing. As expected, the new Snapdragon X50 modem with 5G support is a separate chip: so the Snapdragon 855 platform itself only supports LTE networks with a data transfer rate of up to 2 Gbit/s, because it includes a Snapdragon X24 modem. Why was this done? So even manufacturers of low-cost smartphones will be able to use the latest mobile platform Qualcomm, abandoning support for 5G, but while retaining all the advantages of S855.

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As for performance, Qualcomm said it increased by 45 % compared to Snapdragon 845. The performance of the GPU increased by 20%. 7-nm process technology allowed to create the most productive chip, if we take for comparison the power per watt.

Adreno 640 GPU

Adreno 640 graphics will clearly be the focus of attention for the use of the platform for gaming purposes. Qualcomm explained in detail that the mobile gaming segment is growing, while other video game platforms are either “stagnating” or showing a decline in popularity.

In addition to increasing performance, Qualcomm told a lot about the graphics capabilities of the platform. Graphics Adreno 640 S855 allows you to run real HDR games. The processor supports 10-bit color depth and gamut of Rec 2020 for the use of HDR, and also allows the devices to maintain S855 formats HDR10 + and Dolby Vision, which are the QC standards throughout the world. With the Adreno 640, the devices will be able to support 120fps games, as well as play 8K (360 degrees) video without jerks.

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It is noteworthy that Snapdragon 855 was the first platform of the company, which is included in the game program Snapdragon Elite Gaming Experience. Here and color correction at the film level, support for API Vulcan 1.1, as well as special algorithms to reduce frame rates.

Hexagon 690

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Despite the fact that the new platform does not have a dedicated NPU unit, it can still work with tasks for artificial intelligence. These tasks are handled by the GPU, Hexagon processor, and other components. Together, this represents the fourth generation of the AI Engine, which is three times the performance of the Snapdragon 845.

Spectra 380

Together with AI Engine Qualcomm also introduced the updated signal processor Spectra 380. It became more powerful with the help of three-core ISP Computer Vision (CV). With the new accelerator, Qualcomm wants to use CV-ISP for some graphics tasks due to energy saving. The company expects that many of the features in the photo area will now be available for video: 4K HDR recording at 60 FPS, improved portrait mode and “depth” for the bokeh effect. Power consumption for 4K HDR shooting will be 30 % lower than that of the Snapdragon 845.

Also not without the support of new generations of image files. JPEG is currently the primary format for images taken on a smartphone, but the new S855 will support “high-performance image files” or simply HEIF, which will offer a large number of new features compared to JPEG:

  • Images will be 50% smaller
  • HDR support for multiple color tools
  • Computer Vision data support
  • Working with RAW
  • Animated photos
  • Video data in HEVC format


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In addition to 5G support, the platform will be able to work with Wi-Fi in accordance with 802.11 a standard. This will allow you to increase the speed of data transfer using a wireless connection up to 10 Gbit/s.

Other innovation

Qualcomm aptX Adaptive and Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus codec support
Ability to work with Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor ultrasonic fingerprint scanner
Support Bluetooth 5.0
OpenGL ES 3.2 and OpenCL 2.0 FP
Quick Charge 4+
 You can use the LPDDR4 RAM at 2133 MHz

Obviously, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 platform will find application in many flagships of 2019. Google, Samsung and OnePlus have already expressed their interest, and there others will catch up. The main thing is that without the use of 5G, the new chip will become more affordable for mid-price smartphone manufacturers.

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