Qualcomm Unveils its Next Generation Flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

Up to 20% faster than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 888

Qualcomm recently unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, their next flagship offering. Qualcomm is dropping the old serial naming scheme for their flagship SoCs, and “8” will now be a series moniker. Meaning subsequent generations will be named serially, like Gen 2 and Gen 3. Aside from the name, the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC has improvements across the board compared to its predecessor, the Snapdragon 888.

Specifications

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Block Diagram.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has a similar core count and 1+3+4 core configuration as the Snapdragon 888. The Gen 1 SoC, however, uses new cores based on the next generation Armv9 architecture. These include –

  • 1x Cortex-X2
  • 3x Cortex-A710
  • 4x Cortex-A510

The new high-performance Cortex-X2 core clocks in at 3.0GHz, improving from the 2.84GHz Cortex-X1. The Cortex-A710 core succeeding the Cortex-A78 also clocks higher at 2.5GHz, marginally improving by 800MHz. The new Cortex-A510 based cores are clocked at 1.8GHz, similar to the previous-gen Cortex-A55 cores, although Qualcomm still boasts a 35% increase in performance with a 20% improvement in efficiency showcasing serious architectural improvements. Taking this all together, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, according to Qualcomm is 20% faster and 30% more power-efficient than the Snapdragon 888.

Arm has developed SVE2 for Armv9 to enable enhanced machine learning (ML) and digital signal processing (DSP) capabilities across a wider range of applications.

SVE2 enhances the processing ability of 5G systems, virtual and augmented reality, and ML workloads running locally on CPUs, such as image processing and smart home applications.” 

Qualcomm Press Release

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Reference Gaming

The new SoC also features the next-gen Adreno 730 GPU. According to Qualcomm, the Adreno 730 is 30% faster and 25% more power-efficient than the Adreno 660 featured in Snapdragon 888. There are also other additions like Adreno Frame Motion Engine, support for Unreal Engine 5, and faster Vulcan performance.

Experience gameplay that transports you into new realms of
authenticity. Volumetric rendering adds unrivaled realism to
graphics like fog and smoke, while support for the U nreal
Engine 5 unleashes advanced lighting and shadow effects for
breathtaking sequences. Plus, the Adreno Frame Motion Engine
efhciently raises FPS for smooth, stunning action that lasts.

Qualcomm Press Release

New Spectra 680 ISP

  • Image Signal Processor: Qualcomm Spectra™ image signal processor, Triple 18-bit ISPs, Hardware accelerator for computer vision (CV-ISP)
  • Triple Camera, MFNR, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 36 MP
  • Dual Camera, MFNR, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 64+36 MP
  • Single Camera, MFNR, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 108 MP
  • Single Camera: Up to 200 MP
  • Camera Features: Multi-frame Noise Reduction (MFNR), AI-based face detection, auto-focus, and auto-exposure, Locally Motion Compensated Temporal Filtering, Low light photography architecture
  • Slow Motion Video Capture: 720p @ 960 FPS
  • Video Capture Formats: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
  • Video Capture Features: 4K Video Capture @ 120 FPS, 8K video capture at 30fps, Bokeh Engine for Video Capture, Video super resolution
  • Video Capture: 8K HDR Video Capture + 64 MP Photo Capture

Qualcomm first introduced the triple-ISP architecture with the Snapdragon 888, allowing the SoC to operate up to 3 independent cameras at once and make the transition between camera modules smoother. The new Spectra 680 ISP builds on these capabilities and now features a 18-bit pipeline, up from the 14-bit Spectra 580 ISP. The bit-depth increase here could improve HDR performance by increasing the dynamic range significantly. Memory throughput has also increased to 3.2Gigapixels/s from 2.7Gigapixels/s seen last year. This enables a higher 108MP recording cap at 30fps and even simultaneous 64+36MP or 36+36+36MP cap at 30fps. Interestingly Qualcomm has also announced a Dedicated Bokeh Engine for video, probably an attempt to bring something similar to Cinematic Mode on iPhones.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 looks promising and will likely power most Android flagships in 2022. This time however it faces increasing competition from Mediatek, Samsung, and others diminishing Qualcomm’s lead every year.

Farhan Ali
Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.