April 7, 2014 12:21pm
So far, we’ve seen Qualcomm announce three 64-bit systems-on-a-chip, the 410, 610 and 615. All of these, though unreleased, target the mid- to upper-mid crowd, but today’s announcement of the Snapdragon 808 and 810 reinforce Qualcomm’s commitment to the high-end.
The chips won’t launch until sometime in 2015, so don’t get your hopes up too high, but when they arrive they’ll be among the first supporting ARM’s new ARMv8 instruction set, along with newer technologies like CAT6/7 LTE and 3x20Mhz carrier aggregation, among others.
First, what these are not: they’re not custom Krait designs like the current lineup of 32-bit chips from Qualcomm. While there are customizations within, the 808 sports a standard makeup of Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 chips in a big.LITTLE design. The major difference between the two is that the 808 is a hexa-core (2 x A57 + 4 x A53) while the 810 is octa-core (4 x A57 + 4 x A53) and the latter sports a faster Adreno 430 GPU and LPDDR4 RAM.
Built on a new 20nm manufacturing process, the A57 chipset, which is a 64-bit evolution of the Cortex-A15, stands to be some 20% more power hungry than its 32-bit counterpart, but that should be offset by its new MP.
Ultimately, though these processors will certainly delight users when they appear in devices in mid-2015, what’s most interesting is that these are not next-generation Krait products, but template ARM cores being used with existing Qualcomm baseband technology (albeit next-generation). Qualcomm will announce its future 64-bit plans later in the year, but the Snapdragon 808 and 810, along with the 410, 610 and 615, appear to be stopgaps on the way to another Krait-like divergence from the standard microarchitecture narrative.