Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 brings Wi-Fi 7, sticking with some 32-bit support

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 brings Wi-Fi 7, sticking with some 32-bit support
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Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 brings Wi-Fi 7, sticking with some 32-bit support


Qualcomm today announced the company’s flagship chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, which will be coming to many Android phones over the next few months. Aside from the usual newer, better, hopefully faster cores, the addition of Wi-Fi 7 support is big news so you can get better home wireless provided you invest in a new router.

Qualcomm has some claims about this new chip. The company says the CPU “improves performance by up to 35 percent” and has “up to 40 percent greater energy efficiency.” The GPU supposedly provides “up to 25 percent faster performance and up to 45 percent better energy efficiency.” Take both of these claims with a grain of salt, as Qualcomm promised last year 20 percent CPU improvement that never manifested in the transportation of products. Even if Qualcomm makes good on these performance promises, it will still be about a year behind the iPhone. The company is trying to do something about its competitive performance (now legally loaded) Buying a bridebut those chips are not ready yet.

Let’s start with the basics. It’s a 4nm chip with an unusual build that has four different CPU cores, all made by Arm. The main core is a 3.2GHz Arm Cortex X3 – which is fine and expected, and from here Arm’s recommended plan is three Cortex A710 CPUs for “medium” work and four A510 CPUs for low-power background processing. Qualcomm does not follow the recommended scheme and has two different cores that perform the “middle” task after the Cortex X3: a pair of Cortex-A715 CPUs and a pair of the latest generation Cortex-A710 CPUs. After that, only three Cortex A510 CPUs are running in the background instead of the expected four.

The reason Qualcomm threw a pair of A710s into the mix is ​​likely 32-bit support. Arm’s recommended base plan for this new generation only includes 64-bit chips, which means that any 32-bit applications will not be able to run. That’s not a problem for most of the world — the Pixel 7 has already shipped as the world’s first Android phone. Cannot run 32-bit applications (not all OS are fully 64 bit yet). The Google Play Store requires 64-bit binaries since 2019, and you’ll never see a lack of 32-bit support today. For China, though, there’s no Google Play Store, and the fact that it’s free-for-all means that 32-bit support isn’t being abandoned anytime soon. It’s also unclear if Google is ready for full 64-bit support with the Pixel 7. still shipping with some 32-bit libraries. Mixing and matching with older cores allows Qualcomm to keep 32-bit support for another year.

Qualcomm promises top Wi-Fi speeds of 5.8Gbps with new Wi-Fi 7 support, but the big benefit is more spectrum to share with your neighbors. If you’re in a crowded apartment building with lots of access points, it’s easy to choke on airways and have everyone’s Wi-Fi perform poorly. Like Wi-Fi 6e, Wi-Fi 7 adds an extra block of spectrum that your devices can choose from, which will help in crowded areas. The problem is that you need a Wi-Fi 7 access point to see these benefits, and there aren’t many options right now. TP Link promised recently devices in the first quarter of 2023.

Qualcomm has already struck with hardware ray tracing support Samsung (with help from AMD) and Arm’s Immortalis GPU, but now Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can also do beautiful lighting effects. I don’t think there is any serious mobile software used for ray tracing yet.

It’s the first Snapdragon chip to include support for AV1, a royalty-free video codec supported by a large list including Amazon, Apple, Arm, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia and Samsung. . Netflix and YouTube have combined everything in AV1 by providing support for the codec mandatory for hardware manufacturers who wish to license these services.

We’ll think of it as the SoC for 2023’s flagship smartphones, but Qualcomm says some partners will be releasing devices before the end of the year.

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