With the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 officially here, it is time to compare it to Qualcomm’s previous flagship smartphone SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and see what level of improvements were made.
A Change in Supplier Made All the Difference in Performance, Power-Efficiency, and AI
Qualcomm was rumored to switch foundries from Samsung to TSMC, as the latter’s 4nm was reported to be superior in every way. That appears to be the case here because not only is the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 faster on its fastest core, but even the ones designed for power-efficient get a clock speed increase. This shows that switching to a better manufacturing process has a multitude of benefits.
In our previous comparison, where we pitted the Snapdragon 888 Plus against the Snapdragon 888, the only change Qualcomm made to the faster SoC was upping the Cortex-X1’s clock speed to 2.995GHz, whereas the Cortex-X1 running in the Snapdragon 888 operated at 2.84GHz. With the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, you get clock speed upgrades on both the CPU and GPU sides. Take a look at the breakdown below to get more information.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 - One Cortex-X2 running at 3.00GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores running at 2.50GHz, and four Cortex-A510 cores running at 1.80GHz.
Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 - One Cortex-X2 running at 3.20GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores running at 2.80GHz, and four Cortex-A510 cores running at 2.00GHz.
As you can tell, all cores running in the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 have received a frequency push, indicating that it is TSMC’s 4nm node that was the game-changer. As for the Adreno 730 GPU, it is said to be operating at a 10 percent higher clock speed than the same graphics processor running in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, though the exact value was not disclosed by Qualcomm.
Overall, the San Diego chipmaker states that the new SoC brings a 10 percent performance improvement on the CPU and GPU sides. Fortunately, that performance improvement does not arrive with drawbacks in the efficiency department, as Qualcomm claims that there is a 15 percent SoC power usage reduction under ‘practical usage patterns’ compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Additionally, there is a 30 percent improvement in CPU and GPU power efficiency.
For AI ‘performance per watt,’ there is a 20 percent improvement, though we will see how this translates into real-world use. Qualcomm provided some statistics on what kind of battery life changes users would experience under real-world scenarios. For instance, you can experience 15 percent less power consumption for ‘nearly 1 hour’ of gameplay, along with a 50-minute increase in social media browsing.
Of course, we will have to see how true these claims are, but in a separate report.
Did Qualcomm Give the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 Any New Features?
Unfortunately, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 does not get any extras to help separate itself from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Qualcomm did mention that the new SoC will co-exist with the less powerful silicon, meaning that the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 will likely be sold at a premium to many of the company’s partners. These phone makers will likely pay this premium because Qualcomm switched to TSMC’s 4nm process for the latest launch, even if it means having to increase the price of future Android flagships.
The first wave of Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 flagships are expected in the third quarter of this year, so we will see if any notable improvements come forth. It is also worth mentioning that given the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s disappointing performance and power-efficiency metrics as a result of being mass produced on Samsung’s 4nm architecture, Qualcomm is likely to stick with TSMC for the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, though it is unconfirmed if the same 4nm node will be used, or an advanced process.
In short, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1’s changes compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 are extensive compared to previous iterations and we certainly hope that these improvements manifest themselves in real-world results.
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