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All about Qualcomm Snapdragon 865

5th December 2019
"Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is built on TSMC’s 7nm FinFET process and has improved general performance of upto around 25%"

Snapdragon processor can be found in millions of phones worldwide and is one of the most popular and sought-after processor due to its good performance. Qualcomm recently unveiled its latest Snapdragon 865 processor for premium mobile application and we are diving deep into the improvements and changes the processor is bringing. In overview, Snapdragon 865 boasts notable improvements in gaming, AI, and photography and many more.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is built on TSMC's 7nm FinFET process and has improved general performance of upto around 25%, energy efficiency improvements of around 25% in comparision to Snapdragon 855. Snapdragon 865 processor also has overhauled its AI and imaging processor solutions. No integrated 5g but thats not a big issue as Qualcomm announced two separate SoCs with integrated 5G.





Talking about the CPU and GPU, this chipset has the most powerful combo you can find . In the heart of the Snapdragon 865 lies Kryo 585 CPU and Adreno 650.

Built with a Prime, Performance, Efficiency octa-core CPU configuration, largest prime core is an Arm Cortex-A77 clocked at 2.85GHz and paired with a 512kb L2 memory cache, flanked by three more big Cortex-A77 cores offering 2.4GHz peak clock speeds and smaller 256kb L2 caches each.

Smaller four Cortex-A55 cores with 128kb L2 caches and 1.8GHz clock speeds follows the big cores which is similar setup to Snapdragon 855. Qualcomm promises a 25% boost to both performance and power efficiency with Snapdragon 865.

On the GPU side the Snapdragon 865 is equipped with an Adreno 650 GPU promising a similar 25% performance gain for graphics rendering, and 35% energy efficiency improvement. There are other improvements which includes 144Hz refresh rate for QHD+ resolution displays, 10-bit HDR gaming, Desktop Forward Rendering support in Unreal Engine 4 games, and GPU updates provided via Google Play.

Yes, last point says GPU updates provided via Google Play. Google to separate its Adreno GPU drivers which will allow users to simply update the drivers over Google Play. New features, performance improvements, and even game optimizations can be delivered quickly just like updating an app.





Use of AI in the mobile has grown significantly and Qualcomm this year has improved the Machine learning more significantly.

New Hexagon 698 DSP used in the chipset boasts a new Tensor accelerator for machine learning workloads offering 4x TOPS performance and 35% better energy efficiency than Qualcomm's previous Hexagon DSP.

This AI Engine includes a 3MB system cache and supports LPDDR5 2750MHz RAM to move data faster. This, combination of CPU, GPU, and DSP/AI processing capabilities, results a 15TOPS of AI performance which is double than the previous generation.





Integrated 5G chipset became a thing this year with every manufacturer shifting to the integrated 5G shipset. But Qualcomm things differently, Snapdragon 865 has no integrated 5G and requires external modem for 5G. Qualcomm wants its partners to pair the chipset with Snapdragon X55 5G modem as all other 5G integrated chips are half as speedy as X55 5G modem. The Snapdragon X55 supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrum with theoretical peak speeds of 7.6Gbps download and up to 3Gbps of upload.





Photography has become integral part of the smartphone and this new processor is bringing more improvements to the imaging sector. Snapdragon 865 has made some major changes to the image signal processor (ISP) producing new capabilities and features which includes support for up to 200MP camera sensors, 720p 960fps slow-motion video recording with no time limit, 8K 30fps video capture, on-device Dolby Vision HDR, and up to 64MP instant snaps while recording video.

Changes has been done by Qualcomm in the inner workings of its Spectra ISP as well. Instead of processing one pixel per clock cycle, the Spectra ISP now works on four pixels per cycle resulting in dropped clock speed of the ISP to make major power savings, while still pushing performance up by 40% to two gigapixels per second. This also keeps the ISP cool allowing to record 960fps with no time limits.

Snapdragon although more advanced still retains features from Snapdragon 855 like computer vision ISP capabilities, speeding up processing of HDR, scene detection, and noise reduction in low light.

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Compiled by : Biplav Gachhadar Biplav Gachhadar