Thursday, August 6, 2015

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 820 will have to play it cool

After the Snapdragon 810 heating fiasco, Qualcomm can't afford to make the same mistake twice. The new Snapdragon 820 promises to be 35% faster than the 810, and heat a lot less.

The Snapdragon 810 dealt a heavy blow. No one expected this highly desired chip to be such a huge disappointment, heating to the point that it slowed down so much that it's actually slower than less powerful chips. This scared away huge customers like Samsung, which opted to use it's own CPUs, and the only ones using the 810 are those that, actually, can't use anything else at this moment.

So, Qualcomm wants to fast forward over all this, and it hopes Snapdragon 820 will be the way to do it.

The 820 comes with all the bells and whistles you'd might expect. DDR4 RAM support, 4K 60fps vídeo (recording, playback, and even wireless streaming via Miracast 2.0), independent low-power sensor processors, and lots lots more. Qualcomm is now using a 14nm process instead of 20nm, which should help with the heat issues (will it be enough?) and it's also curious to see it finally decided to put the breaks on the "more and more" CPU count. Instead of an octa-core, the 820 will be a simpler quad-core chip, but that is presented as being 35% faster and more efficient. This goes against those betting on 10 core chips and it will be interesting to see who "wins".

In any case, after the 810 incident, I suspect manufacturers and customers alike will only consider this new chip once they see how it behaves under intensive use - and hopefully, that it will be able to maintain and adequate performance even in those scenarios (or, at the very least, not drop the performance to under lower-specced chips.)

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