Chipmaker Qualcomm has announced a pair of new mid-range SOCs, or 'platforms' as it now likes to refer to its mobile processors. It is upgrading the Snapdragon 653 to the 660, and the 626 to the 630, and providing more top-end tier SoC features to buyers of upcoming new mid-range smartphones and tablets. Key technologies that are trickling down include; the Qualcomm Spectra camera ISP, the Qualcomm Kryo CPU, and Qualcomm's Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX).
The new 14nm SoCs deliver greater power and performance with both faster CPUs and GPUs. With the Snapdragon 660 Qualcomm has equipped an octa-core Kryo 260 CPU, said to deliver 20 per cent better performance than the Snapdragon 653. An accompanying Qualcomm Adreno 512 GPU is designed to offer up to a 30 per cent improvement in performance compared to the previous generation too. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 630 comes with an octa-core CPU said to perform 10 per cent better than the Snapdragon 625 processor. In addition it packs the Adreno 508 GPU with a claimed 30 per cent improvement in performance compared to the Adreno 506 GPU, as featured in its predecessor. Technologies such as Qualcomm All-Ways Aware for minimising battery use while retaining connectivity, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 also feature in the new platforms.
Qualcomm's Spectra 160 ISP facilitates camera photo capture up to 24 megapixels single ISP images "with zero shutter lag," according to the firm. Other photo-centric qualities are improved, like zoom smoothness, autofocus speed, and colour processing. Furthermore, 4K video capture and playback is now supported by Qualcomm's mid-range brace of SoCs.
Something the Snapdragon 660 offers but the 630 lacks is the Qualcomm Hexagon 680 DSP with HVX. HVX aids with imaging performance, particularly in photographic tasks, by taking on tasks that would alternatively be shouldered by the ISP.
For viewing/playback Qualcomm's latest mid-rangers also feature EcoPix for better sunlight visibility, TruPalette for more accurate colours, and the Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec for improved sound.
Mobile platforms need strong connectivity performance to be truly useful tools. The introduction of the Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem is a first for 600-tier processors, and supports download speeds of up to 600Mbps. Qualcomm has also added support for Bluetooth 5, and an advanced RF Front End to optimise signal quality.
Again the Snapdragon 660 has an enhanced feature above and beyond is stable mate. It supports 2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi while the 630 does not. However, both SOCs are designed to transfer data at up to 2X max throughput compared to their predecessors.
Last but not least Qualcomm is enhancing biometric authentication tech for both platforms and device makers will be able to use these SoCs in devices with support for fingerprint scanning, iris scanning, facial recognition, and voice prints.
All the above are welcome enhancements and device makers will be able to start integrating these new SoCs in devices starting from the end of May.