Today, Qualcomm is spilling the beans on some of the components that makeup the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, which now includes a Kyro 385 CPU. This revamped CPU features four high-performance cores operating at 2.8GHz (a 25 percent uplift over the Snapdragon 835) and four "efficiency" cores operating at a more sedate 1.7GHz. Onboard you’ll find 2MB of shared L3 cache along with 3MB of system cache. While the Snapdragon 845 is still being built on a 10nm manufacturing process, Samsung and Qualcomm have moved to Low Power Plus (LPP) FinFET technology to further improve efficiency.
The Snapdragon 845 includes the new Spectra 280 image signal processor (ISP). Given how important that cameras have become on today's smartphones, superior image quality and performance are demanded by customers. Compared to its predecessor, the ISP in the Snapdragon 845 promises a 64x uplift in the ability to capture high dynamic range (HDR) color information for Ultra-High Definition (UHD) video.
The Adreno 630 visual processing subsystem will help users partake in eXtended reality (XR) experiences, and enables Snapdragon 845 to become the first mobile platform to support room-scale VR/AR experiences that support 6 degrees of freedom along with simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM. The Adreno 630 GPU promises a 30 percent boost in gaming performance compared to its predecessor as well.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is also becoming a big part of the mobile experience, as we've seen companies like Apple and Google both announce hardware dedicated to speeding up AI operations on smartphones. In Qualcomm's case, the Snapdragon 845 is claimed to offer a greater than 3x improvement in AI performance compared to the Snapdragon 835. The Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine (NPE) SDK adds in support for Tensorflow Lite and the new Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX); this builds on to existing support for the Tensorflow and Caffe/Caffe2 frameworks.
There are other components to the Snapdragon 845 that are worth mentioning as well, including the vault-like secure processing unit (SPU), which will enable enhanced biometric authentication systems (fingerprint, iris, voice, face) to be used and to serve as a repository for critical (encrypted) user information.
The new SoC incorporates Qualcomm's second-generation gigabit LTE modem: the Snapdragon X20. This Cat 18 modem supports peak download speeds of 1.2Gbps along with 5x carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, and Dual SIM-Dual VoLTE. Wi-Fi hasn't been forgotten about either; the Snapdragon 845 includes support for 60GHz 802.11ad Wi-Fi with speeds of up to 4.6Gbps. As you might expect, Bluetooth 5.0 is supported as well with Qualcomm’s proprietary sauce thrown in for good measure for broadcasting audio simultaneously.
“As leaders in mobile technology, we will transform the mobile experience with comprehensive advancements in visual processing, AI, security and connectivity,” said Alex Katouzian, SVP and GM for Qualcomm’s mobile division. “The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform is the next horizon of innovation and is going to transform the way people use their mobile devices to make their lives better.”
In case you were wondering, Qualcomm says that the first Snapdragon 845 processors will begin shipping in production devices in early 2018. We've already heard that Xiaomi will be one of the first manufacturers to adopt the Snapdragon 845, and we can bet on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ adopting the processor for the U.S. market. We expect other OEMs like LG, Motorola, and Huawei will also be delivering their own flagships powered by the Snapdragon 845 in short order.