Snapdragon 821 Is Qualcomm’s Fastest Chip Ever Thanks To 2.4GHz Kyro Cores

For the better part of the year, one of the most sought after System-on-Chips (SoCs) for flagship devices in the mobile world has been Qualcomm's speedy Snapdragon 820, an efficient chip highlighted by the company's first ever custom designed 64-bit Kyro CPU with clockspeeds up to 2.2GHz. Well, now  there's the Snapdragon 821, an even faster SoC that delivers a 10 percent bump in performance, according to Qualcomm.

The heart and soul of the of the Snapdragon 821 is still Kyro, a potent part built on a 14nm FinFET manufacturing process. But instead of topping out at 2.2GHz, Snapdragon 821 can reach clockspeeds of up to 2.4GHz for a bit of added oomph (and bragging rights). A 200MHz advantage might seem like a minor thing, but if it translates into a 10 percent performance increase over its predecessor in real world scenarios (and not just on paper), then the added power could help push new and emerging technologies and applications like virtual reality, augmented reality, and the such.

Qualcomm Snapdragon

None of that means the Snapdragon 820 is suddenly obsolete. Just the opposite, Qualcomm says the new mobile part is simply an addition to its lineup and not a replacement SoC.

"Why would you introduce something to replace what many consider the best mobile processor available today? Simple, we're not. Rather than replace the Snapdragon 820, the 821 is designed to complement and extend the competitive strengths of our Snapdragon 800 lineup," Qualcomm explains.

That's to say the Snapdragon 820 is still a relevant part. It also remains a groundbreaking mobile SoC, as it introduced several optimized and custom-designed core technologies, such as the X12 LTE modem supporting download speeds of up to 600Mbps. Several flagship devices quickly adopted the Snapdragon 820, including Samsung's Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, LG's G5, HTC's 10, and others.

Going forward, top tier handsets will likely turn to the 821, which includes all of the updates its predecessor introduced to the mobile scene. That likely includes the GPU—Qualcomm didn't mention a new GPU, so we assume the Snapdragon 821 also features Adreno 531 graphics and a Hexagon 680 DSP.

Qualcomm says commercial devices built around Snapdragon 821 will appear in the second half of this year.