Qualcomm announced three new mobile platforms aimed at high-end and mid-tier device, out of which one of them is a dedicated gaming SoC.
All three new SoCs promises significant improvement in AI, CPU and GPU.
The Snapdragon 730 and the Snapdragon 730G introduce a lot of firsts to the 7-series Snapdragon lineup including a CV-ISP and overclocked GPUs.
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Qualcomm announced three new mobile platforms aimed at high-end and mid-tier devices, the Snapdragon 665, Snapdragon 730 and the Snapdragon 730G. The three new SoCs are commercially ready and will start showing up in devices from the middle of 2019. All the three chipsets encompass most of the new features that Qualcomm introduced in its flagship Snapdragon 855 including support for up to 192MP cameras in single-shot mode, along with the AI Engine and a few more.
“With the introduction of the Snapdragon 730, 730G and 665 Mobile Platforms, we are bringing features such as sophisticated AI, exceptional gaming and advanced camera capabilities to a broad spectrum of devices at exceptional performance,” said Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Each iteration of Snapdragon drives immense innovation that will surpass customer expectations.”
Expanding Qualcomm's presence in the popular mid-range and high-end segment, the 7-series and 6-series, the new SoCs bring interesting new features that give an indication of how the segment is expected to evolve this year. Here’s what the new chipsets will have to offer —
The Snapdragon 665 will succeed the Snapdragon 660 that became the defacto mid-range chipset to opt for last year. The Xiaomi Mi A2, Realme 2 Pro and more devices launched with the Snapdragon 660 in India. Now, the Snapdragon 665 promises higher performance and support for multiple cameras.
The Snapdragon 665 uses the same Kryo 260 cores found on the Snapdragon 636 that powered the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro and more recently, the Moto G7. The clock speed can go as high as up to 2.0GHz. However, Qualcomm has upgraded the GPU of the chipset to Adreno 610 which brings support for Vulkan 1.1 and DX12 graphics. The chipset is manufactured on an 11nm platform. There’s four performance cores based on ARM Cortex-A73 and four efficiency cores based on ARM Cortex-A53.
Interestingly, the Snapdragon 665 brings support for a 48MP sensor in single camera mode. Otherwise, the Spectra 165 ISP is also capable of supporting a triple-camera setup where the lenses are telephoto, wide-angle and super wide-angle. It can also support a fourth camera with depth sensing capabilties. Furthermore, the Snapdragon 665 can support up to 5X optical zoom, indicating OEMs will release devices with 5X optical zoom support in the second half of 2019. The ISP also supports 4K video shooting at 30 FPS. To improve imaging, Qualcomm also collaborated with Morpho, a computer-vision firm that helped with blending AI with the camera.
The Snapdragon 665 also brings an upgraded AI Engine. Unlike others where there’s a discrete AI core, Qualcomm’s platforms combines the abilities of the CPU, GPU and the DSP to crunch through AI tasks efficiently and with flexibility. The AI Engine on the Snapdragon 665 is 2X faster than the AI Engine on the Snapdragon 660, according to Qualcomm. This time around, the AI Engine, Qualcomm claimed, can be combined with the camera to detect lighting situations and blurred pixels, and fix them in post-processing.
The Snapdragon 665 has the Snapdragon X12 LTE modem integrated, the same as the Snapdragon 660 and offer Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 in the terms of connectivity.
The 7-series platform was introduced last year and Qualcomm has only released two SoC in the series so far. The Snapdragon 730, and the 730G are the new entrants that is expected to be more prevalent in the market. The Snapdragon 730 brings the Snapdragon 855’s CV-ISP as well as a Tensor Accelerator to improve AI efficiency. It’s also the first SoC in the 7-series to support HDR output.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 is based on an 8nm platform, making it first 7-series SoC to be based on the smaller node. The CPU has Kryo 470 Cores that claims a max clock speed up to 2.2GHz. On the graphics side, there’s an Adreno 618 GPU that supports Vulkan 1.1 and DX12 graphics along with HDR10 4K with 10bit colour-depth.
More interestingly, it’s the ISP on the Snapdragon 730 that makes it a highly anticipating. It’s Qualcomm’s first computer-vision based ISP for the 7-series and that brings support for 4K HDR video recording with portrait mode, high-res depth sensing, 3D face unlock and more.
The ISP supports camera sensors up to 192MP in snapshot while 48MP sensors work with zero shutter lag and multi-frame noise reduction. There’s also support for multi-camera systems and HEIF file capture and playback.
The Snapdragon 730 also brings a Tensor Accelerator which along with the Hexagon 688 DSP is used to deliver 2X faster AI processor as compared to the Snapdragon 710, according to Qualcomm. The AI Engine now also supports enhanced voice assistants with multiple keyword support, enhanced voice recognition and more.
For connectivity, the Snapdragon 730 brings Snapdragon X15 LTE modem along with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
The Snapdragon 730G, as the name suggests, is quite similar to the Snapdragon 730. Only it’s tuned for smartphone gaming, as denoted by the G in the name. The chipset is part of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Elite Gaming program, which the company had announced at the Snapdragon 855 launch. The Snapdragon 730G has more or less the same internals but with support for HDR gaming. Qualcomm claimed a 35 percent increase in performance and 25 percent faster graphics processing.
The SoC can support 10-bit Colour Depth, Rec 202 Colour Gamut and 64x more shades of colour as compared to non-HDR games.
Between the standard Snapdragon 730 and the Snapdragon 730G, the differnce is the presence of an overclocked Adreno 618 GPU that Qualcomm claims delviers 15 percent faster graphics processing as compared to the Snapdragon 730.
Furthermore, the gaming platform is sprinkled with Qualcomm’s proprietary gaming features like jank reduction by up to 90 percent in games running at 30 fps, anti-cheating extensions and Wi-Fi latency manager to help optimse network settings while gaming.
Moreover, there are addition in the camera department like support for Cinemagraph, low power voice activation and HD Super Slo-Mo at 960 fps.
The Snapdragon 665’s positioning is a mystery presently considering the Snapdragon 675 has been chosen as a worthy successor to the Snapdragon 660 so far, by OEMs. It remains to be seen where OEMs use the mid-range chipset.
As for the Snapdragon 730 and the 730G, we have already heard reports that the Samsung Galaxy A90 could debut a new Qualcomm chipset. The Galaxy A90 recently surfaced online with an unreleased Qualcomm chipset named Snapdragon 7150. Now, back when the Snapdragon 855 was about to launch, many thought the Snapdragon 8150 leaking out online was the flagship chipset. Going by that naming convention, the Snapdragon 730 might debut with the Samsung Galaxy A90 which is expected to launch on April 10th globally.
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