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Qualcomm details its next-gen Snapdragon 845

Qualcomm is taking mobile technology to the next level with Snapdragon 845.

@anthony256
Published Wed, Dec 6 2017 3:20 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:53 AM CST

Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit 2017 - Qualcomm used the morning of day two of its Snapdragon Technology Summit to announce and detail their next generation Snapdragon 845.

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Inside, the new Snapdragon 845 features eight CPU cores and a refreshed Adreno 630 graphics processor that is joined by Qualcomm's impressive Spectra 280 image signal processor (ISP). The new Spectra 280 ISP will allow for "Ultra HD premium" video capture, at up to 4K 60FPS.

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Qualcomm spent a considerable chunk of time talking about XR (extended reality) and AI (artificial intelligence) as the new Snapdragon 845 is the most feature-packed chips on the planet - and that's even with Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA in the market.

The strides in AI processing with the Snapdragon 845 are huge, as AI is adopted more and more in various industries. Qualcomm has reached its third-generation mobile AI platform with the new Snapdragon 845, with the company's start in AI kicking off with the Snapdragon 820.

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Developers will have access to specific cores, where they can tap the Hexagon 683 DSP, the GPU, or the Kryo-based CPU. The architectural changes inside of Snapdragon 845 have Qualcomm promising a 3x improvement in AI tasks over its predecessor.

Security is another factor that some people overlook, but not Qualcomm - it's a pillar of the Snapdragon 845. Qualcomm has added a separate "Secure Processing Unit" which rocks its own processor and is "on an island" compared to the rest of the chip, making it near impossible to hack.

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Qualcomm has crammed not just a processor into the SPU but a random number generator, memory and power island that defends it against attacks. An impressive addition that might seem small, but is vital on Snapdragon 845.

Future smartphone with fingerprint/iris scanners will be much more secure as the Secure Processing Unit can handle it all. Qualcomm added that the SPU can handle payments, transit, and SIM card security.

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It's not a Qualcomm event without a massive detailing of connectivity, so where the Snapdragon 835 introduced gigabit LTE, the new Snapdragon 845 pushes Qualcomm's new second-generation gigabit LTE modem, the Snapdragon X20.

Snapdragon X20 offers a 20% performance increase over the peak and real-world speeds against the older X16 modem inside of the Snapdragon 835. There's support for five-carrier aggregation, and increase from the four-carrier aggregation in the Snapdragon 835.

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Qualcomm promises wireless fiber-like speeds with the new second-generation gigabit LTE modem and Snapdragon 845.

Performance wise the new Snapdragon 845 is around 25-30% faster than the Snapdragon 835. The new Snapdragon 845 features four "performance" cores that handle the performance-heavy applications and tasks, while they're backed up by four "efficiency" cores that give you that all-day battery life.

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The four performance cores ramp up to 2.8GHz while the efficiency cores clock to 1.8GHz, with Qualcomm claiming the Snapdragon 845 is around 30% more power efficient than the Snapdragon 835.

As for availability, we're looking at early 2018 - so expect the Galaxy S9 from Samsung to rock the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in March-April 2018.

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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