Today for the first day of Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm is announcing its usual yearly mini-refresh of its flagship Snapdragon SoC in the form of the new Snapdragon 888+. As in the previous few generations, right around the summer period, Qualcomm is taking advantage of the completed spring device cycle and shifting focus onto newer devices in the second half of the year with, and a new SoC that’s slightly boosts performance.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Flagship SoCs 2021

Snapdragon 888+

Snapdragon 888

CPU 1x Cortex-X1
@ 2.995GHz 1x1024KB pL2

3x Cortex-A78
@ 2.42GHz 3x512KB pL2

4x Cortex-A55
@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

4MB sL3
1x Cortex-X1
@ 2.84GHz 1x1024KB pL2

3x Cortex-A78
@ 2.42GHz 3x512KB pL2

4x Cortex-A55
@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

4MB sL3
GPU Adreno 660 @ 840MHz
DSP / NPU Hexagon 780

(Total CPU+GPU+HVX+Tensor)
Hexagon 780

(Total CPU+GPU+HVX+Tensor)
4x 16-bit CH

@ 3200MHz LPDDR5  /  51.2GB/s

3MB system level cache
ISP/Camera Triple 14-bit Spectra 580 ISP

1x 200MP or 84MP with ZSL
64+25MP with ZSL
3x 28MP with ZSL

4K video & 64MP burst capture
8K30 / 4K120 10-bit H.265

Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

720p960 infinite recording
Integrated Modem X60 integrated

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 2500 Mbps
7x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM
UL = 316 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)
DL = 7500 Mbps
UL = 3000 Mbps
Mfc. Process Samsung
5nm (5LPE)

The new Snapdragon 888+ is a speed bin of the Snapdragon 888 that we’ve seen earlier in the year. What’s changed in the new unit is that Qualcomm is upgrading the CPU frequencies from the original 2.84GHz to 2.995GHz – a 5.2% performance upgrade. It’s not too much of a major upgrade, and I’m curious to see how it plays out in terms of power consumption as the X1 cores in the 888 were already quite power hungry.

Besides the CPU uplift, the AI engine has also seen a combined performance uplift through frequency bumps as well as software optimisations that increases the AI throughput from 26 TOPS up to 32 TOPS. As a reminder, this is an aggregate figure across all of the SoC’s computational blocks of CPU, GPU, and DSP/NPU.

The one thing that’s not been upgraded this year is the GPU performance, which is a bit unusual for a “+” part as normally in the past few years we’ve also seen frequency increases on this SoC block. Generally, this can be explained through the fact that the Adreno 660 in the Snapdragon 888 is already running at extremely high frequencies and corresponding high-power draw, and most devices today are not able to sustain those peak performance states – further increasing frequencies would have little benefits.

ASUS, HONOR, Vivo and Xiaomi were partner vendors which endorsed the new Snapdragon 888+ and are working on devices featuring the chipset. We should be expecting the first Snapdragon 888+ devices to start being announced in the third quarter.

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  • nandnandnand - Monday, June 28, 2021 - link

    Samsung 3GAE = 3.5 GHz phone
  • Wereweeb - Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - link

    I'd rather have a phone which doesn't cook it's own battery, thank you very much.
  • nandnandnand - Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - link

    My guesstimate might reduce power consumption. Plus they only need to make 1 core really fast, not all 8.
  • caribbeanblue - Monday, July 26, 2021 - link

    That would probably be a clock speed improvement without changing the power consumption, thanks to the newer process.
  • iphonebestgamephone - Monday, June 28, 2021 - link

    5% more performance at just 10% more power! Awesome
  • shabby - Monday, June 28, 2021 - link

    They're taking cues from intel.
  • Unashamed_unoriginal_username_x86 - Monday, June 28, 2021 - link

    Qualcomm's power efficiency has seemed pretty anemic recently. The 865 integrated 5G, which was good, but then they released the 865+, the 888, the 870, and the 888+...
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - link

    AFAIK, the 865 still had the 5G modem separately (not on-die). I believe the 870, the 888 and the newer 700 Series SoCs have their 5G modems integrated.
  • ChrisGX - Monday, June 28, 2021 - link

    This doesn't make sense on 5LPE. Higher levels of performance will give rise to thermal issues but as thermal issues must be controlled the probable outcome is just more processor throttling rather than notable performance gains. Could this SoC be meant for devices that consume more energy than mobile phones (and that can manage/dissipate more heat)? Hmm...I doubt it.
  • eastcoast_pete - Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - link

    If QC feels like releasing the 888 for Chromebooks etc, that could actually be and make sense.

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