Bringing Armv9 to premium smartphones

Along with the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1As part of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Night event in China this evening, the company is also introducing an all-new SoC to the premium phone market, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1. 1 is the first non-flagship SoC that Qualcomm has offered since they implemented their new platform naming and differentiation system. But, like the Snapdragon 7xx series that preceded it, the latest Snapdragon 7 SoC follows the same design mantra of offering flagship-level features with more modest performance and costs.

Within Qualcomm’s lineup of smartphone SoCs, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is the successor to last year Snapdragon 780G / 778G Parts. For now, Qualcomm is sticking with a single metadata storage unit, although the 780G and 778G were a few months apart last year – so Qualcomm might split things off the line.

Like its predecessors, the seventh generation follows Qualcomm’s sequential development strategy, which sees new features pioneered for the first time in a leading SoC successively implemented in lower-level chipsets of the future. The big update to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was of course the switch to the Armv9 architecture and CPU cores linked to Arm, and now Arm’s premium-tier SoC is getting the same treatment.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Flagship SoCs
South Oil Company Snapdragon 7 first generation Snapdragon 780G
CPU 1x Cortex-A710

3x Cortex-A710
@ 2.36 GHz

4x Cortex A510
@ 1.8GHz

1x Cortex-A78

3x Cortex-A78
@ 2.2 GHz

4x Cortex-A55
@ 1.9 GHz

GPU Adreno Adreno 642
DSP / NPU hexagon 770 . pistol
2x 16 bit CH

@3200MHz LPDDR5/25.6Gb/s

2x 16 bit CH

@2133MHz LPDDR4X/17.0 Gb/s

ISP/Camera Tri-Spectrum 14-bit ISP

1x 200MP or 84MP with ZSL

64 + 20 MP with ZSL

3x 25 MP with ZSL

4K HDR video and 64MP continuous capture

Trispectral 14 bit 570 ISP

1x 192MP or 84MP with ZSL

64 + 20 MP with ZSL

3x 25 MP with ZSL

encrypt /
4K30 10-bit H.265

Dolby Vision, HDR10 +, HDR10, HLG

720p480 infinite recording

4K30, 1080p 120
H.264 & H.265

10-bit HDR pipelines

Integrated modem Integrated X62

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)

DL = 4400 Mbps

X53 integrated

(5G NR Sub-6 4×4 100MHz)
DL = 3300 Mbps

screwdriver; to treat 4nm Samsung Samsung 5LPE

In terms of organization, the first generation 7th is very similar to the 780G, with a basic 1 + 3 + 4 configuration being implemented. Qualcomm uses only two basic variants here – the high-performance Cortex-A710 and the high-efficiency Cortex-A510 – so instead of That the core core is a unique core type (ala Cortex-X2 on the 8G1), it’s another Cortex-A710 here. Qualcomm clocks this core at 2.4GHz, meanwhile the remaining 3 A710s are clocked at slightly lower at 2.36GHz. Finally, the A510 comes clocked in at 1.8GHz, as does the 8G1.

Shifting CPU cores also refreshes Qualcomm’s memory controller. 7th generation adds LPDDR5 capabilities, and supports up to the same LPDDR5-6400 data rates as 8 Gen 1. So with a 2×16-bit channel memory bus, 7 Gen 1 can access up to 25.6GB/s of memory bandwidth, improving at 50% more than the 780G capable of LPDDR4X.

Unusual even for Qualcomm, the company is not talking about CPU performance with the new part. So in the absence of performance measurement data, there is not much we can say here about performance expectations. New arm cores should allow for better performance, but there is plenty of wiggle room due to implementation details.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm is getting a little more chatty about the GPU interface, albeit not so dramatically. Like the 8G1, Qualcomm drops any kind of model number for the GPU on the seventh generation from the first, so it’s simply “Adreno” and nothing distinguishes it from the 8G1 or previous generation parts. Technically, we can’t even conclude if it uses Qualcomm’s new GPU architecture – despite its cascading feature set and design strategy, it’s almost certainly yes. But what is Qualcomm? he is Talking about the GPU performance of the new part is that it is 20% faster than the Snapdragon 778G which is an Adreno 642L GPU. By using the weaker SKU, this is chosen by Qualcomm, but for now at least it confirms that the first generation 7th will be somewhat faster than its predecessor.

Which is also a good thing, given that gaming is one of the main focus areas of the seventh generation from the first generation. It’s gaming/GPU performance that Qualcomm leads in its 7th generation marketing materials, and it’s no coincidence that the segment was announced at an event in China. Mobile gaming is big all over the world, but nowhere is it bigger than in the Chinese market. So Qualcomm undoubtedly expects its OEM partners to convert a large number of gaming-focused phones in this crowded market.

Meanwhile, since this isn’t a major part like the new 8+ Gen 1, Qualcomm isn’t quite as aggressive up front either. The 7th Gen 1 is produced using Samsung’s 4nm process, the same as the original 8th Gen 8 process, which Qualcomm intentionally replaces with TSMC for its flagship SoC. And while Samsung’s operation is the lowest performing option at this juncture, with TSMC running out of lines in the door and around the block, it’s no surprise to see Qualcomm opt for a less restrictive (and undoubtedly cheaper) FPS-chip for A-level smartphones.

Aside from the importance of the CPU and GPU, Qualcomm’s cascading design strategy also means that some other notable features from 8G1 carry over to the new Series 7 SoC. This includes the latest Spectra ISP, as well as Qualcomm’s latest AI hardware and management engine their confidence.

In the case of the seventh generation Spectra ISP, it has been accordingly downsized from 8G1. Qualcomm still applies a “triple” ISP here that can handle up to 3 simultaneous cameras, but overall throughput is lower. However, your ISP can handle a photo of up to 200MP now, although that drops dramatically to 64MP if you need no shutter lag. Then, this was another 14-bit imaging pipeline ISP, which is on par with 780G, but lacks the additional dynamic range of 8G1.

Rounding out the package is an integrated modem, in the form of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X62. Compared to last year’s 780G SoC and its X53 modem, the 7th generation equipped with the X62 offers greater throughput and more range. In particular, the SoC is capable of using mmWave waves, which was a notable omission from the SoC last year. Altogether, the 7G1/X62 is capable of reaching download speeds of 4.4Gbps, which is a 33% improvement over its predecessor.

In short, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 will be the fastest to ship two of Qualcomm’s new SoCs today. According to the company, phones using the SoC will be available this quarter, with Honor, OPPO, and Xiaomi among the OEMs slated to launch around the new chip.

Leave a Comment