Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Qualcomm’s Flagship SoC: Every part You Want To Know

On the Snapdragon Summit, Chris Patrick, SVP and GM, Cellular Handset, Qualcomm, unveiled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Qualcomm’s flagship SoC for premium smartphones, and the successor of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

System Efficiency: Kryo CPU Cluster

Let’s begin with system efficiency, the usual sizzling subject for any new era of processors. Qualcomm has improved all efficiency features over final yr’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

The brand new Kryo CPU cluster is now based mostly on one ARM Cortex X3 (Prime, 3.19 GHz), four efficiency cores (2.8 GHz), and three effectivity cores (2.0 GHz).

Final yr’s era featured one ARM Cortex X2 (Prime, 3 GHz), three Cortex A710 (2.5 GHz), and 4 Cortex A510 (1.8 GHz), appropriate with the ARMv9 Gen 1 CPU structure.

The additional efficiency core and the brand new ARMv9 Gen 2 structure drive a lot of the efficiency enhance, whereas the minimal improve in CPU frequency additionally gives an additional nudge.

Qualcomm estimates this new CPU cluster to be 35% sooner and as much as 40% extra power-efficient than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the earlier market chief for flagship Android smartphones.

The 40% power-efficiency quantity is surprisingly excessive, and Qualcomm claims it’s because of the Kryo CPU’s new microarchitecture. And not using a clearer clarification, I’ll assume it’s based mostly on the perfect case research, and upcoming benchmarks would possibly shed extra mild too.

The brand new Kryo CPU options an 8MB L3 cache, a 33% improve over the 6MB L3 cache within the earlier era. Augmenting the cache dimension helps to keep away from costly DDR reminiscence entry at any time when attainable.

The brand new chip provides assist for LP-DDR5x reminiscence as much as 4200 MHz and with as much as 16 GB of reminiscence density.

Synthetic Intelligence (AI) Engine – Snapdragon Good

One of many prime areas “that shall be essential to Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is synthetic intelligence. This platform is purpose-built for AI. […] On the coronary heart of our AI expertise is the Qualcomm AI Engine [which] is fabricated from a number of applied sciences together with Adreno GPU, Kryo, Sensing Hub, Reminiscence, and Hexagon” stated Francisco Cheng, Senior Managing Director, Product Advertising and marketing, Qualcomm, throughout our briefing.

Throughout all applied sciences concerned in processing AI fashions, the Qualcomm AI Engine eighth era improved the efficiency by as much as 4.35X and the performance-per-watt by 60% over the seventh era.

Hexagon, AI co-processor

Qualcomm defines Hexagon as a “fused AI accelerator structure,” which means that the Hexagon logic block is fabricated from a number of forms of computing models. Qualcomm made a number of enhancements all through Hexagon, and probably the most notables are the 2X dimension improve of the Tensor accelerator and the addition of a devoted energy supply system.

The most important adjustments in Hexagon have been made to handle the flexibility to run extra complicated neural networks, notably round transformer networks, to ship, amongst different issues, multi-language translation in real-time.

Qualcomm’s Micro Tile Inferencing is a brand new method that works by splicing neural networks into ‘tiles’ that shall be dispatched to out there compute models in Hexagon. Qualcomm didn’t go into a lot element, however in our expertise, tiling information is usually utilized to extend parallelism (course of the tiles in parallel to maximise {hardware} utilization) and probably improve cache coherency and reminiscence bandwidth. Each could make a big impression on total efficiency.

Final yr, Qualcomm added the assist of combined precision INT8+INT16, (computerized swap between INT8 and INT16 precisions) to its non-automatic combined precision know-how, named “all precisions assist” (INT8, INT16, FP16).

Within the new AI Engine, Qualcomm added the assist of 4-bit Integer precision (INT4) within the “all precisions” mode, so choose AI algorithms and neural community fashions can course of sooner throughout the Hexagon compute models. On prime of that, INT4 permits Hexagon to run extra fashions concurrently (parallel computing).

Every AI mannequin may use a special stage of precision, as some AI-driven duties will ship adequate outcomes utilizing an INT4 low stage of precision for sooner processing, whereas others might require larger ranges of precision corresponding to INT8, INT16, FP16, and FP32 (Floating Level saved on 16 or 32 bits).

Qualcomm stated that the brand new AI Engine makes use of INT4 in “cinematic mode” for real-time blurring of the background (video bokeh), with no seen distinction in picture high quality. Beforehand comparable AI fashions used INT8.

4th era Sensing Hub with a dual-AI processor

The Sensing Hub is the impartial low-power multi-core logic unit that capabilities when the remainder of the SoC is asleep. It processes in real-time the contextual information streams corresponding to voice, audio, sensors, and connectivity.

Final yr, Qualcomm launched a brand new characteristic for the third era Sensing Hub, the All the time-on Digital camera, which has now grow to be the All the time Sensing Digital camera. The All the time-on Digital camera allowed the telephone to routinely lock when the person doesn’t have a look at it or get up every time the person look on the sleeping telephone.

With the brand new characteristic, the digital camera can acknowledge and course of a QR code positioned on the optical module when the smartphone is asleep (+show off), with the earlier processor, the telephone needed to be turned on to handle a QR code.

Addition of a second AI processor with 50% extra reminiscence

Qualcomm has doubled the Sensing Hub’s AI computing capability by including a second AI processor. On prime of that, 50% extra inside reminiscence is now out there. The additional reminiscence permits the system to run new AI fashions which have been beforehand unavailable but in addition higher variations of those that existed earlier than.

Qualcomm talked about 17 AI-based actions tracked by the brand new Sensing Hub, and those which caught our consideration are [human] Exercise Recognition, Voice Activation, and Eye-Monitoring.

Hexagon Direct Hyperlink and Cognitive ISP

Qualcomm launched Hexagon Direct Hyperlink for the primary time, a characteristic that gives devoted bodily communication channels (bi-directional buses, in {hardware} lingo) to different logic blocks such because the GPU, the reminiscence, and the Spectra ISP.

Alongside Hexagon Direct Hyperlink, the chip producer introduced its first Cognitive ISP, a compute unit situated inside Hexagon that works in reference to the Spectra ISP for sooner processing of the AI-driven imaging options.

Snapdragon Sight:  upgraded digital camera efficiency with Cognitive-ISP

Cognitive ISP for higher digital camera efficiency

The Cognitive ISP, situated within the Hexagon AI co-processor, communicates in real-time with the Spectra ISP that processes the pixels captured by the digital camera. The Cognitive ISP executes the A number of Semantic Segmentation AI mannequin on the pictures despatched by the Spectra ISP and tells the Spectra to use totally different image-enhancing filters on the totally different recognized zones of the picture (as much as eight segments).

The Cognitive ISP can find boundaries and acknowledge objects in a picture corresponding to faces, our bodies, pores and skin, garments, sky, vegetation, flowers, cats, seashores, buildings, and extra.

This new characteristic, named Realtime Segmentation Filter, allows the system to exactly modify colours, contrasts, and any features of images to every section of the picture, in real-time. Builders can choose totally different configurations and filters.

In different phrases, the Cognitive ISP is the mind, and the Spectra ISP is the muscle.

The brand new structure permits the digital camera system to obtain the segmentation filter so much sooner than earlier than, and processes AI filters in real-time, even earlier than the person presses the seize button, in keeping with Qualcomm.

Graphics and Gaming – Snapdragon Elite Gaming

On the Snapdragon Summit, Chris Patrick, SVP and GM, Cellular Handset, Qualcomm, stated that the brand new Adreno graphics processing unit (GPU) brings a 25% improve in graphics rendering efficiency than the earlier era whereas delivering 45% higher energy effectivity.

This implies the baseline efficiency will improve for practically all apps that rely on the GPU, like video games.

Adreno GPU Show

The Adreno subvisual system additionally contains the show, and Qualcomm introduced the assist of HDR Vivid, a brand new HDR normal launched in March 2021 by the China UHD Video Business Alliance (CUVA). HDR Vivid and Adaptive HDR are the most recent additions to the opposite codecs already supported by Adreno GPU Show, together with HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR.

Adreno GPU for video games

Adreno GPU would be the first cell platform to assist Unreal Engine 5’s Metahuman, a framework that permits sport builders to create ultra-realistic people programmatically. Unreal Engine 5’s Metahuman characters have been beforehand solely usable in desktop video games. That’s a testomony to Qualcomm’s graphics software program’s maturity.

The brand new-gen Adreno helps Vulkan 1.3 and delivers a 30% Vulkan efficiency enhance in comparison with the earlier era.

Actual-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing

{Hardware} ray tracing was the star characteristic of the present, because it pushes realism in video games to the subsequent stage. Bringing real-time ray tracing to cell gaming is a giant deal, as it’s compute-intensive, and solely highly effective gaming rigs can render the extra superior ray tracing methods at excessive framerate, like world illumination for the entire 3D scene.

On Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, sport builders can combine fundamental ray tracing methods corresponding to comfortable shadows and correct reflections. The normal rendering strategies corresponding to shadow maps yielded exhausting shadows as a result of they weren’t practically as correct in comparison with ray-traced shadows. Earlier reflections rendering strategies corresponding to screen-space reflections have been restricted and couldn’t replicate an object that was off-screen. Ray tracing can.

Briefly, ray tracing mimics the sunshine’s habits in the true world by following the trail of sunshine in a 3D world from the digital camera by the objects within the scene and to an eventual mild supply.

Dave Durnil, International Head of Gaming & Snapdragon Studios, Qualcomm, confirmed us a cool demo from the favored sport Justice On-line Cellular with the ray tracing on and off. We may clearly see the distinction, with ray tracing, the reflections within the water and on the curved objects have been real looking and we may observe the comfortable shadows.

He informed us that Struggle Thunder Edge and Blue Reflection video games for Android will characteristic Adreno-accelerated ray tracing.

Snapdragon Sound: dynamic spatial audio with head monitoring

Sarah McMurray, Employees Supervisor, Product Advertising and marketing, Qualcomm, launched Spatial Audio with dynamic head-tracking, a brand new characteristic of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that delivers extra real looking 3D sound with low motion-to-sound latency. Spatial Audio is a know-how devoted to immersive gaming and multimedia experiences.

Connectivity: 5G AI and Wi-Fi 7 assist

5G Modem-RF System

The 5G connectivity’s enhancements revolve round three new options. The primary is the combination of a “5G AI Processor” compute unit contained in the 5G system. This basically helps with “tuning” the 5G modem parameters to acquire optimum efficiency in any scenario. It’s the closest you may get to having a (human) modem engineer tweaking issues continuously. AI may additionally assist with sign error correction to keep away from pointless information re-transmission.

Subsequent, the 4X provider aggregation additional enlarges the information pipeline out there for 5G communications, leading to larger peak downloads (a powerful 10 Gbps).

Lastly, it’s attainable to make use of two 5G SIM on the identical time, because of the 5G Twin SIM Twin Lively characteristic. It opens the door to much more information parallelism, however you would possibly find yourself paying two subscriptions after all.

FastConnect Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth connectivity system

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 comes with Wi-Fi 7, the upcoming normal for house connectivity. Qualcomm makes use of extraordinarily superior methods corresponding to high-band multi-link to make use of as a lot of the out there spectrum as attainable.

The corporate says its Wi-Fi can attain 5.8 Gbps and, extra importantly, maintain a latency beneath two milliseconds in a sustained method. Low latency may persuade wired ethernet customers to lastly swap to Wi-Fi.

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