Snapdragon is a brand name you must have heard about while browsing through – “Which mobile to buy?” It is a family of “System on a Chip” also known as SoC for short, designed, developed and marketed by Qualcomm Technologies Inc. The Snapdragon central processing unit (CPU) uses the ARM (Advanced RISC Machines) RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) instruction set to give you next-level experience in using a device that has snapdragon inside. RISC architecture has simple instructions, each executed in about a single clock cycle. Its performance is optimized while giving more focus to the software i.e. operating system. Being Reduced Instruction Set Architecture it has very few primitive instructions that a software puts them together to do any complex tasks. You can say that RISC instruction set has a all types of different yet simple instructions that can be put together for complex operations in the hands of software.
A single SoC (System on a Chip) may be comprised of:
- Multiple CPU cores,
- A graphics processing unit (GPU),
- A wireless modem,
- Support for Global positioning system (GPS),
- Gesture recognition
- Video Support
- And support for many other sensors
Snapdragon semiconductors are embedded in all types of devices having different platforms – including Android and Windows Phone devices. Now it is all up to these environments or platforms like Android or Windows on how to exploit the power of snapdragon processor to its fullest.
Evolution of Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors
QSD8250 was the first Snapdragon processor that was made available to consumer device manufacturers, that was released in November 2007. It was for the first time that 1 GHz processor was introduced for mobile devices. Since then new devices kept rolling in – with every new release pumping in more technology into its processor and with every new release software developed around these processor became more intelligent, promising and fast to deliver more and better than before.
Snapdragon 200 series – Entry Level
Not so good, not so bad series, I would say. It is an entry-level series for the basic Smartphone users. Their performance is not so good but they are a best for the basic entry level mobile phones.
- Snapdragon 212 (MSM8909AA) – 3 GHz device with single channel memory
- Snapdragon 210 (MSM8909) – 1 GHz device with single channel memory
- Snapdragon 208 (MSM8208) – 1.1 GHz device with single channel memory
- Snapdragon 205 (MSM8905) – 1 GHz device with single channel memory
Snapdragon 400 series – Low Level
Low Level but Lag Free experience series – the Snapdragon 400 Series is for low-end delivers a better experience as compared to previous series. Just to name few:
- Snapdragon 450 (SDM450) – 8x Cortex-A53 up to 1.8 GHz using single channel LPDDR3 memory
- Snapdragon 439 (SDM439) – 4x Cortex-A53 up to 1.95 GHz + 4x Cortex-A53 up to 1.45 GHz using Dual-Channel LPDDR3
- Snapdragon 429 (SDM429) – 4x Cortex-A53 up to 1.95 GHz using Dual-Channel LPDDR3
Snapdragon 600 series – Middle Level
Performance and Efficiency Series – targets the mid-range segment that delivers high performance and efficiency. Snapdragon 600 first one of its series was launched in 2013.
- Snapdragon 670 (SDM670) – 2x Kryo 360 Gold at 2.0 GHz + 6x Kryo 360 Silver at 1.7 GHz using Dual-Channel LPDDR4X
- Snapdragon 660(SDM660 – 4x Kryo 260 Gold at 2.2 GHz + 4x Kryo 260 Silver at 1.8 GHz using Dual-Channel LPDDR4X
- Snapdragon 636(SDM636) – 4x Kryo 260 Gold at 1.8 GHz + 4x Kryo 260 Silver at 1.6 GHz using Dual-Channel LPDDR4X
- Snapdragon 632 (SDM632) – 4x Kryo 250 Gold at 1.8 GHz + 4x Kryo 250 Silver at 1.8 GHz using Dual-Channel LPDDR4X
Snapdragon 700 series – High end series
The Snapdragon 710 finds its place just below the Snapdragon 835 and that clearly shows that this processor delivers high performance. There is hardly any difference between 700 series and 800 series.
- Snapdragon 710(SDM710) – 2x Kryo 360 Gold at 2.2 GHz + 4x Kryo 360 Silver at 1.7 GHz using Dual-Channel LPDDR4X
Snapdragon 800 series – A Flagship series
Snapdragon 800 series as of now is the best Qualcomm processor series. It delivers best performance compared to processors in all other Qualcomm Processor series. Snapdragon 800 series processors are used in high-end flagship devices for example Samsung Galaxy S Series, Xiaomi Mi Series, LG V Series and many other devices like OnePlus, Motorola devices, etc.
- Snapdragon 845(SDM845) – 4x Kryo 385 Gold at 2.8 GHz + 4x Kryo 385 Silver at 1.8 GHz using Quad-Channel LPDDR4X memory
- Snapdragon 835(MSM8998) – 4x Kryo 280 at 2.45 GHz + 4x Kryo 280 at 1.9 GHz using Dual-Channel LPDDR4X memory
- Snapdragon 821 (MSM8996 Pro) – 2x Kryo at 2.4 GHz+ 2x Kryo at 1.6 GHz using Quad-Channel LPDDR4 memory
- Snapdragon 820 (MSM8996) – 2x Kryo at 2.2 GHz+ 2x Kryo at 1.6 GHz using Quad-Channel LPDDR4 memory
Another reason for why this series is considered as a flagship series is that when ever Qualcomm comes out with new feature or technology it is first introduced in 800 series and later it comes to see the other series. So if you are looking for a latest smart phone, go for latest 800 series processor enabled device.
Snapdragon 855 is going to be next
The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 will be a game changer, at the heart of the new Snapdragon 855 lies Arm’s new Cortex-A76 CPUs. The combination of the new Cortex-A76 with the new 7nm manufacturing node will be a huge boost in terms of performance and power efficiency.
Snapdragon 855 – What’s Next?
The Snapdragon 855 is the first chip to work with “Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Sensor”. It is an ultrasonic fingerprint reader that can be embedded right into the display itself. You will observe that smart-phones screens have been stretched across the entire front of the display. To do that manufacturers have dumped the home button entirely (Apple). They have even moved the fingerprint reader to the back of the device.
But with the help of “3D Sonic Sensor” manufacturers will be able to make fingerprint reader available to the front of the phone without compromising the size of the screen as it can be embedded right into the display itself.
Let us compare Snapdragon 855 with Qualcomm’s previous snapdragon 845:
- 1x Kryo 485 Gold (A76 derivative) @ 2.84GHz 1×512??KB pL2
- 3x Kryo 485 Gold (A76 derivative) @ 2.42GHz 3×256??KB pL2
- 4x Kryo 485 Silver (A55 derivative) @ 1.80GHz 4×128??KB pL2
- 4x 16-bit CH @ 2133MHz LPDDR4x 34.1GB/s
- Dual 14-bit Spectra 380 ISP 1x 48MP or 2x 22MP
- Snapdragon X24 LTE (Category 20)
- 4x Kryo 385 Gold (A75 derivative) @ 2.8GHz 4x256KB pL2
- 4x Kryo 385 Silver (A55 derivative) @ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2
- 4x 16-bit CH @ 1866MHz LPDDR4x 29.9GB/s
- Dual 14-bit Spectra 280 ISP 1x 32MP or 2x 16MP
- Snapdragon X20 LTE (Category 18/13)
If you are looking for nextgen mobile device, wait for some time and go for a mobile device packed with power processor Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 for ultimate lag free experience while using any application. You will be able to shoot portrait styles videos and store twice the amount of videos and photos as compared to your previous device.