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Snapdragon powered by quad-core Krait sampled out

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Snapdragon? quad-core? processor? GPU? LTE modem?

Mobile chip maker Qualcomm recently announced that it has begun sampling its latest quad-core Snapdragon system chips and that it already has 50 design wins for them.

The Snapdragon 600 and 800 are powered by quad-core Krait 300 and Krait 400 processors, respectively, enhanced implementations of its currently used ARM-compatible Krait processor.

Some of the key changes in the Snapdragon 200 to 800 family are support for LPDDR3 32bit memory interfaces to provide memory bandwidth and, in the case of the top of the range Snapdragon 800, support for UltraHD video rendering which is an image of approximately 4k by 2k pixels.

The quad-core Snapdragon 800 uses the Adreno 330 for its GPU and provides a long list of integrated peripherals and capabilities including an LTE modem capable of category 4 150-Mbits per second communications.

The Snapdragon is implemented in a 28nm high performance mobile (28HPM) manufacturing process from foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. that has a typical voltage regime of 0.9Vs but can still achieve up to 2.3GHz clock frequency.

Snapdragon 800 processors will therefore deliver up to 75 percent better performance than the previous generation Snapdragon S4 Pro, Qualcomm claims. The S4 Pro is also implemented in a 28-nm CMOS process.

The Adreno 330 GPU delivers more than twice the performance for compute applications over the current Adreno 320 GPU, Qualcomm said.

Qualcomm has not provided any detail of what has changed between Krait, which powers the S4 Pro, and Krait 300 and Krait 400. The Krait 300 would appear to be in the same low-power 28-nm process as the Krait but can achieve a slightly higher clock frequency of 1.9GHz, versus about 1.7GHz. The Krait 400 would appear to be the reworking of the Krait in the 28HPM process for the higher clock frequency of 2.3GHz.

The Snapdragon 600 delivers up to 40 percent better performance than the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor at lower power, Qualcomm claimed. The Snapdragon 600 sticks with Adreno 320 GPU but provides expanded connectivity. The Snapdragon 600 processor is sampling now and is expected to be available in commercial devices by second quarter 2013. The Snapdragon 800 processors are also sampling and expected to be in commercial devices by the middle of 2013.

"With more than 50 design wins already secured with the first products of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 and 800 processors, we are advancing our vision and setting the standard for excellence in mobile computing," said Steve Mollenkopf, president and chief operating officer of Qualcomm, in a statement.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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