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Qualcomm introduced Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 processors

A few hours ago, Qualcomm introduced a new second-generation system-on-chip (SoC) for mid-range and low-end phones. These chips are the latest generation of Qualcomm’s 6 and 4 series chips They are called Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 4 Gen 1. Both processors are similarly improved over their predecessors, using Qualcomm’s new, faster IP blocks (such as Arm Cortex-A78-based cores) and more modern lithography.

to report AnandtecQualcomm last introduced the new generation of Series 6 and Series 4 processors in mid- and early 2021, respectively. The company, which introduced the flagship chips of 2022, now finds it necessary to update its mid-range and low-end processors as well. In both Snapdragon 6 generation 1 and Snapdragon 4 generation 1 chips, a central processor with the main core of Cortax-A78 is used.

A close look at the technical specifications shows that the number of powerful cores in the Snapdragon 6 generation 1 processor has been doubled compared to the previous generation. Both new Qualcomm chips are equipped with Adreno graphics unit with higher speed than the previous generation. Qualcomm usually doesn’t release specific technical details about the graphics unit of its chips, and this situation also applies to new chips.

The important point is that Qualcomm’s 2023 mid-range and low-end processors, unlike the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processors, still do not use the Armv9 architecture. This makes the gap between the new generation of Qualcomm’s 6 and 4 series chips with the new generation of 8 and 7 series chips a little more than expected.

Cortax-A78 core, for the first time in Qualcomm’s mid-range and low-end processors

For now, not using the Armv9 architecture shouldn’t matter much to smartphone users; But it’s definitely important for phone makers and software developers. Qualcomm has decided not to complete its migration to the Armv9 architecture for at least another generation.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1

Qualcomm says it has manufactured the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor based on 4nm lithography. We still don’t know whether Samsung or TSMC lithography was used in the production of this chip. Qualcomm does not have fond memories of working closely with Samsung and may have decided to use TSMC lithography in its new mid-range chip. The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 mid-range processor replaces the Snapdragon 695 and compared to it, it has experienced many improvements in the CPU, memory, modem and camera.

Qualcomm 6 series chips comparison
Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 Snapdragon 695 Snapdragon 690 Snapdragon 675
central processing unit (CPU)

4 cores of 2.2 GHz Cortex-A78

4 cores of 1.8 GHz Cortex-A55

2 cores of 2.2 GHz Kryo 660 (based on Cortex-A77)

6 cores of 1.7 GHz Kryo 660 (based on Cortex-A55)

2 2.0 GHz Kryo 560 cores (based on Cortex-A77)

6 cores of 1.7 GHz Kryo 560 (based on Cortex-A55)

2 2.0 GHz Kryo 460 cores (based on Cortex-A76)

6 cores of 1.7 GHz Kryo 460 (based on Cortex-A55)

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Adreno Adreno 619 Adreno 619L Adreno 612
Digital Signal Processor (DSP) Hexagon Hexagon 686 Hexagon 692 Hexagon 685
Image Signal Processor (ISP)

Spectra (12-bit triple) with 4K HDR video support

Spectra 346T (12-bit triple) Spectra 355L (dual 14-bit) Spectra 250L
Memory LPDDR5 with a frequency of 2,750 MHz, 32-bit bus, 22 GB bandwidth LPDDR4X with a frequency of 2,133 MHz, a 32-bit bus, a bandwidth of 17.1 GB LPDDR4X with a frequency of 1,866 MHz, a 32-bit bus, a bandwidth of 14.9 GB LPDDR4X with a frequency of 1,866 MHz, 32-bit bus, 14.9 GB bandwidth
integrated modem X62 with support for both 5G versions X51 with support for both 5G versions X51 with 5G Sub-6Ghz support X12 LTE without 5G network support
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1 Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0
Lithography 4 nm 6 nm TSMC 8 nm LPP 11 nm LPP

Perhaps the biggest news this year for Qualcomm fans is the reorganization of the configuration of CPU cores in the new generation of mid-range processors of this company. In previous generations of 6-series processors, two high-power cores (Cortex-A7x) were usually used along with 6 low-power cores (Cortex-A5x). Meanwhile, Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 uses four high-power cores and four low-power cores.

The mentioned approach is very similar to the way of making the new 8 series and 7 series processors. This change, along with the migration to Cortex-A78 cores, means that the CPU performance of the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chip is significantly improved compared to the previous generation. Qualcomm has said in its official statistics that the difference between CPU power and the previous generation is 40%. Meanwhile, the power consumption of Qualcomm’s new processor has caught our attention. Using more powerful cores ultimately increases energy consumption and weakens the phone’s charging capacity.

Qualcomm has changed the arrangement of powerful CPU cores in the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chip

Qualcomm has a lot of information about the graphics unit Adreno has not released in its new chip; But it says that this graphics unit supports variable rate shading technique. This shows that the graphics chip used in Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 is one of Qualcomm’s new graphics blocks.

Such a feature was not provided in the Snapdragon 695 processor, and Qualcomm says that the GPU performance in the new generation chip is 35% better than the previous generation. According to the announcement of this company, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chip uses LPDDR5 memory controller. This is the first time that such a controller is present in the mid-range chips of the 6 series.

The maximum supported frequency is slightly lower than the flagship processors, and this frequency, together with the 32-bit memory bus, leads to a bandwidth of 22 GB/s. Needless to say, the memory bandwidth has increased by 29% in the new generation.

Technical specifications of Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor

Qualcomm also announces the update of the Hexagon processing block, which is in charge of artificial intelligence processes. The new version, whose name we don’t know yet, is one of Qualcomm’s 7th generation blocks. This makes the new version of Hexagon also support tensor processing to increase the speed of artificial intelligence calculations.

In its new mid-range chip, Qualcomm still uses a triple 12-bit image signal processor (ISP); But it has made this processor a little better than before in terms of pixel processing. The important thing is the return of HDR support to Qualcomm’s 6 series chips. For the first time, Qualcomm says it has also added support for Computational HDR to its mid-range SoCs. As a result of this, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor can handle videos Process 4K HDR at a rate of up to 30 frames per second.

Qualcomm has also strengthened the communication systems of the new 6 series processor. This processor uses the Snapdragon X62 modem with support for both versions of the 5G network. Qualcomm has not yet released the exact data transfer speed details; But the mentioned modem on paper can achieve a download speed of 2.9 Gbps through the 5G network.

The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor supports Wi-Fi 6E

The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor has finally said goodbye to the FastConnect 6200 chip and replaced it with the FastConnect 6700. This means the new mid-range chip supports Wi-Fi 6E instead of Wi-Fi 5. Qualcomm says devices equipped with the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor will arrive in the first quarter of 2023; That is, approximately four to six months later.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 1

In addition to introducing mid-range processors, Qualcomm has also unveiled low-end processors. Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 has not experienced generational changes to the extent of Snapdragon 6 Gen 1; But we expect it to perform better compared to Snapdragon 480.

Comparison of Qualcomm Series 4 chips
Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 Snapdragon 480 Snapdragon 460
central processing unit (CPU)

2 2.0 GHz Cortex-A78 cores

6 1.8 GHz Cortex-A55 cores

2 2.0 GHz Cortex-A76 cores

6 1.8 GHz Cortex-A55 cores

4 cores of 1.8 GHz Kryo 240 (based on Cortex-A73)

4 cores of 1.8 GHz Kryo 240 (based on Cortex-A53)

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Adreno Adreno 619 Adreno 610
Digital Signal Processor (DSP) Hexagon Hexagon 686 Hexagon 683
Image Signal Processor (ISP) Spectra (12-bit trio) Spectra 345 (12-bit triple) Spectra 340 (dual 14-bit)
Memory LPDDR4X With a frequency of 2,133 MHz, a 32-bit bass, a bandwidth of 17 GB LPDDR4X With a frequency of 2,133 MHz, a 32-bit bass, a bandwidth of 17 GB LPDDR4X with a frequency of 1,866 MHz, a 32-bit bus, a bandwidth of 14.9 GB
integrated modem X51 with 5G Sub-6Ghz support X51 with support for both 5G versions X11 LTE without 5G network support
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1 Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2
Lithography 6 nm TSMC 8 nm LPP 11 nm LPP

The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 processor, like Qualcomm’s new mid-range processor, uses a CPU unit with a Cortex-A78 core; But it has gone to a different configuration. This low-end chip has two powerful cores and six low-power Cortex-A55 cores. Previous generations of Qualcomm’s 4 series processors used the Cortex-A76 core.

Unfortunately, due to the limitation of the frequency of the central processing unit to 2.0 GHz, all generational improvements are obtained as a result of changing the architecture of the cores. Qualcomm says the CPU performance in the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chip is up to 15% better than the previous generation. The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chip uses an unknown model of Adreno graphics unit, which according to Qualcomm, its performance is 10% better than the graphics unit of the Snapdragon 480 chip.

The CPU and GPU processing units in the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chip are 15% and 10% stronger than the previous generation, respectively.

Qualcomm has decided not to upgrade the memory controller in its new low-end chip and still supports LPDDR4X-4266 memory with a 32-bit bus. Bandwidth on Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 has not experienced any improvement; Therefore, Qualcomm’s new low-end chip cannot provide additional resources to the faster graphics unit.

Technical specifications of Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 processor

The image signal processor in Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 is still largely similar to the previous generation, and Qualcomm has not used a triple 12-bit processor. The important point is that the new image signal processor supports 108 megapixel images; That is, the number of pixels that can be recorded in one shot has almost doubled compared to the previous generation.

modem The Snapdragon X51, which is used in the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 chip, does not support the 5G mmWave network and can only support the Sub-6Ghz version of this network. Of course, 5G mmWave is enough to achieve download and upload speeds of 2.5 Gbps and 900 Mbps, respectively. The use of the FastConnect 6200 chip makes phones equipped with the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 processor support Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 processor is based on TSMC’s 6nm lithography. According to the official announcement, phones equipped with this low-end processor will be released before the end of this season.


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