Today Qualcomm announces the successor to last year’s successful Snapdragon 765 line, a “premium” tier that the company had debuted, featuring the same high-end features as the flagship Snapdragon 800 series, albeit with lower performance.
The new Snapdragon 780G follows its predecessor with some major updates in terms of performance and multimedia capabilities, doubling the number of large cores, increasing GPU performance by significant amounts, and introducing the new more efficient fused AI engine with the new Hexagon. 770 DSP. Additionally, the camera’s capture capabilities have also seen great improvements with the new Spectra 570 triple ISP.
|Qualcomm Snapdragon Premium SoC|
2.3 GHz (not G)
2.4 GHz (765 G)
At 2.8 GHz
|GPU||Adreno 620||Adreno 620
+ 15% performance over 765G
+ 50% performance over 768G
|DSP / NPU||Hexagon 696
HVX + tensioner
5.4 TOP AI
Scalar + Tensor + Vector
12 AI TOPs
|2 channels of 16 bits
@ 2133MHz LPDDR4X / 17.0GB / s
|ISP / Camera||Spectra 355 dual 14-bit ISP
|Triple 14-bit Spectra 570 ISP
H.264 and H.265
10-bit HDR streams
|Integrated modem||Snapdragon X52
(Category LTE 24/22)
(5G NR Sub-6 4×4 100MHz
|Integrated Snapdragon X53
(Category LTE 24/22)
(5G NR Sub-6 4×4 100MHz)
7 nm (7 LPP)
5 nm (5 LPE)
At its core, the new Snapdragon 780G is a very different SoC than its predecessor, as it substantially changes the CPU configuration. We went from a 1 + 1 + 6 configuration to a newer 1 + 3 + 4 configuration, which includes a main Cortex-A78 core at 2.4GHz, three Cortex-A78 cores at 2.2GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores at 1.9 GHz. Qualcomm promises CPU increases of up to 40%: the doubling of the large cores, as well as the new microarchitecture employed, should offer a good boost in the daily user experience.
On the GPU side, we are seeing the use of a new Adreno 642. As usual, Qualcomm does not reveal many details about the design here, but they do reveal a generational performance increase of up to + 50% over the Snapdragon 768G, which means on the 765G that it should grow to + 72%. Based on our previous benchmarks, this should end up with similar performance to the Snapdragon 855 flagship’s Adreno 640 from a few years ago, which means that the GPU seems to be aptly named in terms of its performance.
Qualcomm is employing its new AI engine and fused scalar + tensor + vector DSP in the new Snapdragon 780G, which means it should be the same in terms of its architectural design as the new unit in the Snapdragon 888, albeit with lower performance levels. . Qualcomm announces 12TOP of AI performance across all SoC IP blocks, which is more than double that of the predecessor.
In terms of DRAM, the SoC is still a 2x16b LPDDR4X-2133 design, which appears to be crucial for cost reduction in this market segment.
Camera ISPs have seen a vast improvement in capabilities. Again, like the DSP, the new design follows the new IP architecture similar to that employed in the Snapdragon 888, employing a new Spectra 570 triple block that is capable of operating three RGB camera sensors at the same time. 192MP captures are possible for individual modules (with shutter lag), or in terms of zero shutter lag operation, we can see 1x 84MP, 64 + 20MP or 3x 25MP sensor setups. In terms of video encoding, we don’t see much of a change compared to the predecessor, so we assume that the video capture capabilities remain the same.
What is very interesting about the new design and probably speaks to the market in general, is the fact that the new part no longer advertises the mmWave capability by its modem. The new X53 modem has apparently removed this feature from its spec sheet. Overall, mmWave remains an extremely specialized feature that is currently only widely deployed in select US cities.Since SoCs are targeting lower-priced devices, and we’ve seen some extremely cheap Snapdragon 765 phones last year, the capabilities of mmWave were probably contradictory to the market segment these phones were targeting: vendors always have the possibility to use more end solutions like the Snapdragon 870 if they want to include mmWave connectivity.
Finally, the new SoC is made on Samsung’s 5LPE process node, which is an upgrade over last year’s Snapdragon 765’s 7LPP node. While the node does not appear to be as promising compared to TSMC’s 5nm node, being employed in a The SoC in this price category is definitely positive and should show notable gains versus its predecessor.
Qualcomm plans to combine the Snapdragon 780G SoC with Wi-Fi FastConnect 6900 chips that feature Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, hopefully indicating a further spread of adoption of the new 6GHz spectrum technology.
The Snapdragon 780G is expected to roll out to commercial devices in the second quarter of 2021.