Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 vs. Snapdragon 800

Let’s compare Qualcomm’s two 800-series chips.

LG QUALCOMM8 Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 vs. Snapdragon 800

Though the timing may be odd, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 805 earlier this week.

Snapdragon 805 is based on the same ARMv7 instruction set as the Snapdragon 800, and follows a 32-bit architecture. The main differences lie in the GPU segment, with only a incremental change in the CPU. Here are the key differences between the two:

Qualcomm Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 vs. Snapdragon 800

As illustrated by the chart, the Snapdragon 805 features the Krait 450 CPU, which now comes with a 2.5 GHz clock. The quad-core CPU is based on the AMRv7 instruction set, but the architecture has been tweaked by Qualcomm, which allows each core to be at a different clock based on the usage. The Krait 450 CPU retains TSMC’s 28nm manufacturing process.

Qualcomm has focused its efforts on the GPU section with the Snapdragon 805, which features the Adreno 420 GPU, which is claimed to be 40 percent faster than the Adreno 330 on the Snapdragon 800. The Adreno 420 has been designed to make 4K rendering smoother, and while there is a clear dearth of 4K content available on mobile and tablet devices, Qualcomm is betting on more 4K content being pushed to the mobile medium in 2014.

Adreno 420 comes with hardware tessellation and geometry shaders, which should make mobile games look more realistic. It is also Qualcomm’s first DirectX 11 complaint GPU.

Netflix has announced that it would stream a few shows in 4K resolution during the first half of 2014, and we should see the Adreno 420 shine in this use case scenario. The inclusion of the H.265 codec means that Ultra HD video playback should be straightforward.H.265 aims to deliver the same video quality at half the bandwidth and size.

In addition, memory bandwidth has been doubled to 25.6 GB/second, which should allow devices to stream 4K content without any jarring stutters. The Snapdragon 805 will also work with in excess of 4 GB even though it follows a 32-bit architecture.

Qualcomm has announced that the Snapdragon 805 will include the Gobi 9×35 LTE modem, which allows 300 Mbps speed on the downlink and 50 Mbps on uplink. This is twice as fast as the 9×25 LTE modem that was used in the Snapdragon 800. The Gobi 9×35 series is built on the 20nm manufacturing process.

Carrier aggregation on the 9×25 series was done using either one 20MHz carrier or two 10MHz carriers, but with the 9×35 series, Qualcomm mentions that data can be downloaded using two 20MHz carriers.

Qualcomm has said that devices that run the Snapdragon 805 mobile SoC will launch sometime in the first half of 2014. Expect some hardware wins to be announced at CES as well as more details on the platform.

Harish Jonnalagadda is an avid reader of science-fiction novels. A long-time Arsenal fan, his other interests include gaming, basketball and making music. He also likes tinkering with hardware in his free time.