While Qualcomm has integrated several gaming-specific technologies into its Snapdragon mobile processors, on Tuesday the company announced something a little different: a version of its Snapdragon 730 optimized for gaming, dubbed the Snapdragon 730G. Though mobile gaming may be an idle pastime with American consumers, it's a way of life overseas. Over 586 million mobile gamers are in China alone--twice the population of the United States, according to Qualcomm's Hiren Bhinde at Qualcomm's technology summit last December. It isn't clear which phones and mobile devices Qualcomm has in mind for the Snapdragon 730G, but recent gaming phones from Asus ROG and Razer indicate that Qualcomm was designing for what they hope will be a trend. Though most premium smartphones use Qualcomm's 8-series CPUs like the Snapdragon 855, the new 7-series chips are designed for a slightly cheaper but still premium phone.
Expensive flagship phones won't be the only way for you to play with advanced features like AR Emoji, Animoji and Face ID much longer. Qualcomm is making it easier for companies to create mid-range smartphones that pack those functions by launching a new mobile processor. The Snapdragon 710 will come with a multi-core AI Engine and support neural network processing, as well as image signal processors and graphics units that are typically found in higher-end chipsets. The 710 is the first of the 700-series, which was announced at MWC this year, and will sit above options like the 600- and 400-ranges but below top-tier chips like the Snapdragon 845. The Snapdragon 710 is a 10nm chipset that features a multi-core AR engine for on-device neural networking processing, as well as a Spectra 250 image signal processor that enables things like multi-frame noise reduction and AI camera features like video style transfer and active depth sensing for artificial bokeh.
But the new Kryo 485 core includes something unusual: a "prime core." Typically, a Snapdragon chip includes four "performance" cores and four "efficiency" cores, the latter optimized for lower power. The Snapdragon 845 uses four ARM A75 cores at 2.8GHz and four A55 cores running at 1.8GHz. Qualcomm says the Kryo 485 within the Snapdragon 855 is 45 percent more powerful. Here are the speeds of each of the Snapdragon 855's Kryo cores. But there are some interesting differences between the 845 and the 855.
When Qualcomm announced the upgraded Snapdragon 730G in April, it featured a slightly overclocked Adreno graphics core to differentiate it from the Snapdragon 730. Now, Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 732G takes a similar approach: it tweaks the Kryo CPU core for increased performance. The newest member of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7-series chips increases the Kryo's clock speed to 2.3GHz, up from 2.2GHz. Qualcomm also says that the Adreno 618 GPU core has been "bolstered" compared to the version found inside the Snapdragon 730G, but didn't provide performance specifics at press time to justify those claims. But the Snapdragon 730, Snapdragon 730G, and Snapdragon 732G are all likely within spitting distance of one another, filling out Qualcomm's midrange rung. All three sit somewhere below the Snapdragon 765G, which PCWorld's Michael Simon tested in late July, concluding that there really wasn't much of a need for flagship smartphones given how much performance the 765G could deliver.
The rumors were true: Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G platform on Wednesday, offering faster CPU and GPU clock speeds, upgraded Wi-Fi, plus 5G modem support. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus 5G platform (also referred to as the Snapdragon 865 Plus, when speaking about the chip itself) is essentially an upgraded version of the Snapdragon 865 chip the company unveiled last December for premium smartphones. The Snapdragon 865 introduced a host of new features, including camera upgrades, AI, security, and gaming. The Snapdragon 865 was designed around Qualcomm's standalone X55 5G modem, and the Snapdragon 865 Plus is as well, though neither is integrated. Both the 865 and the 865 Plus are 7nm chips. Almost all of the features on both the Snapdragon 865 and 865 Plus are common to both platforms.