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Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The arrival of Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 inevitably calls into query whether or not current-gen {hardware} is totally outclassed or not. While we’re effectively previous the purpose of “good enough” smartphone efficiency, new {hardware} drives innovation ahead and it’s usually the one strategy to expertise new cutting-edge use circumstances. So we’re already eagerly anticipating 2022’s flagship smartphones.

Google additionally has new {hardware} out there within the type of its first semi-custom Google Tensor SoC. Boasting in-house machine studying smarts, Google’s entry into the cellular chip market has already produced some standout options within the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. But has Google’s silicon already been eclipsed by Qualcomm’s upcoming flagship processor? Read on to seek out out.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Google Tensor specs

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Google Tensor
CPU Config

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1:

1x Arm Cortex-X2 (3.0GHz)
3x Arm Cortex-A710 (2.5GHz)
4x Arm Cortex-A510 (1.8GHz)

Google Tensor:

2x Arm Cortex-X1 (2.80GHz)
2x Arm Cortex-A76 (2.25GHz)
4x Arm Cortex-A55 (1.80GHz)

GPU

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1:

Adreno

Google Tensor:

Arm Mali G78 MP20
848 MHz (shader clock)
996 MHz (tiler clock)

TO THE

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1:

Hexagon DSP

Google Tensor:

Google TPU

RAM help

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1:

LPDDR5 @ 3,200MHz

Google Tensor:

LPDDR5

4G/5G Modem

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1:

X65 LTE/5G (built-in)
10Gbps down (mmWave)

10CA in 5G
4×4 MIMO
Up to 256-QAM in sub-6GHz

Standalone and Non-Standalone

Google Tensor:

Exynos Modem 5123 (exterior)
7.35Gbps down (mmWave)
5.1Gbps down (sub-6GHz)

8CA in 5G
4×4 MIMO
Up to 256-QAM in sub-6GHz
Up to 64-QAM in mmWave
Up to 1024-QAM in 4G

Standalone and Non-Standalone

Other networking

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1:

Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), 802.11a/b/g/n

Google Tensor:

Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), 802.11a/b/g/n

Process

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1:

4nm (Samsung)

Google Tensor:

5nm (Samsung)

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1: Defining the following technology

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 reference phone in hand

Browsing the spec sheet comparability there are some clear and apparent design wins for Qualcomm’s flagship processor. The CPU setup embraces the newest Armv9 structure, full with a extra highly effective Arm Cortex-X2 CPU, three Cortex-A710s, and three extra environment friendly little Cortex-A510 cores. With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 touting 20% CPU efficiency positive aspects and 30% energy-efficient enhancements over its predecessor, due partially to the upgraded Samsung 4nm course of, Qualcomm’s chip will greatest Tensor in benchmarks.

Although we shouldn’t low cost Google Tensor’s efficiency right here. The Arm Cortex-X1 core continues to be completely quick, and Google’s chip has two of them, which, in some workloads, may outperform the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s single beefy core strategy.

Read extra: Arm Cortex-X2, A710, and A510 deep dive

We’re anticipating a equally aggressive efficiency within the graphics division. Benchmarks put the big 20-core Mali-G78 Google Tensor a little bit forward of the Snapdragon 888. But with a 30% graphics increase on the playing cards, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will regain that crown. We’ve additionally seen some early indicators that the Pixel 6 doesn’t maintain peak efficiency for lengthy, whereas Qualcomm’s chipsets traditionally truthful higher right here, though we’ll should see what the state of affairs is like with its newest chip and precise smartphones earlier than drawing conclusions.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 advantages from the newest Armv9 CPU cores.

Broadly talking, we’re anticipating the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 to outperform Google Tensor within the core metrics however not by an enormous quantity, and Google’s chip clearly excels in some particular use circumstances that leverage the chip’s extra distinctive machine learning-oriented design. Comparing machine studying chops may be very troublesome as a result of number of use circumstances and totally different integration methods. Benchmarks additionally usually battle to seize the necessities of real-world use circumstances. Google leans by itself in-house TPU, whereas Qualcomm provides devoted ML capabilities in its ISP, DSP, and different departments. Either approach, each are very succesful right here, though we must always be aware that third-party builders at the moment can’t faucet immediately into Google’s TPU to take advantage of it.

There are additionally some key similarities on the safety aspect. Tensor options Google’s Titan M2 safety enclave for tamperproof credential storage and processing. Qualcomm now provides its personal Trust Management Engine with help for Android Ready SE, which opens the door to comparable use circumstances, together with on-device ID storage and iSIM help.

See additionally: What is an SoC? Everything you want to know

Where the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 does take a extra clear-cut lead is within the 5G networking division. With a Release 16-class modem sporting 10 provider aggregation and mmWave and sub-6GHz band mixing, Qualcomm’s chipset provides peak downloads of 10Gbps. Google Tensor isn’t far off the mark although. Its Exynos Modem 5123 provides quick 7.35Gbps mmWave and 5.1Gbps sub-6GHz speeds, in addition to 1024QAM 4G/LTE for customers exterior of 5G protection. However, Google’s Pixel 6 collection contains a cut-down implementation on the radio aspect and is locked to sub-6GHz in a lot of the world. Outside of 5G, each chipsets sport the identical Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6E capabilities.

Feature-wise, there are small design wins for each chipsets.

There’s additionally tons of potential in Qualcomm’s improved 18-bit imaging pipeline that would take companion smartphones past what we’ve seen from Google Tensor. The Pixel 6 caps video seize at 4K 60fps, though Tensor could also be able to 8K in idea, whereas the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 can do 4K 120fps and 8K 30fps with HDR. Qualcomm additionally packs a 4K video bokeh engine into the chip, enhanced AI face detection capabilities, and 30 body multi-frame HDR and evening capabilities. Not forgetting object segmentation and tremendous res zoom options to rival these you’ll discover within the Google Pixel 6. The query shall be whether or not Qualcomm’s companions leverage these capabilities for next-gen shopper merchandise.

When it involves multimedia, Qualcomm’s companions also can benefit from aptX Lossless and Snapdragon Sound for improved Bluetooth audio high quality. However, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 doesn’t have all of it its personal approach on this phase. Google Tensor packs an AV1 video decoder for the newest streaming video compression. The newest Snapdragon doesn’t.

Google Tensor: Bespoke for Pixel

Pixel 6 live caption

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

While the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 could have the newer processing chops, it’s right down to Qualcomm’s companions to get probably the most out of the chip, both by leveraging Qualcomm’s or third-party IP and software program or by constructing their very own handset-specific options on prime of Snapdragon {hardware}.

Historically, this has been a supply of disappointment, as smartphones have seldom leveraged all the very best applied sciences Qualcomm’s platforms have to supply, be that with 5G capabilities, audio high quality, machine studying use circumstances, or imaging smarts. 2021’s Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders showcased lots of Qualcomm’s applied sciences seldom seen in different handsets, together with aptX Adaptive, Quick Charge 5 charging, and object monitoring video autofocus. However, even with Qualcomm on the helm, the expertise wasn’t precisely good, proving it’s simpler mentioned than performed to take advantage of out of a cellular platform.

Much like Apple, Google is reaping the advantages of {custom} {hardware} to energy distinctive cellular use circumstances and lengthen updates.

Google has no such downside. Tensor and its devoted TPU are constructed particularly to energy Google’s machine studying and imaging applied sciences, and so they’re already evident throughout the Pixel 6 person expertise. Google’s famend HDR+, Night Sight, and Magic Eraser images tips all run on the chip with out the necessity for an web connection, as do voice-enabled options akin to Live Caption, Live Transcribe, and an assortment of different Google Assistant options.

Another level to contemplate is updates. With {custom} silicon, Google is promising three OS updates and 5 years of safety updates for the Pixel 6. That’s the very best promise you’ll discover within the Android house. Qualcomm already pledged to offer three OS updates and 4 years of safety patches with the Snapdragon 888 and we assume an identical dedication for the 8 Gen 1. That’s the identical as Google’s pledge by way of OS updates however provides rather less longevity on safety. Again, we’ll should see how companions implement Qualcomm’s providing as effectively.

Tensor’s capabilities are very a lot on the coronary heart of Google’s cellular ambitions and the corporate is benefiting from the chip to meet that imaginative and prescient and produce distinctive promoting factors. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 appears very promising on paper, however we’ll should see if and the way smartphones leverage their spectacular capabilities earlier than drawing any definitive conclusions in regards to the wider platform.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Google Tensor: The early verdict

Google vs Snapdragon logos

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

There’s no query that once we lastly get to see benchmarks and different metrics like potential 5G knowledge speeds, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will take the crown. The chip’s use of the newest Armv9 CPUs and beefed-up elements throughout audio, imaging, graphics, and machine studying departments undoubtedly outshine most of the Google Tensor’s specs when positioned side-by-side. However, person experiences are simply as essential within the trendy age of heterogeneous computing. And we don’t but know what number of of those Snapdragon options will land in shoppers’ arms.

While the Google Tensor, and Pixel 6 collection by extension, may not sustain by way of uncooked benchmarks, they’re nonetheless greater than performant for day-to-day and heavier cellular workloads. More importantly, the {custom} processor permits Google to energy the machine studying and imaging applied sciences it requests to construct distinctive person experiences and distinctive promoting factors. Those options are sure to stay related all through 2022 and sure effectively past. We’re but to see if Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered smartphones can match Google’s stage of deep integration to offer comparative and aggressive experiences. The potential is definitely there however we await the proof.

We’re anticipating benchmark wins for Qualcomm however next-gen shopper use case wins could also be a better affair.

It’s additionally price remembering that though we might even see a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 cellphone announcement earlier than the tip of 2021, we’re anticipating that the preferred, giant quantity handsets gained’t land in shoppers’ arms till late Q1 or early Q2 2022. For occasion, the OnePlus 10 and Samsung Galaxy S22 are nonetheless many months away. You’re probably nonetheless in for an extended wait earlier than Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 handsets arrive in earnest. Google Tensor and the Pixel 6 are nonetheless very related at present and can proceed to be effectively into 2022.


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