I recently gave Qualcomm a hard time for not promoting their Snapdragon processors enough, so I must admit they are doing a much better job. Today they relaunched their official Snapdragon website which now includes a nice overview, device showcase, chipset details, and a section called “Why Snapdragon?” describing its benefits.
The specs page adds some new details about Qualcomm’s dual-core MSM8x60 platform, confirming some info we previously reported. The first MSM8x60 chips will be set at 1.2 GHz, but they can be clocked all the way up to 1.5 GHz. Also included is Qualcomm’s new Adreno 220 GPU, which can process 88 million triangles per second and offers “twice the processing power of its predecessor.”
For more on the Adreno 220 GPU, watch this video with Qualcomm’s Graphics Product Manger, Brent Sammons.
Qualcomm is still using their custom 45nm Scorpion core as found in the second-gen Snapdragon, but the third generation model includes double the L2 cache, 512 KB vs 256 KB. By comparison, the OMAP4 and Tegra 2 have 1 MB L2 cache and the upcoming (2012) OMAP5 has 2 MB.
The other major difference with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform is that they include an integrated 3G modem. The MSM8260 includes single mode support for HSPA+ networks (up to 14 Mbps downloads and 5.6 Mbps uploads), while the MSM8660 includes dual mode support for HSPA+ networks (up to 14.4 Mbps downloads and 5.76 Mbps) and CDMA2000 1X , 1xEV-DO Rel A/B.
Included in today’s press release from Qualcomm is another new Snapdragon model – AQP8060. This is the dual-core 1.2 GHz chip included in the unreleased HP TouchPad, and it appears to be similar to the MSM8x60 family with the only description being “connectivity features not included.” I’m guessing that Qualcomm made a WiFi-only Snapdragon so they could cram on an LTE modem later if they need to. Their MSM8960 Snapdragon with integrated LTE modem is not expected in devices until 2012.
Overall the third-generation Snapdragon looks pretty exciting. It will be interesting to see how the new Adreno 220 GPU, extra L2 cache, and the two asynchronous processor cores at 1.2 GHz match up with the competition. The integrated GPU has never been Snapdragon’s strong point, but Qualcomm made great improvements with the last Adreno 205 so we have high hopes for the Adreno 220.
How do you think Qualcomm’s first dual-core will stack up? Check out their new site and let me know what advantages you think they have over the competition.