Feb 10 AT 9:29 PM Taylor Wimberly 31 Comments

Qualcomm launches new Snapdragon site, touts Adreno 220 GPU

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.

Via: Qualcomm PR

Source: Qualcomm

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Richard

    Qualcomm will always be who I stick with for today and the future. HTC and QUALCOMM have the best upcoming products. Rest assure 2011 will be great… Evo 2 4g anyone

    • http://Website Ivan

      I purchased my Evo on day one. If the Evo 2 has this SoC, I will once again purchase on day one!

      • http://Website Richard

        You can rest assured that the new HTC EVO 2 4G will be better and more powerful in many ways. All us current htc evo 4g owners have been blessed for almost 9months now and the evo has held his own and gained another family members in the process. The current Evo is a BRAND not just a smartphone that came and went it brought out network back to respectability now everyone knows SPRINT AND THE HTC EVO 4G.. CTIA WILL BE BIG THIS YEAR..

        • DavidM

          lets not get ahead of ourselves, we have heard nothing from either Sprint or HTC on the issue. Also, Qualcomm doesn’t have the hype machine that Nvidia does over the Tegra 2. That being said, I can’t wait for the Inspire 4G on AT&T to replace my Craptivate and I also look forward to their new phones in 2011

          • http://Website Ivan

            Sprint did say the many more Evo line of phones are coming, so yeah were pretty sure there will be a successor to the Evo.

  • http://Website Mark

    Wow. That woman is amazing. She went from mom talk to geek talk.

  • http://Website jose

    This snapdragon CPU is very good but I doubt their gpu beats nvidias,omap or Samsungs gpu …its a fact …but overall their still one of the best ..

    • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

      It’s not Samsung’s GPU, it’s Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR GPU. And while I have a Galaxy S phone and am a big fan of the PowerVR SGX540 running within, it’s fairly certain that it won’t hold a candle to the Adreno 220.

      The real question will be how it compares to NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 GPU. NVIDIA’s GPU looks to have been rushed to market, but performs well simply because of NVIDIA’s graphics processing expertise. On the other hand, the Adreno 220 is based upon ATI’s technology (they actually bought the Imageon mobile GPU division from ATI in 2008) and has been under development for quite a while.

      The ATI fanboi in me wants to root for the Adreno GPU. However, NVIDIA, with a bit of further refinement, has the resources to develop their GPU into a powerhouse.

      Damn I love the smell of burning silicon in the morning.

      • http://Website jose

        I agree I love that smell too..haha but I meant Samsungs Orion gpu or the new powerVr gpu..I get confused sometimes ..

      • http://Website metafor

        While Adreno 220, being an 8-way GPU (SGX 540 and Tegra 2 are both 4-way parallel ALU’s), should be faster than the existing Tegra 2 and Hummingbird, it’s competition at time of release will be Tegra 2 3D and Orion.

        No one is sure how Mali 400 will perform but Tegra 2 at a ~33% clockspeed bump will be a formidable contender. And considering that a *lot* of vendors have already picked nVidia, Qualcomm needs to show more than a “competitive” GPU, they need to show a clearly superior GPU.

        Scorpion is also showing its age. It was great compared to Cortex A8. But they need something to compete with the A9.

        • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

          I hope they move up their competitive part, the 28nm MSM8960 with Adreno 300 GPU. They say production is second half of 2011, but I don’t think it will be in products until 2012. And the MSM8960 is still dual-core while the competitors are already going quad-core. They only say its using a “new micro-architecture with 5x performance and 70% power reduction.” That almost sounds like the talk TI was using to describe the OMAP5 in 2012.

          • http://Website metafor

            It really takes about 6-10 months between actual customer sampling and a phone/tablet being ready to release and sell. So at best we’re talking 2H 2012.

            That being said, I don’t think the move to quad-core will be as dramatic as an advantage as moving to dual-core. Even on the desktop side, we’ve seen the diminishing returns of more and more cores.

            One of the key benefits of dual-core is that a stray process (say, Dalvik garbage collector) doesn’t lock up another; resulting in a small but noticeable stutter.

            There isn’t really such a noticeable advantage by adding yet another 2 cores.

          • http://Website jose

            Yeah is like every company is 2 steps ahead from HTC even Sony who surprisingly has a quad core CPU for their ngp any idea who made it?

      • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

        It’s really sad that AMD has no mobile strategy right now. I talked with their people at CES and they were clueless about smartphones. “Netbooks are our growth segment,” they said.

        • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

          Yeah, particularly when you consider how they’re already developing (and producing) the embedded graphics for their low-power Bobcat APUs.

          It wouldn’t take much of a step to bring back a mobile GPU division like Imageon…

    • http://Website Ivan

      Well Samsung and T.I both use the PowerVR SGX GPU, but yeah Adreno 220 is about the same as the PowerVR SGX 540.

  • http://Website James Jun

    I don’t know many moms who can speak so much geek like this…. Also, I still believe the Tegra2 and Samsung GPUs are better like jose.

  • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

    Qualcomm, with the very different way they do SoC development (purchasing a license to an ARM instruction set and then building the chip from the ground up, instead of using one of ARM’s designs) is always going to be in a unique position in the hardware market. They fall behind the competition whenever a new ARM architecture hits the market, but then rapidly catch up when the R&D for their own custom hardware pays off.

    In addition, the Adreno 220 GPU is something that has been a long time in coming. Since Qualcomm bought Imageon from ATI back in 2008, the Adreno 20x chip has more or less been ATI’s chip re-badged. The Adreno 220 is supposedly a next generation chip that includes some significant differences and substantial improvements.

    I’ve got a very love-hate attitude towards Qualcomm. You have to respect the way that they actually design their own chips as opposed to just about everyone else that just tweak ARM’s SoC configuration. That said, it’s infuriating how hush-hush they’ve been over the years trying to keep it all under wraps, and it’s maddening to watch them release the same tired hardware when they’re between their development cycles.

    In any case, welcome back Qualcomm; your hard work in SoC development and the resulting competition is a catalyst that helps keep moving ARM technology forward.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Yeah Qualcomm likes to stretch their development cycle out as long as possible to maximize their profits. It will be interesting to see them try and match NVIDIA’s 1-year cadence.

      • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

        I love it when you see a new player enter a hardware industry with a bang like NVIDIA has. Generally there is only room for a few major players and a couple minor players, and when a company with brand-recognition like NVIDIA pushes its way right into the major players, someone’s going to get pushed back into the little leagues.

        I know you think that will be Samsung Taylor, but I’m still placing my bet on TI…

  • http://Website Sarah

    I Wonder If the HTC dual-core aka HD2 has a front-facing cam?

  • ayocuz

    One would be htc phones. they have some top notch quality handsets.

  • Androidluv3r1

    @ Sarah………..I don’t see a sign of a front-facing cam on any leaks on the phone.

    • http://Website Paul Atreides

      HTC put’s ffc’s on most of their devices now. I’m sure they’re first dual core will have all the bells n whistles. Three phones leaked a couple weeks ago and they all had ffc’s.

  • http://Website Hans

    88 million triangles…doesn’t sound like much. How much can the Hummingbird push out?

    • http://Website Ivan

      Its not accurate on 88 million triangles, its between 88 and 98 million triangle. And the Hummingbird is not a GPU, Samsung uses the PowerVR SGX 540 GPU, which is made by Imagination Technologies. So yeah Samsung doesnt make its own GPU like Qualcomm does. Oh and the Adreno 220 is an 8-way GPU compared to SGX 540 and Tegra 2′s 4-way parallel ALU’s.

  • http://Website Sarah

    HTC Desire HD2
    1.2 Ghz Dual-Core CPU (Qualcomm 8260 SnapDragon), Adreno 205 GPU
    960×540 3.3″ (typo? should it be 4.3″?) SLCD
    8MP in back with LED flash and 1080p video
    512MB RAM
    8 GB internal storage, microSD support
    Sense UI 3.0


    • http://Website CTown

      Sure that was not a mistake and it shold be a 220 GPU?

  • http://Website elsid

    the new snapdragon isn’t bad, but the powervr 543xtmp4 used in the new sony ngp (psp2) does about 111m polygons/sec and thats the lower end they have a 545mp and up to 16 cores, which would probably compete with desktop cards lol

    but right now no chipset maker is using them maybe samsung is, but again their cpu only gets 1ghz while snapdragon gets upto 1.5ghz

  • http://gadgethub.info Latest Gadget Reviews

    wow a way better than adreno 205

  • http://Website Kenny Douche

    Boys, TEGRA 2 isn’t a powerhouse SoC unless you believe the NVIDIA media invention machine – many of the the claims made for it have been shown to be largely bogus (can’t even process full HD !) and the power suck, er, sucks. It was replaced by Atom SGX535 parts in STBs as it couldn’t handle the video.

    At MWC it doesn’t beat SGX540 parts and that’s before you get into SGX MP parts and Rogue (did you see the ST figures yesterday ??).

    Snapdragon is a very capable line of SoCs but Qualcomm are fighting many fronts with their development requirements and it’s debatable if they can continue far into the future when the tech they bought runs out of steam and they need to look at new ways of working.