A part of our conversation with Michelle Leyden Li – Senior director of marketing for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Tim Leland – Senior Director of GPU Product Management and Travis Lanier Director of CPU Product Management was the soon to come Snapdragon 800 SoC.
This new chip is the company's first High-K Metal gate product, based on the 28nm manufacturing process and the SoC is optimised for low power at peak performance. The Snapdragon 800 is based on the Krait 400 core that is a redesigned and slightly improved core compared to Krait 300 and the biggest improvements are expected in faster L2 cache and 400MHz higher top clock compared to the Snapdragon 600.
The maximum clock of the Snapdragon 800 is 2.3Ghz for the CPU and 450MHz for Adreno 330 graphics. We saw the graphics clock at the companies demonstration at Mobile World congress you tube video and believe to be the final one. Let us remind you that Adreno 330 brings up to 50 per cent faster graphics than the already fast Adreno 320 found inside the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S4. It also brings OpenGL 3.0, something that Tegra 4 lacks.
High K Metal gate is nothing new to the industry as Intel used this technology for its 45nm transistors inside Penryn (Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad) processors and Intel used these kind of gates back in 2007. Both TSMC and Globalfoundries are capable of manufacturing High K metal gate based chips but traditionally Qualcomm used TSMC for high end manufacturing. Globalfoundries claims that "When compared to 40nm, the technology (28nm-LPH Low Power, High Performance) can provide 50 per cent active power reduction or 60 per cent performance boost." This sounds like a quite good jump.
We would expect that with the max 2.3GHz clock, the Snapdragon 800 delivers higher performance than the 1.7GHz to 1.9GHz clocked Snapdragon 600, staying in the same thermal envelope. To refresh your memory the maximum thermal power mobile devices set by Qualcomm's OEM is 2.5W to 3W for mobile and up to 5W for super tablets and calm shell designs.
We expect to see the first Snapdragon 800 products shipping in mid-year, which means very soon indeed, but Qualcomm didn’t want to preannounce anything at this time. They leave this part to their OEM partners. Wikipedia lists LG D801, ZTE Grand Memo, Sony Xperia Honami and Samsung Galaxy Note III as potential candidates for this chip.