Subject: Mobile | August 10, 2018 - 09:08 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: X12 Modem, snapdragon 670, snapdragon, qualcomm 600, qualcomm, LTE
Qualcomm recently introduced the Snapdragon 670 mobile platform that brings upgraded processing and power efficiencies to the 600-series lineup while being very close to the specifications of the new Snapdragon 710 SoC. Based on the 10nm LPP design, the Snapdragon 670 uses up to 30% less power (that number is while recording 4K video and relates to the Spectra ISP, overall power efficiency gains are likely less but still notable) while offering up to 15% more CPU and 25% more GPU processing power versus its predecessor. The new mobile processor is also better optimized for AI with up to 1.8X AI Engine performance mostly thanks to upgraded Hexagon DSP co-processors and ARM CPU cores.
The Snapdragon 670 features a Kryo 360 CPU with two ARM Cortex A75 cores at 2.0 GHz and six Cortex A53 cores at 1.7 GHz along with bringing 200-series DSPs and ISPs to the Snapdragon 600-series in the form of the Hexagon 685 DSP and Spectra 250 ISP. As far as graphics, the Snapdragon 670 will use a new Adreno 615 GPU which should be very close to the GPU in the SD710 (Adreno 616. The new processor supports a single 24MP camera or dual 16MP cameras and can record up to 4k30Hz video. According to Anandtech, Qualcomm has stripped out the 10-bit HDR pipelines as well as lowering the maximum supported display resolution. Another differentiator between the new Snapdragon 710 and the older Snapdragon 660 is that the SD670 uses the same Snapdragon X12 LTE modem as the SD660 rather than the X15 LTE modem of the 710 processor meaning that maximum cellular download speeds are capped at 600 Mbps downloads versus 800 Mbps.
While the Snapdragon 670 and Snapdragon 710 are reportedly pin and software compatible which will allow smartphone manufacturers the ability to use either chip in the same mobile platform the chips are allegedly different designs and the SD670 is not merely a lower binned SD710 which is interesting if true.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 670 appears to be a decent midrange offering that is very close to the specifications of the SD710 while being cheaper and much more power efficient than the older SD660. This should enable some midrange smartphone designs that can offer similar performance with much better battery life.
Of course, depending on the workload, the newer SD670 may or may not live up to the alleged 15% CPU performance boost versus 2017’s SD660 as the SD670 loses two of the big ARM cores in the big.LITTLE setup vs the SD660 while having two more smaller cores. The two A75 (2GHz) and six A55 (1.7GHz) are faster per core than the four A73 (2.2GHz) and four A53 (1.8GHz), but if a single app is heavily multithreaded the older chip may still hold its own. The bright side is that worst case the new chip should at least not be that much slower at most tasks and at best it delivers better battery life especially with lots of background tasks running. More efficient cores and the move from 14nm LPP to 10nm LPP definitely helps with that, and you do have to keep in mind that this is a midrange part for midrange smartphones.
The real deciding factor though in terms of the value proposition of this chip is certainly going to be pricing and the mobile platforms that manufacturers offer it in.
Subject: General Tech | July 24, 2018 - 02:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, LTE, qualcomm, snapdragon 845, Android
The Inquirer posted some findings from Ookla which is bound to be somewhat depressing for Apple users with Intel modems in them. This will not be a surprise for anyone who recalls a certain court case from last year in which Qualcomm accused Apple of slowing down their modems to ensure they did not outperform models with an Intel modem in it. That case has since snowballed into a much larger one.
Tossing the lawyers aside, the data from Ookla shows a large performance different between "Intel-based non-Android smartphones" LTE speeds and any phone utilizing a Snapdragon 845 modem. The Snapdragon phones show "double-digit gains" in latency and "triple-digit gains" in download and upload speeds, which is going to be fairly noticeable. Perhaps the rumours that Intel will no longer be inside the upcoming generations of Apple phones are true.
"Consumers seeking faster everyday 4G LTE connectivity can buy Android smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, knowing that real-world data supports Qualcomm Technologies' claims of superior wireless performance."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- If at first you, er, make things worse, you're probably Microsoft: Bug patch needed patching @ The Register
- As Computer Vendors Focus On Making Their Laptops Thinner and Lighter, They Are Increasingly Neglecting Performance Needs of Their Customers @ Slashdot
- EC slaps Asus, Philips and others with €111m fine for online price fixing @ The Inquirer
- Hackers On Planet Earth XII: The Circle Of HOPE @ Techgage
- Commodore 64 Mini Coming to North America on October 9 @ [H]ard|OCP
- Spectre rises from the dead to bite Intel in the return stack buffer @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2018 - 11:32 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, Intel, amd, nvidia, raven ridge, r5 2400g, r3 2200g, arm, project trillium, qualcomm, snapdragon 845, x24, LTE, 5G
PC Perspective Podcast #487 - 02/15/18
Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including new AMD Desktop APUs, Snapdragon 845 Performance Preview, ARM Machine Learning, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Program length: 1:18:46
Podcast topics of discussion:
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Picks of the Week:
Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2018 - 06:21 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: xmm, ultrabook, thinnest, swift 7, LTE, Intel, CES 2018, acer
Acer took the opportunity today to announce several new notebook designs ahead of CES 2018. One of the more interesting and unexpected items is the newly redesigned Acer Swift 7 notebook.
Touted as the "World's Thinnest Laptop" by Acer, the Swift 7 comes in an impressive 8.98mm (0.35-in) thick. To put that figure into some context, consider that the Core M-based 12" MacBook which was praised for its thin form factor comes in at 13.2mm (0.52-in) at it's thickest point.
Currently, the information we have about the hardware of the Swift 7 is a bit sparse. While Acer states it will feature a 7th Generation Core processor, we don't yet know if this is referring to a 3.5W processor like the i7-7Y75, or a higher power 15W processor such as the i7-7500U. While I am desperately hoping that Acer has managed to integrate a 15W processor into this design, it seems likely to be using a Y-series part.
In addition to the i7 processor, the Swift 7 will be equipped with 256 GB of PCIe storage, as well as 8GB of LPDDR3 memory.
Even with its super-thin form-factor, the Acer Swift 7 manages to pack another surprise, the addition of built-in LTE connectivity. Unlike other connected Windows devices we have seen recently, the Swift 7 is opting for an Intel XMM Modem solution instead of Qualcomm's offerings. The Swift 7 will feature a built-in eSIM for a fast and easy subscription process to your carrier of choice.
In addition, Acer is also partnering with a company called Transatel to provide one month's worth of free trial LTE access (up to 1GB of data) for owners of the Swift 7. Transatel partners with carriers all over the world with their international data SIM service, meaning this connectivity will be available in 48 countries.
As you might expect, the "World's Thinnest Laptop" doesn't come cheap, starting at $1699 for the base configuration with availability set to begin in March.
Additionally, Acer also updated us on their previously announced Switch 7 Black Edition 2-in-1 device.
First discussed at the IFA trade show last year, the Switch 7 Black Edition is billed as the most powerful fanless 2-in-1 device. Not only will it feature a quad-core 8th Generation Intel processor, but Acer also is packing in an NVIDIA GeForce MX 150 discrete GPU cooled by their Dual LiquidLoop heat pipe design.
The Switch 7 Black Edition will be shipping later this month, with the earlier announced base price of $1699
Subject: General Tech | December 9, 2017 - 04:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: amd, qualcomm, LTE, ryzen mobile, wireless
On the opening day of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, the company brought AMD on stage and announced a partnership that would see AMD use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon LTE modems alongside Ryzen Mobile SoCs to enable always connected Windows devices.
PC Perspective’s Ryan Shrout and Ken Addison attended the event and gleaned a few more details about the announcement. According to Ryan on the podcast, AMD plans to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon LTE modems in Ryzen Mobile-powered laptops and tablets. While road warriors will be able to enjoy cellular connected AMD laptops, Ryan notes that these devices may not support the new “connected standby” standard where a Windows PC is able to keep the cellular connection and the PC in a very minimal power state to download notifications, emails, and other updates in the background while the PC is otherwise sleeping.
Reading this announcement piqued my interest though for the future of this partnership. While the first devices are likely to include the Qualcomm modem on the motherboard, in the future AMD may be allowed to integrate the modem into its mobile APUs which would help AMD to compete with Intel in this space. Qualcomm is a big player and could give AMD a strong and competitive wireless solution without AMD having to navigate the murky patent waters and huge R&D costs involved with coming up with its own in-house modems.
What are your thoughts on this Qualcomm and AMD partnership?
Subject: Mobile | December 5, 2017 - 02:30 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: snapdragon x16, snapdragon tech summit, snapdragon 835, snapdragon, qualcomm, NovaGo, LTE, hp, envy x2, asus
Today at its Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm has announced the first round of Snapdragon-enabled devices running Windows from partners HP and ASUS.
The HP ENVY x2 is a detachable 2-in-1 device reminiscent of the Microsoft Surface products or the Huawei Matebook-E that we recently took a look at. The 12.3-in screen is the same size as the current Surface Pro, but the HP option will have a more traditional 16:9 screen aspect ratio.
Built upon the Snapdragon 835 SoC, the Envy x2 will be available in configurations featuring up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. The Envy x2 will also support an active stylus that is Windows Ink certified for activities such as note-taking and illustration.
For connectivity, the Envy x2 has a single USB-C port which will serve for both charging the tablet as well as connecting external devices.
The ASUS NovaGo, however, features a more traditional thin-and-light notebook design with a 360-degree hinge. This means that users can take full advantage of the 13.3-in 1920x1080 screen in all sorts of different scenarios from traditional notebook mode to tablet mode.
Similar to the HP offering, the ASUS NovaGo will be available in configurations ranging up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of Storage. However, connectivity on the NovaGo includes 2x USB 3.1 Type-A ports, as well as an HDMI Port and Micro-SD card slot for memory expansion allowing for more options than the HP Envy x2.
Utilizing the Snapdragon 835 SoC, both of these devices will also feature cellular connectivity from the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. This is a huge advantage for mobile users, who can simply add these devices to their cellular accounts and receive internet connectivity anywhere in the world, allowing them to simply turn on their device and start working instead of hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots.
Both of these devices will come preinstalled with Windows 10 S but will allow for a one-time upgrade to a full Windows 10 license which will allow users to install non-Windows store applications.
(For those asking in the comments, yes, this is the emaulation layer we have mentioned previously at work. Snapdragon-based Windows machines will be able to run MOST x86 (not x64) Windows applications, with some exceptions. Exceptions tend to stem from things like kernel-mode drivers that some software wants to install that won't work. Dropbox is an unfortunately example of this.)
Availability of both systems is expected just before the end of the year and pricing for both will range from $600-800 depending on the specific configuration.
It's just the beginning here at the Snapdragon Tech Summit, so stay tuned for more announcements from Qualcomm as the week progresses!
Subject: Mobile | April 13, 2017 - 04:48 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: X20, t-mobile, spectrum, qualcomm, LTE, Gigabit LTE, FCC, Carrier Aggregation, 600mhz, 5G
This afternoon, T-Mobile's ardent CEO John Legere announced the results of the FCC's recent spectrum auction concerning the low-band 600MHz range. In a $7.99 Billion deal, T-Mobile is set to gain 45% of all of the low-band spectrum being auctioned.
T-Mobile is quick to point out that the spectrum they purchased covers 100% of the United States and Puerto Rico, with a nationwide average of 31 MHz of spectrum acquired. Having this wide of a range of spectrum available nationwide will help T-Mobile with their rollout of Carrier Aggregation, on the road to Gigabit-Class LTE and 5G.
This acquisition wasn't without help from the FCC however. In 2014, when the FCC decided to auction off the spectrum that was previously used for broadcast TV, they decided to set aside 30MHz of the available 70MHz specifically for carriers that did not currently have large holdings in low-band spectrum. This means that ATT and Verizon, who both operate large LTE networks in the 700MHz range were excluded from part of the spectrum being auctioned off.
Low-band spectrum in strategically important for LTE rollouts in particular as it can travel further and works better indoors than high-band offerings like Sprint's large available spectrum in the 2.5GHz
While it usually takes a significant amount of time to see the results of newly acquired spectrum, T-Mobile promises significant network expansion by the end of 2017. Legere claims that over 1,000,000 square miles of the newly acquires spectrum will be cleared for use by the FCC by the end of this year, and put into production by T-Mobile. T-Mobile plans to use this spectrum to both expand LTE coverage into new markets as well as strengthening their coverage in existing markets to provide more speed and greater density of coverage.
However, there is one side of the 600MHz equation that is out of the hands of T-Mobile, the user equipment. Currently, there are no shipping LTE radios capable of operating in the 600MHz range. Qualcomm has announced that their in-development X20 LTE modem will work with 600MHz, but we have no timeline as to a possible release of devices with the X20.
Hopefully, we don't have to wait too long for user devices capable of 600MHz LTE operation, it would be a real shame to have a newly expanded T-Mobile network that no one can connect to!
The road to Gigabit-class LTE and subsequently 5G seems to be a fierce one, and we look forward to seeing developments from competing carriers.
Subject: Mobile | March 16, 2017 - 11:15 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: x16, Sprint, snapdragon 835, qualcomm, new orleans, motorola, LTE Plus, LTE Advanced, LTE, gigabit-class
Demoing improvements to mobile phone networks is difficult. Where an individual vendor such as Intel or AMD can show off an improved CPU architecture mostly by themselves, it takes a lot of cooperation between companies to show off advanced mobile data initiatives.
This is just what Sprint, Qualcomm, and Motorola teamed up to do last week at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The first part of the story revolves around Sprint’s unique placement in the US mobile network market. While network operators such as Verizon, ATT, and T-Mobile in the US currently operate their LTE networks on low and mid-band LTE frequencies, the vast majority of Sprint's allocated frequency into the high-band range of 2.5GHz. The reason that Sprint has this spectrum is from their short-lived rollout of WiMax technology with Clear.
High-band frequencies can provide several advantages when deploying technologies enabling Gigabit-class LTE and on the road to 5G.
First, the antenna size needed in the 2.5GHz range is substantially smaller than the antenna size for a more common LTE frequency like 1900MHz. This means that when looking to deploy cellular sites utilizing technologies like 4X4 MIMO antenna arrays, Sprint can make smaller cell sites and be more nimble by placing them in areas where they are seeing substantial network load.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | February 27, 2017 - 11:12 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: x50, Sub-6 Ghz, qualcomm, OFDM, NR, New Radio, MWC, multi-mode, modem, mmWave, LTE, 5G, 3GPP
Qualcomm has announced their first successful 5G New Radio (NR) connection using their prototype sub-6 GHz prototype system. This announcement was followed by today's news of Qualcomm's collaboration with Ericsson and Vodafone to trial 5G NR in the second half of 2017, as we approach the realization of 5G. New Radio is expected to become the standard for 5G going forward as 3GPP moves to finalize standards with release 15.
"5G NR will make the best use of a wide range of spectrum bands, and utilizing spectrum bands below 6 GHz is critical for achieving ubiquitous coverage and capacity to address the large number of envisioned 5G use cases. Qualcomm Technologies’ sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype, which was announced and first showcased in June 2016, consists of both base stations and user equipment (UE) and serves as a testbed for verifying 5G NR capabilities in bands below 6 GHz."
The Qualcomm Sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype (Image credit: Qualcomm)
Qualcomm first showed their sub-6 Ghz prototype this past summer, and it will be on display this week at MWC. The company states that the system is designed to demonstrate how 5G NR "can be utilized to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit-per-second data rates at significantly lower latency than today’s 4G LTE networks". New Radio, or NR, is a complex topic as it related to a new OFDM-based wireless standard. OFDM refers to "a digital multi-carrier modulation method" in which "a large number of closely spaced orthogonal sub-carrier signals are used to carry data on several parallel data streams or channels". With 3GPP adopting this standard going forward the "NR" name could stick, just as "LTE" (Long Term Evolution) caught on to describe the 4G wireless standard.
Along with this 5G NR news comes the annoucement of the expansion of its X50 modem family, first announced in October, "to include 5G New Radio (NR) multi-mode chipset solutions compliant with the 3GPP-based 5G NR global system", according to Qualcomm. This 'multi-mode' solution provides full 4G/5G compatibility with "2G/3G/4G/5G functionality in a single chip", with the first commercial devices expected in 2019.
"The new members of the Snapdragon X50 5G modem family are designed to support multi-mode 2G/3G/4G/5G functionality in a single chip, providing simultaneous connectivity across both 4G and 5G networks for robust mobility performance. The single chip solution also supports integrated Gigabit LTE capability, which has been pioneered by Qualcomm Technologies, and is an essential pillar for the 5G mobile experience as the high-speed coverage layer that co-exists and interworks with nascent 5G networks. This set of advanced multimode capabilities is designed to provide seamless Gigabit connectivity – a key requirement for next generation, premium smartphones and mobile computing devices."
Full press releases after the break.
Subject: Mobile | February 21, 2017 - 08:19 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: X20, snapdragon, qualcomm, modem, LTE, DSDV, Category 18, Carrier Aggregation, CA, 5x20 MHz
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, their 2nd-generation Gigabit LTE solution built on 10nm FinFET and offering what Qualcomm says are “a number of industry firsts”, which include first to Category 18 (downlink) and first to receive up to 12 spacial LTE data streams simultaneously.
“It is the first commercially announced Gigabit LTE chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 18 download speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps, a 20 percent improvement in download speeds over the previous generation. Additionally, it allows support for up to 5x20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across licensed and unlicensed FDD and TDD radio frequencies, as well as 4x4 MIMO on up to three aggregated LTE carriers. Lastly, it supports integrated Dual SIM Dual VoLTE (DSDV) capability, a first for Snapdragon LTE modems. These leading-edge features of the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem are supported by the first commercially announced single-chip RF transceiver capable of simultaneously receiving up to 12 spatial streams of LTE data.”
Compared the the X16 modem featured in the upcoming Snapdragon 835 SoC, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem moves from Cat 16 to Cat 18 on the downlink, with support for 5x20 MHz (vs. the X16’s 4x20 MHz) Carrier Aggregation and “can simultaneously receive 12 unique streams of data on as few as three 20 MHz carriers”, with up to 256-QAM and 100 Mbps per stream. Uplink is at the same 2x20 MHz/64-QAM as the X16 modem, for speeds of up to 150 Mbps.
The X20 LTE modem now includes VoLTE for both cards in a dual-SIM implementation:
“The Snapdragon X20 LTE modem also features more advanced dual SIM functionality and, as the first Snapdragon LTE modem to support DSDV, it provides users with the benefits of Ultra HD Voice and other IMS-based services on both SIMs inserted into the device.”
Qualcomm has begun to sample the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem to customers, with the first commercial devices expected 1H 2018.
Full press release after the break.