Qualcomm Focuses on Android Gaming, Snapdragon Benefits to Gamers, Developers

Subject: Processors, Mobile | June 23, 2014 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon, qualcomm, gaming, Android, adreno

Today Qualcomm has published a 22-page white paper that keys in on the company's focus around Android gaming and the benefits that Qualcomm SoCs offer. As the dominant SoC vendor in the Android ecosystem of smartphones, tablets and handhelds (shipping more than 32% in Q2 of 2013) QC is able to offer a unique combination of solutions to both developers and gamers that push Android gaming into higher fidelity with more robust game play.

According to the white paper, Android gaming is the fastest growing segment of the gaming market with a 30% compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2015, as projected by Gartner. Experiences for mobile games have drastically improved since Android was released in 2008 with developers like Epic Games and the Unreal Engine pushing visuals to near-console and near-PC qualities. 

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Qualcomm is taking a heterogeneous approach to address the requirements of gaming that include AI execution, physics simulation, animation, low latency input and high speed network connectivity in addition to high quality graphics and 3D rendering. Though not directly a part of the HSA standards still in development, the many specialized engines that Qualcomm has developed for its Snapdragon SoC processors including traditional CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, security and connectivity allow the company to create a solution that is built for Android gaming dominance.

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In the white paper Qualcomm dives into the advantages that the Krait CPU architecture offers for CPU-based tasks as well as the power of the Adreno 4x series of GPUs that offer both raw performance and the flexibility to support current and future gaming APIs. All of this is done with single-digit wattage draw and a passive, fanless design and points to the huge undertaking that mobile gaming requires from an engineering and implementation perspective.

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For developers, the ability to target Snapdragon architectures with a single code path that can address a scalable product stack allows for the least amount of development time and the most return on investment possible. Qualcomm continues to support the development community with tools and assistance to bring out the peak performance of Krait and Adreno to get games running on lower power parts as well as the latest and upcoming generations of SoCs in flagship devices.

It is great to see Qualcomm focus on this aspect of the mobile market and the challenges presented by it require strong dedication from these engineering teams. Being able to create compelling gaming experiences with high quality imagery while maintaining the required power envelope is a task that many other company's have struggled with. 

Check out the new landing page over at Qualcomm if you are interested in more technical information as well as direct access to the white paper detailing the work Qualcomm is putting into its Snapdragon line of SoC for gamers.

Source: Qualcomm

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June 23, 2014 | 03:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Does this have any ray tracing hardware, and how does it compare to the PowerVR wizard? Qualcomm is a founding member of the HSA foundation, Along with Imagination Technologies(PowerVR), AMD, ARM holdings, and others. I would love to see a head to head comparison between the leaders in the mobile GPU market, and especially the AMD(?) and Nvidia(K1, Denver), ARM based SOCs. The PowerVR wizard with hardware ray tracing, when it also shows up in products, should be interesting. AMD needs to get its Graphics matched with an ARMv8 custom SOC as soon as possible. Are there any roadmaps for any AMD custom ARMv8 ISA based SOCs/APUs yet?

June 23, 2014 | 03:52 PM - Posted by renz (not verified)

ray tracing hardware? no. AFAIK dedicated ray tracing hardware is still not included in standard API (DirectX/OpenGL) specification yet. just like tessellation. AMD have tessellation hardware inside their gpu even before they they come up with HD5k series (i'm not sure for 3k but 4k series did have it).

June 23, 2014 | 06:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well the PowerVR wizard will have to ship with some openGL custom extensions to go along with the ray tracing, it is a mobile GPU, and OpenGL/OpenCL appears to be more in use in the mobile market as the main graphics API. Apple could be the very first to utilize the wizard PowerVR GR6500, or Apple may have a custom GPU made for its tablets/phones based on the GR6500's underlying GPU microarchitecture.
Apple sure produced a custom ARMv8 ISA 64 bit processor with their A7, and an A8 with ray tracing built into the GPU hardware will free the A8's CPU cores up from the intensive task of ray tracing, or maybe the CPU and the GPU can both work on ray tracing workloads, for some great gaming graphics, or other graphics uses. Hopefully a pro tablet running OSX, OSX based graphics applications.

(specs on GR6500)
Ray tracing: 300 MRPS (million rays per second) and 100 MDTPS (million dynamic triangles per second) at 600 MHz

Shading: Four Unified Shading Clusters (USCs), with 128 ALU cores delivering in excess of 150 GFLOPS (FP32) or 300 GFLOPS (FP16) at 600 MHz

PowerGearing G6XT for advanced power management and dynamic resource allocation

PVR3C™ triple compression technologies (PVRTC and ASTC for texture compression, PVRIC for frame buffer compression, PVRGC for geometry compression)

Deep Color support for very high image quality at Ultra HD resolutions and beyond

June 23, 2014 | 03:41 PM - Posted by renz (not verified)

so will qualcomm improve their driver for the better with this new effort?

June 23, 2014 | 06:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

First Qualcomm squeezed Nvidia out of the mobile space and now its going to squeeze them out of any hope of mobile gaming.

Nvidia needs to release a $3000 gaming phone that is just slower then the competitions. Titan Z phone/phalet.

June 24, 2014 | 02:40 AM - Posted by renz (not verified)

Qualcomm talks about championing Android gaming is not new. they did in the past try to challenge nvidia's tegra zone but it does not really goes like they hope and then pull the app from google play.


also before talking any further about championing android gaming they should put more effort fixing their drivers.

June 24, 2014 | 11:37 PM - Posted by nobodyspecial (not verified)

Uh, the problem for qcom is everything already runs great on K1 since it's kepler. Everyone else will have to catch up to this and a primo driver team that has been doing gaming for 20yrs. Qcom had their chance BEFORE K1, that party is over now. Time to meet the REAL gpu kings. Hopefully AMD can get something out before long also, as they will have the same advantages though probably stuck only in tablets for some time even then (modem-less). All game devs are familiar with NV hardware inside out now as each year a new desktop rev will slip down into mobile after already being learned long before on PC's.

I don't see anything above that shows me Qcom will dominate NV gpus/gaming experience, or devs experience with Nvidia hardware. They are well ahead in streaming tech also as shield was the testbed for that tech along with grid. NV has been laying the groundwork for a while and it's about to pay off this xmas and forward as we see all the K1/Denver devices come out. Since modems are about over I think we'll see Qcom lose ground to NV as gpus dominate the mobile platforms. If caps go unlimited on phones everywhere maybe the modem makes a longer stand, but with most at 2GB caps 150/300 speeds are already ridiculous and just races you to your cap. The only two at 10GB is HK/Singapore and that is barely watching a 1080p movie, the 2GB most of us have not even a 720p movie. Modem's rule is over, it's about the gpu now.

Same thing happened to rimm as enterprise email became EVERYBODY's darling, leaving rimm with nothing making them special. We'll see the same with modem not making Qcom special and the gpu being the next big thing. Shield r2 will put more eyeballs on NV next month. Watch for them to continue to do more easy ports of PC games then too. If they make a MS like announcement of 500mil for android games over 5yrs or something (exclusive stuff, that if it fails you just port to PC and sell it there), we'll really see them take off. Don't forget PowerVR (IMG.L) is in mobile because they couldn't beat AMD/NV last time. Intel got forced out also with i740 being the last effort and larrabee just died the same quick death (now trying to make it with PHI). Qcom appears to be just pointing to games from their page, not games that say QCOM OPTIMIZED yet. Unlike NV's THD games which really do have unique stuff for their chips and you can expect to see much more now that K1 is hitting. Finally desktop gpus get to tegra ;)

July 16, 2014 | 02:11 AM - Posted by Thomas Dolan (not verified)

That is another step for dominating the market of mobile hardware. Almost every smartphone is running on processors from QC these days, improving their quality will assures the dominance. Since android app development industry is growing pretty fast and developers are building games with gameplay similar to desktop, making powerful processors that support high performance gaming will help QC in the long run.

August 4, 2014 | 03:19 PM - Posted by atintop

focuses on android gaming is a good thing, but they also should focuses on reduction of the consomation of energy to improve the autonomy

achat galaxy s5 galaxy s5

August 4, 2014 | 03:23 PM - Posted by atintop

double poste

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