Introducing Snapdragon 865 with A77 cores and 25% higher processing speed

Introducing Snapdragon 865 with A77 cores and 25% higher processing speed

Introducing Snapdragon 865 with A77 cores and 25% higher processing speed

News unit Qualcomm Company on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 ( 13 December 2018) on the second day of the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii, USA, has unveiled its latest mobile processing achievement, the Snapdragon 865 chipset. This processor, like its two previous generations, is Snapdragon 855 and Snapdragon 855 Plus is based on TSMC’s 7nm technology, but this time with big changes in Most of the parts have been encountered, from the processor and graphics to the video signal processor and modem. Despite competitors from other manufacturers, Snapdragon 865 will surely be the main chipset of the flagships of the market in 2020 and will soon be used in many phones.

Snapdragon 730 and the second is an update on last year’s popular and powerful processor, i.e. Snapdragon 855 has been introduced. Qualcomm’s 800 series processors have been introduced to the market every time during their evolution over the last several years with many features and new capabilities, many of which usually remain only on paper due to hardware limitations. This year, however, with the acceleration of the facilities provided in the smartphone manufacturing industry, it is possible to benefit from most of the features provided in an advanced chipset; 5G connections are no longer a fantasy feature on paper, and not only many cities in the world are now covered by this new generation of communication networks, but the number of phones equipped with this feature is also increasing every moment. Multiple mobile cameras with high megapixels have become the norm in the products of all manufacturers, and many smartphones with 90 or even 120 Hz screens are being offered to the market. So, thanks to the Snapdragon 865, we can expect higher megapixel cameras, screens with higher refresh rates, and faster wireless connections in 2020.

Changes in Snapdragon 865 compared to Snapdragon 855 have occurred in many parts, from CPU and GPU to DSP, SP, modem and several other parts, which we will review later, but first of all It is better to review these changes in the table below.


ARM company in May 2019 from the design of the architecture of new high-level cores Cortex-A77 announced that after some time in Some mobile chipsets, including Exynos 980 and Exynos 990 from Samsung and Dimensity 1000 from Mediatek. These cores are now also used in the Snapdragon 865, and thus a high performance improvement is expected from this set. In this chipset, the same processing combination is used in Snapdragon 855, and despite the change in the high-level cores, even the frequency of the cores has not seen any changes. Thus, at the highest processing level of this chipset, a 2.84 GHz core based on the ARM Cortex A77 architecture with 512 KB of L2 cache is used, and its triple middle cores are also of the same type with a frequency of 2.42 GHz with 256 KB of L2 cache. Finally, in the third cluster and in the weak cores section, we find 4 1.8 GHz Cortex A55 cores with 128 KB L2 cache.

The more powerful part of this set, i.e. the first two clusters containing A77 cores, according to Qualcomm, are up to 25% faster and consume 25% less energy. An interesting point in the meantime is the change in Qualcomm’s strategy for making changes in raw cores. ARM is a company; where despite having the license to make changes in ARM cores (which is called Built-on Cortex Technology) and although the new cores are still called Kryo 585 in the Qualcomm style, but this time there is apparently news of custom cores in Snapdragon It is not 865 and its processing cores are the same ARM Cortex A77 without changes. This procedure is apparently also used in Samsung’s new Exynos chipsets, and ARM cores are used instead of custom designs.

The L3 cache of this set is also announced as 4 MB, which is twice as much as compared to SD855. According to Qualcomm, this change is mostly due to energy saving and less use of more expensive DRAM memory, which seems quite logical.


Graphic processing in Snapdragon 865 is handled by Adreno 650, which has faced some changes and developments compared to last year. Reusing a 600 series graphic in the SD865 is a rather strange and unprecedented thing in Qualcomm’s collection, and a graphics architecture has almost never been used for three consecutive processing generations in this company. Compared to the Adreno 640, Quacom says the Adreno 650 has 20 percent faster graphics rendering and 35 percent improved power consumption, providing better “sustainable performance”; Better sustained performance refers to a longer period of graphics stability before starting the process of losing frames during gameplay.

Other information about this graphic, including its maximum working frequency, has not been published, but considering the history of Qualcomm’s Adreno graphics compared to ARM’s default Mali graphics, we can expect a successful performance from Qualcomm this time as well. With mobile games becoming more advanced every day and graphics becoming more complex, Qualcomm unveiled a series called Snapdragon Elite Gaming last year at the same time as the SD855, which offered new features for better performance in the field of gaming. This time, Qualcomm has added 5 new features to this collection, including Snapdragon Game Performance Engine, Desktop Forward Rendering, Game Color Plus and Adreno HDR Fast Blend.

Another new feature is the ability to update the device’s graphic driver, which was introduced in 2017 at the same time as Android 8, but no company has taken advantage of its potential. Qualcomm, however, now plans to release new updates for Adreno 650 on a seasonal basis and provide them to users through the Play Store.


2020 is the year when LPDDR5 memories were finally introduced to the market, at least at the flagship level, and now Snapdragon 865 has added to the list of chipsets that support this feature. In this new memory standard, there is a 20% improvement in energy consumption efficiency per bit transferred, which is a significant change compared to the previous LPDDR4. The interesting point is the use of a hybrid memory controller in the Snapdragon 865, which supports both LPDDR4X (up to 2,133MHz) and LPDDR5 (up to 2,750MHz) standards and provides a 31% improvement in bandwidth. According to Qualcomm, the amount of memory delay in this new technology will not change significantly and we will not experience any improvement or reduction.


High refresh rate monitors have been a constant feature of desktop PC gaming to this day, and a quick glance at the high number of 144Hz refresh rate monitors attests to this fact. This feature finally made its way to smartphones, and except for advanced and expensive gaming phones with 120Hz refresh rate, now normal flagship smartphones like Pixel 4, oneplus 7t, Opo Reno Ace and Realme X2 Pro have also increased the refresh rate of their screens to 90 Hz. Increasing the refresh rate of the screen, despite creating smooth movement in the user interface and a more attractive experience during the game, puts immense pressure on the GPU, which certainly not every graphics card can withstand. In Snapdragon 865, thanks to the Adreno 650 graphics, we face optimal conditions with the possibility of supporting QHD+ resolution with a refresh rate of 144 Hz. Of course, a screen with this resolution and this update rate is not officially present in the market yet, but if it is presented in the near future, the Snapdragon 865 will be able to meet its processing needs.

In another development related to the screen, the new generation of Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner called 3D Sonic Max has now faced a big change, where not only the fingerprint detection area has been completely enlarged to 20×30 mm, but also its accuracy. From 1:50,000, it has now reached 1:1,000,000, which creates the expectation of much higher speed and accuracy than before. Enlarging the fingerprint recognition area offers a new feature where two fingerprints can be recognized simultaneously to increase security even more. In the real world, of course, these larger dimensions practically mean that the location of the fingerprint sensor is easier to find under the hands of users.

Video signal processor (ISP)

The image signal processor, or ISP, is apparently the Snapdragon 865’s biggest change over last year’s SD855; The new Spectra 480 chip in the SD865 is now capable of analyzing 2 gigapixels per second, which is done by processing 4 pixels per clock cycle (compared to 1 pixel per clock cycle), which results in energy savings, improved Thermal efficiency and 40% higher pixel processing speed in things like noise reduction. The Spectra 480 is also equipped with a new Video Analysis Engine (EVA) that handles all computer vision or CV related tasks.

The gigapixel speed of the new ISP in SD865 allows for 4K HDR video capture and 64 megapixel sequential photo capture simultaneously, and image processing up to 200 megapixel resolution is also available for this ISP. If you think that this figure exists only on paper, it is interesting to know that according to Qualcomm, some manufacturers are looking to make a camera sensor with this strange resolution in the future! Among the more practical features of this ISP, it should also be mentioned the possibility of processing 64 megapixel images with zero shutter lag (ZSL), which was only 48 megapixels in Snapdragon 855.

Snapdragon 865 in the field of video also offers higher capabilities than SD855, where the maximum video resolution supported in this chipset reaches 8K at 30 frames per second and the possibility of recording slow-motion videos at 960 frames per second with 720p resolution. There is also no time limit in it. Video capture with Dolby Vision HDR and 4K slow motion at 120 frames per second are other noteworthy features of the Spectra 480.

Artificial intelligence

Snapdragon 865 comes with DSP or the new digital signal processor Hexagon 698, the biggest positive point of which is quadrupling the processing power of the dedicated tensor cores of this set. The artificial intelligence power of this chipset has increased from 7 trillion operations per second (7TOPS) last year to 15TOPS thanks to the fifth generation of Qualcomm’s artificial intelligence engine, although the contribution of each of the different parts of the chipset to this increase of more than two times is not yet known. But according to the power of the rest of the parts, nearly 10 trillion performance of this power can be attributed to the tensor units. The most important change in the fifth generation of Qualcomm’s artificial intelligence engine belongs to the new generation Hexagon Tensor Accelerator in the Hexagon 698 digital signal processor, which offers 4 times better TOPS performance with 35% less energy consumption.

Qualcomm has also designed a new component in this series called Sensing Hub, which is designed to detect sound with less than 1 milliwatt energy consumption, and thus it is possible to be active almost without energy consumption. This new component is activated by various keywords, so it can be used to activate smart voice assistants by saying Hey Google and Alexa, for example. This feature also has the possibility of listening to different sounds to make changes in the settings and operators of the phone, among which it is possible to recognize the sound of driving, home, workplace, cinema hall, etc., and with its help, it is possible to design options. There will be cleverness.


The modem is perhaps one of the few disappointing parts of the Snapdragon 865 where, contrary to expectations, and while some of Qualcomm’s competitors, including Huawei and MediaTek, have moved their 5G modems internally into the processor, Qualcomm once again, like last year He also mentioned an external 5G modem for the SD865. Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X55 is a 2G/3G/4G/5G multi-mode modem built with the new 7nm lithography and on paper will be able to achieve download and upload speeds of 7.5 and 3.0 Gbps respectively on a 5G network. This modem supports self-reliant 5G or SA networks in both mmWave and sub-6GHz modes, and its bandwidth is doubled in sub-6GHz frequencies. This modem is thus not only faster and more energy-efficient than last year’s X50, but unlike it, it also does not need to be connected to a separate 4G modem.

This modem also needs a QTM527 antenna connection to connect and support 5G networks based on mmWave, which can also be included in the list of negative options in this section.

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