CES 2013: Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 Promises Big Performance Gains Over S4 Pro

Paul Lilly

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 SoC is supposed to deliver 75 percent faster performance than Snapdragon S4 Pro.

This is going to be a great year for smartphone enthusiasts, if such a category exists. If it doesn't, it just might once Qualcomm's newly unveiled Snapdragon 800 SoC arrives in handsets. Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Qualcomm stood on stage and proclaimed the 800 its new flagship Snapdragon chip and the first "super premium" processor for smartphones, tablets, and computers.

The new part is built on a 28nm High Performance for mobile (HPm) technology node for "exceptionally low power," yet delivers up to 75 percent better performance than the mighty Snapdragon S4 Pro processor that's found in today's high-end devices.

A new quad-core Krait 400 CPU with speeds up to 2.3GHz per core finds its way into the 800 SoC, as does a new Adreno 330 GPU with more than twice the performance for compute applications as the current Adreno 320 GPU, Qualcomm says.

All the high-end technologies are baked in, like 802.11ac, USB 3.0, third generation 4G LTE, HD multichannel audio with DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus, and more. The 800 can capture, playback, and display in Ultra HD, which is fast becoming a theme at CES, and create up to 55-megapixel images.

Qualcomm also introduced its Snapdragon 600 processor. The model number tips that it's a lower end part, but it's still up to 40 percent faster than the S4 Pro, with lower power requirements to boot. It features a new Krait 300 quad-core CPU clocked up to 1.9GHz and a speed enhanced Adreno 320 GPU with support for LPDDR3 memory.

The Snapdragon 600 is sampling now and expected to be in devices by the second quarter of 2013, while the 800 will debut in the summer.

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