Qualcomm Details 28nm Snapdragon S4 Chip, Mocks Kal-El's "Little" Core

Pulkit Chandna

Nvidia recently shed some more light on its upcoming Tegra 3/Kal-El system-on-chip (SoC), revealing the presence of a fifth core in what was considered to be a quad-core chip until then. But unlike the Santa Clara-based graphics company, not everyone is focusing on squeezing in more and more processor cores into their mobile chips. Qualcomm, for one, has very different plans.

Last week, Qualcomm detailed its next-generation Snapdragon mobile chip in a whitepaper  titled “ Snapdragon S4 Processors: System on Chip Solutions for a New Mobile Age. ” The S4 MSM8960 will be the first 28nm mobile chip to hit the market when it arrives inside products in 2012. It has two “Krait” CPU cores with clock speeds ranging  from 1.5GHz to 2.5GHz.

The whitepaper takes a dig at Nvidia’s decision to include a “companion” core. According to Qualcomm, it has eliminated the need for “little” cores by implementing an asynchronous Symmetrical Multi-Processor (aSMP) system, which allows each core to “be operated in low power mode due to the independent voltage and frequency control per core thus reducing the need for hypervisors or more complex software management of disparate cores.”

The MS8960 also packs a vastly improved GPU: “The Adreno 225 GPU delivers 50% greater graphics processing power over the previous generation Adreno GPU, Adreno 220, and six times the processing power of Adreno 200.”

“The Adreno 225 GPU has twice the memory bandwidth of its predecessor, which further contributes to better graphics performance at higher display resolutions. The APIs supported by Adreno 225 include OpenGL ES 1.1, OpenGL ES 2.0 and DX9.3.”

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