Today Qualcomm is announcing the successor to last year’s quite successful Snapdragon 765 line-up, a “premium” tier that the company had debuted, featuring the same higher-end features as on the flagship Snapdragon 800 series, albeit at lower performances.

The new Snapdragon 780G follows up on its predecessor with some large upgrades in terms of performance and multimedia capabilities, doubling up the number of large cores – increasing GPU performance by significant amounts, and featuring the new more performant fused AI engine with the new Hexagon 770 DSP. Furthermore, camera capture abilities have also seen great improvements with the new Spectra 570 triple-ISP.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Premium SoCs
SoC Snapdragon 765
Snapdragon 765G
Snapdragon 768G

Snapdragon 780G

CPU 1x Cortex-A76
@ 2.3GHz (non-G)
@ 2.4GHz (765G)

1x Cortex-A76
@ 2.2GHz

6x Cortex-A55
@ 1.8GHz
1x Cortex-A76
@ 2.8GHz

1x Cortex-A76
@ 2.4GHz

6x Cortex-A55
@ 1.8GHz
1x Cortex-A78
@ 2.4GHz

3x Cortex-A78
@ 2.2GHz

4x Cortex-A55
@ 1.9GHz
GPU Adreno 620 

 
Adreno 620

+15% perf over 765G
Adreno 642

+50% perf over 768G
DSP / NPU Hexagon 696
HVX + Tensor

5.4TOPS AI
(Total CPU+GPU+HVX+Tensor)
Hexagon 770
Scalar+Tensor+Vector

12TOPs AI
(Total CPU+GPU+DSP)
Memory
Controller
2x 16-bit CH

@ 2133MHz LPDDR4X / 17.0GB/s
ISP/Camera Dual 14-bit Spectra 355 ISP

1x 192MP 
or
1x 36MP ZSL
or
2x 22MP with ZSL
Triple 14-bit Spectra 570 ISP

1x 192MP
or
1x 84MP ZSL
or
2x 64+20MP ZSL
or
3x 25MP ZSL
Encode/
Decode
2160p30, 1080p120
H.264 & H.265

10-bit HDR pipelines
Integrated Modem Snapdragon X52
Integrated

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 1200 Mbps
4x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
UL = 210 Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6 4x4 100MHz
+ mmWave 2x2 400MHz)
DL = 3700 Mbps
UL = 1600 Mbps
Snapdragon X53 Integrated

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 1200 Mbps
4x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
UL = 210 Mbps
2x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6 4x4 100MHz)
DL = 3300 Mbps
UL = ? Mbps
Mfc. Process Samsung
7nm (7LPP)
Samsung
5nm (5LPE)

At heart, the new Snapdragon 780G is a very different SoC to its predecessor as it changes up the CPU configuration quite substantially. We’re moving from a 1+1+6 config, to a newer 1+3+4 setup, including a prime Cortex-A78 core at 2.4GHz, three Cortex-A78 cores at 2.2GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores at 1.9GHz. Qualcomm promises CPU uplifts of up to 40% - the doubling of the large cores as well as the new microarchitecture employed should indeed offer a good boost in everyday user experience.

On the GPU side, we’re seeing the use of a new Adreno 642. As usual Qualcomm doesn’t disclose much details on the design here, but they disclose a generational performance uplift of up to +50% over the Snapdragon 768G, meaning over the 765G that should grow to +72%. Based on our past benchmarks, this should end up with similar performance as the Adreno 640 of the Snapdragon 855 flagship from a few years ago – meaning the GPU is seemingly aptly named in terms of its performance.

Qualcomm is employing its newest fused scalar+tensor+vector DSP and AI engine in the new Snapdragon 780G, meaning it should be equal in terms of its architectural design as the new unit on the Snapdragon 888, albeit at lower performance levels. Qualcomm advertises 12TOPs of AI performance across all the IP blocks of the SoC, which is over 2x over that of the predecessor.

In terms of DRAM, the SoC remains a 2x16b LPDDR4X-2133 design, which seems to be crucial for cost reduction in this market segment.

A very large upgrade in capabilities is found on the part of the camera ISPs. Again, much like the DSP, the new design follows up with the similar new IP architecture as employed in the Snapdragon 888, employing a new triple Spectra 570 block that is capable of operating three RGB camera sensors concurrently. 192MP captures are possible for single modules (with shutter lag), or in terms of zero shutter lag operation we can see either 1x 84MP, 64+20MP or 3x 25MP sensor configurations. In terms of video encoding, we don’t see mention of much changes compared to the predecessor so we assume that video capture abilities remain the same.

What’s very interesting of the new design and probably telling of the wider market at large, is the fact that the new part no longer advertises mmWave capability on the part of its modem. The new X53 modem has seemingly chopped off this feature from its spec sheet. Generally, mmWave remains an extremely niche feature that’s currently only widely deployed in select US cities globally. Given that the SoCs target devices at lower price points, and we’ve seen some extremely cheap Snapdragon 765 phones in the past year, mmWave capabilities were probably contradictory to the market segment these phones were targeting – vendors always have the possibility to use higher-end solutions such as the Snapdragon 870 if they want to include mmWave connectivity.

Finally, the new SoC is manufactured on Samsung’s 5LPE process node, which is an upgrade over the 7LPP node of last year’s Snapdragon 765. While the node doesn’t seem to be as promising when compared to TSMC’s 5nm node, it being employed in a SoC in this price category is definitely a positive and should show notable gains against its predecessor.

Qualcomm plans to bundle the Snapdragon 780G SoC with the FastConnect 6900 Wi-Fi chips which feature Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, hopefully signalling a wider spread of adopting of the new 6GHz spectrum technology.

The Snapdragon 780G is expected to see deployment in commercial devices in the second quarter of 2021.

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  • shabby - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    Is the adreno 642 basically an upgraded gpu from the sd855 which had the 840? Reply
  • shabby - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    err 640
    Wheres that edit button?!?
    Reply
  • kpb321 - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    Possible but I'd think unlikely. The GPU "model numbers" seem to do little more than indicate the relative performance between them within the same category of chips. It doesn't have any other blocks with similar numbering to the SD 855 so I'd assume the GPU number is just a coincidence. Reply
  • jakky567 - Sunday, March 28, 2021 - link

    Napkin math indicates performance in the same ballpark. Reply
  • Bluetooth - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    How does the Samsung 5nm process compare with TSMC 5nm and Intel 10nm processes? Reply
  • WPX00 - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    TSMC 5nm is much better than Samsung 5nm. Reply
  • leo_sk - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    Better than intel 10nm, worse than TSMC 5nm Reply
  • EthiaW - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    Lackluster performance&efficiency(comparable to TSMC early 7nm), but seems to be very cheap per transistor. Reply
  • shabby - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    What intel 10nm? 😂 Reply
  • eek2121 - Thursday, March 25, 2021 - link

    The one that all current laptops chips are built on? Reply

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