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The definitive Qualcomm Snapdragon roadmap

by Scott Bicheno on 9 September 2010, 10:23

Tags: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)

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Fishing for chips

Mobile chip giant Qualcomm had its annual UK tech jamboree - IQ - yesterday and, as you would expect, its Snapdragon SoC was one of the hot topics.

But what is Snapdragon? A couple of years ago, when the world was a simpler, more innocent place, that meant the QSD (Qualcomm Snapdragon) 8x50 chips (the x will typically be replaced with a 2 or a 6 depending on the network used), which clock at 1GHz and can be found in a bunch of devices, such as the Google Nexus One.

Back at the start of this year, Qualcomm told us about new Snapdragons expected this year, with higher clocks and more cores. Then, a month later, Qualcomm was showing off a prototype containing another Snapdragon, this time called the MSM (Mobile Station Modem) 7x30, and bigging up Qualcomm's Adreno graphics core.

The first Snapdragon contains the Adreno 200 core, but Qualcomm's acquisition of AMD's handheld unit only manifested itself in the 205 core, which debuted in the MSM7x30 chip.

At yesterday's event Qualcomm formally launched the device we first saw at MWC this year, which is designed to help developers optimize their software for the Snapdragon platform, and is based on the slightly faster MSM8x55 chip, but still has the Adreno 205 graphics core.

Here's a vid we shot yesterday with Qualcomm and its partner for the sale and distribution of this device to developers - Bsquare.

 

 

Once we get to dual-CPU Snapdragons, we also upgrade to the Adreno 220 graphics core. The first one of these to begin sampling to OEMs was that MSM8x60 back in June. The big daddy of the family right now - the dual-core, 1.5GHz QSD8x72 - won't be sampling until Q4 of this year.

Here's a reference table for you, including maximum display resolution supported and estimated end-product availability. All the chips are manufactured on the 45nm process except the first Snapdragon, which is 65nm.

Chip
Cores
Timing
QSD8x50
Single - 1GHz, Adreno 200 - 1280x800
In devices now
MSM7x30
Single - 800MHz, Adreno 205 - 1024x768
In devices 2010
MSM8x55
Single - 1GHz, Adreno 205 - 1024x768 In devices 2010
QSD8x50A
Single - 1.3GHz, Adreno 205 - 1280x800
In devices 1H 2011
MSM8x60
Dual - 1.2GHz, Adreno 220 - 1280x800
In devices 1H 2011
QSD8x72
Dual - 1.5GHz, Adreno 220 - 1440x900
Sampling Q4 2010, in devices 2H 2011


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