Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, more than just overclocking | Analyses

Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, more than just overclocking | Analyses

Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1

Qualcomm has announced a few weeks ago its new top-of-the-range chip, the best of the best it can offer, the processor designed to surpass them all, and the first smartphones equipped with this chip are timidly reaching the market.

Are there any tangible differences with the SoC that preceded it? What are the differences between Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1? What should you know? We tested them both to find out!

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro, the first device to reach our hands with the new Qualcomm RedMagic 7s Pro chip , to test Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 with a cooling system different from that of Asus RedMagic 7 Pro, to compare Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with a practically equivalent dissipation system in order to eliminate as many variables as possible Xiaomi 12 Pro and Oppo Find X5 Pro, as an example of two smartphones with a classic and not "exaggerated" cooling system for gaming phones

Technical specifications in comparison

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

(SM8450) Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1

(SM8475) Production Process Samsung 4nm TSMC 4nm ARMv9 Architecture

64 bit ARMv9

64-bit Qualcomm Kryo CPU: 1x 3.0GHz (Cortex-X2) 3x 2.5GHz (Cortex-A710) 4x 1.8GHz (Cortex-A510) Qualcomm Kryo: 1x 3.2GHz (Cortex-X2 ) 3x 2.75GHz (Cortex-A710) 4x 2.0GHz (Cortex-A510) Qualcomm Adreno 730 GPU at 818Hz Qualcomm Adreno 730 at 900Hz DSP / NPU Hexagon Processor: Architecture Fused AI Accelerator Qualcomm Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX) Qualcomm Hexagon Scalar Accelerator Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator Hexagon Processor: Architecture Fused AI Accelerator Qualcomm Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX) Qualcomm Hexagon Scalar Accelerator Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor Accelerator ISP Qualcomm Spectra ISP: Triple 18-bit ISP Hardware accelerator for computer vision ISP-ISP Qualcommectra : Triple 18-bit ISP Hardware accelerator for computer vision (CV-ISP) 3200MHz LPDDR5 RAM support Bus: 4x 16-bit Maximum bandwidth: 51.2Gb / s Maximum capacity: 24GB 3200MHz LPDDR5 Bus: 4x 16-bit Maximum bandwidth: 51 , 2Gb / s Maximum capacity: 24GB Looking at the data sheet it is easy to think that, as often happened in previous generations of Qualcomm chips, the “Plus” variant is simply a group of chips equal to the basic version but able to better handle a higher operating frequency. In practice, a "binning" of the best specimens left the production chain which are then sold under a commercial name other than the basic variant, a bit like Intel, Nvidia and AMD do with their own chips which are then divided into i3, i5, i7 or 3080, 3090, etcetera…

Judging by the results we obtained in the tests, we have the confirmation that this is not the case.

An incandescent soul

Let's cut immediately the head to the bull: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is a chip capable of generating a considerable amount of power which is however also accompanied by a considerable amount of heat.

These are improvements that on paper may seem exaggerated for a "Plus" version and not a new generation of SoCs. How did the American company manage to obtain a similar result?

Simple: moving the production of its processor from flagship from Samsung to TSMC foundries, capable of producing chips with the 4nm production process much more efficient. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 I strongly believe is what Qualcomm originally wanted the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 to be.

Don't get me wrong, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is, in fact, one of the best smartphone chips never made and we rewarded the speed and power of the smartphones we tested earlier this year with this chip.

This is what can be seen in the benchmark we performed using the CPU Throttling Test application, which helped us to put the processor of our chosen smartphones under stress for 30 minutes and understand its behavior.

Oppo Find X5 Pro In this test, yes sees how Oppo Find X5 Pro starts at its full potential and then is forced to slow down despite the excellent dissipation system designed by the company. Xiaomi 12 Pro is an even worse case: the graph seems to show that there is no real slowdown over time, but if you carefully observe the Chinese company's smartphone it already starts with lower performance than the Oppo device throttles afterwards. 30 minutes of testing. In practice, it already starts in throttling, ouch!

Xiaomi 12 Pro The RedMagic 7 Pro is better but it is helped by a decidedly more capable cooling system and is equipped with a fan capable of reaching 20,000 rotations per minute .

More power and more autonomy

The arrival in our office of the brand new RedMagic 7s Pro has given us a more unique than rare possibility. Being the latest flagship of the ZTE / Nubia brand practically identical to the previous model, if not for the use of two different SoCs, we can directly compare how the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and its most recent evolution behave when put in the exact same operating conditions.

RedMagic 7 Pro Already in the classic benchmarks it can be seen how the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is able to achieve better results, in the stress test this trend is confirmed. Another confirmation, which however we could not quantify as we do not have a thermal camera for measuring temperatures, the smartphone equipped with the chip produced in the TSMC foundries took longer to warm up. At the end of the stress test it still reached what seems to the touch the same unmanageable temperatures as the other model, but it took longer to saturate the cooling system.

Smartphone Geekbench 5 Geekbench ML 3DMark PCMark Work 3.0 Speedometer 2.0 Jetstream 2 Single-core Multi-core CPU GPU NNAPI Wild Life Extreme Wild Life

Extreme Stress Test Performance - - RedMagic 7 Pro 1251 3788 511 2440 3224 2625

(15.70 fps) 2632 - 2270

(86.2%) 13809 96.4 (± 2.5) 117541 RedMagic 7s Pro 1343 4234 545 2021 613 2792

(16.70 fps) 2807 - 2593

(92.4%) 13510 47.7 (± 1.8) 54510 This is a trend that is also visible in everyday life: while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 makes smartphones that mount at minimum effort for longer than a few seconds, its sibling Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 must be really put under stress to give off the same heat.

This improved efficiency is also visible in tests of autonomy, where RedMagic 7s Pro outperforms the model that preceded it by about two and a half hours on the same battery. The test is performed with PCMark 3.0 Battery, with display at 50% brightness, Wi-Fi internet connection and SIM card inserted.

Autonomy in the test

(hh: mm) RedMagic 7 Pro 09:24 RedMagic 7s Pro 12:05 RedMagic 7s Pro And if on RedMagic smartphones the SoCs are free to run "free and happy" regardless of the heat, there is another company that has worked very well on optimizing use of the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. We have already talked about it here on the MobileLabs pages, it is about Asus and its ROG Phone 6 Pro.

The Asus smartphone scores slightly lower in the classic benchmarks than the new RedMagic due to a much more conservative approach by the Taiwanese brand. ROG Phone 6 Pro therefore tends to heat up even less and be practically always cool, if not after extreme tests such as our 30-minute test which, however, finds practically no match in real life.

Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro The smartphone, at the end of the test, still reaches fairly high temperatures but to the touch it is still easy to see that it is colder than both RedMagics even though no active cooling has been used.

This better management of the chip via software it is also confirmed by the autonomy test. The Asus smartphone with a 20% larger battery than RedMagic 7s Pro, 6000mAh vs 5000mAh, almost double the score, 21: 08h vs 12: 05h.

Smartphone Geekbench 5 Geekbench ML 3DMark PCMark Work 3.0 Speedometer 2.0 Jetstream 2 Single-core Multi-core CPU GPU NNAPI Wild Life Extreme Wild Life

Extreme Stress Test Performance - - Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro 1312 3716 360 1586 2945 2380

(13 , 80 fps) 2376 - 1679

(70.7%) 12383 81.5 (± 0.82) 89780 RedMagic 7s Pro 1343 4234 545 2021 613 2792

(16.70 fps ) 2807 - 2593

(92.4%) 13510 47.7 (± 1.8) 54510


So what did we understand from these tests? We first confirmed that gaming smartphones really have an advantage over classic products when it comes to maintaining maximum power for a longer period of time. The cooling systems that make such smartphones bigger and (in many cases) heavier are really capable of making a difference.

Another thing we have been able to confirm is that not all manufacturing processes are the same . Although both Samsung and TSMC use a 4nm process, the differences in results are perfectly visible and important. Of course, Qualcomm has certainly corrected the shot by fixing some details here and there in the transition between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, however the results are so different that they cannot be attributed simply to small changes to the "design" of the chip.

Samsung foundries seem to have lost Qualcomm's trust and according to rumors, although the Koreans have already made their 3nm production line operational, it seems that the production of the future Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be entrusted directly to competing Taiwan-based foundry.

Good news: Samsung's 3nm process is shipping

Bad news: No phone chip maker adopts it

The image of Samsung's foundry has been destroyed, and no mobile phone chip maker will believe and adopt Samsung's process in the short term.

- Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 25, 2022

It's a pity that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 hasn't been in able to reach its great potential right away. All the top of the range of the first half of 2022 use a chip that, although extremely valid, is far from what I believe was the idea of ​​the American company, an idea that was instead made reality by TSMC with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. Some wiser brands such as Asus have even avoided using the basic version of the 8 Gen 1, arriving on the market directly with the improved version.

If you have not yet decided which top of the range to buy, ours my advice is to wait a little longer, as many manufacturers are about to announce new devices with the latest high-end SoC on board.

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