Qualcomm Set To Release Its Better-Than-Ever Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2
After QUALCOMM’s 2021\2022 product cycle which had slightly more interest than what QUALCOMM wanted, 2023 has been a better and a far more straightforward year for QUALCOMM, especially for QUALCOMM’s prolific SoC and cellular modem vendor.
After releasing the first of its Gen 2 collection of parts including the flagship-class Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the company is preparing to iterate through the next step of its product stack with the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2. It has been aimed towards the premium segment of QUALCOMM’s market which speaks for its $400-600 market price.
It’s focused on the flagship level features with the more modest performance of course and costs, QUALCOMM is aiming to deliver a sizeable performance boost to the platform.
This year’s snapdragon 7+ gen 2 has been positioned as a successor to last year’s snapdragon 7 Gen 1, and this year’s iteration of Snapdragon 7 is more focused on performance than simply adding a lump of more features to it.
When compared to last year’s Gen 1 part, they added mmWave support to it and new CPU and GPU architectures. This year there have been only a handful of new features in place of that. Meanwhile, they are also claiming that it has been possibly given the biggest boost of the Snapdragon 7 collection.
This is being enabled in large by a much-welcomed pivot from Samsung, which is their beleaguered 4nm process to TSMC’s 4nm process, mirroring the switch QUALCOMM made last year for the well-received mid-cycle Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 part.
QUALCOMM is also dropping hints for their critics and their users that this is most probably not the last Snapdragon 7 Gen 2 part that we will be welcoming this year, launching the 7+ part leaves QUALCOMM a little room to launch a vanilla snapdragon 7 part later on.
To be sure, QUALCOMM is not explicitly announcing any such part now, but there is little reason to launch a 7+ first unless they had plans for something below it otherwise, they could have simply launched it as 7’s part along with the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, which was always a one-chip stack.
When it comes to CPU organization, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 retains the same 1+3+4 CPU core configuration that we have been seeing for the past few generations of the Snapdragon 7 family. The big news here is that the top-performing core is getting a great performance boost, as QUALCOMM makes the switch from using a slightly higher-clocked mid-core to use up more performance and benefit from the CPU’s architecture.
So, for the first time in history for a Snapdragon 7 part, QUALCOMM is tapping one of Arm’s cortex-X cores for the prime core. The cortex-X2 core used here is technically Arm’s previous generation design, so it won’t be stepping on the toes of snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and its cortex-X3 core.
But when compared to the A710 core used for Gen 1’s prime code, the cortex-X2 represents a significant improvement in both IPC and Clock speeds. The peak clock speed for the prime core has gone from 2.4GHz to 2.91GHz.
In short, when both Gen 2 and Gen 1 are compared with each other, QUALCOMM is touting up to 50% increase in performance of Gen 2 over Gen 1, virtually all of this is coming from the new Prime core.
The tradeoff is that such a large performance boost is really only accessible for single-threaded workloads since there’s only one cortex X2 core. The three mid-performance cores are once again Cortex-A710 based and are clocked all of 2% higher than before.
As such, the 7+ Gen 1 is not going to see huge gains on heavily multithreaded workloads. The improved power efficiency of TSMC’s 4nm process should be able to pay some dividends there, but some of those gains have been invested into making that Cortex-X2 viable when it comes to battery life.
The Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 will be available in the market quite soon and according to QUALCOMM, handsets using the SoC will be available later this month, with Redmi and Realme among the companies that are confirmed to release phones based on the new performance-boosted chip.