Qualcomm Snapdragon S4: MSM8960

Qualcomm initially announced the Snapdragon S4 is a blog post back in August. They have now released a white paper providing further information on this processor.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (MSM8960) is composed of  two Krait CPUs clocked between 1.2 and 1.5 Ghz, an Adreno 225 GPU and a modem subsystem with LTE, GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth and FM support. It will be manufactured using 28nm technology and provide much lower power consumption compared to previous generations.

MSM8960 Block Diagramm
Snapdragon S4 Block Diagram

Key features and improvements:

  • New CPU micro-architecture: The Krait CPU offer a 60% performance improvement compared to the scorpion CPU used in previous generations.
Krait is 60% faster than Scorpion
CPU performance Roadmap
  • SIMD/VFP performance: Multimedia instructions (SIMD) and floating point operations have also been improved, but no metrics have been provided.
  • Optimized memory subsystem: Krait includes dual-channel memory. Dual-channel memory is critical in
    order for the processor to being able to handle the large bandwidth requirements in multicore systems.
  • 25/40% power improvement: Thanks to an asynchronous multi-core processing, the MSM8960 consumes between 25 to 40% less power.
  • Reduced complexity: Qualcomm explains a companion core is not needed to reduce power savings as they use aSMP (asynchronous SMP) technology. This goes against the choice of Nvidia to have a companion core in NVidia 3.
  • 50% increase in GPU performance: 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.
Adreno 225 vs Adreno 220 vs Adreno 205 vs Adreno 200
Adreno GPU Power Improvements
  • Fully integrated 3G/4G world/multimode LTE Modem: Supports all of the world:s leading 2G, 3G
    and 4G LTE standards. It also includes integrated support for multiple satellite position networks (GPS and GLONASS) as well as short range radios via Bluetooth, WiFi, FM and NFC.
  • Programmable Hexagon DSPTM Architecture: According to the block diagram above. They all contribute to the improved performance of the mobile processor. Custom DSP applications can also be written by OEM and ISV.

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 should be available by H1 2012, so we should probably see products using the MSM8960 in Q3 or Q4 2012.


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