Earlier today Qualcomm briefed analysts on its Snapdragon SoC roadmap. The current Snapdragon is available in both 65nm and 45nm versions integrating a single Scorpion CPU core running at up to 1GHz and an Adreno 200 or 205 GPU (respectively). Snapdragon was the SoC of choice for many Android phones over the past year and a half, not to mention the only SoC available in Windows Phone 7 devices.

In the coming months we’ll see the first dual-core Cortex A9 based NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoCs ship in devices. Sometime next year we’ll see A9 based OMAP4 SoCs in smartphones as well. So what does Qualcomm have in store for us over the next few years?

First we have the MSM8260 and 8660 SoCs. These are based on Qualcomm’s current generation technologies: integrating two Scorpion cores and an Adreno 205 GPU on a single 45nm die. The 8260 features HSPA+ support, while the 8660 supports HSPA+, CDMA2000 and 1xEV-DO Rev. B. These two dual-core SoCs will run at 1.2GHz. We should see a GPU upgrade here as well.

The 8×60 SoCs started sampling over the summer and we should expect to see them in high end smartphones sometime in 2011 at the earliest.

More exciting however is what comes next. Today’s disclosures included further details for the next-generation Snapdragon SoC built on a 28nm process. The first member of the next-gen Snapdragon family is the Qualcomm MSM8960 SoC.

Inside the MSM8960 are two next-generation processor cores, presumably out-of-order as Qualcomm is promising 5x the performance of the original Snapdragon chip (2x for the move to dual cores and the rest due to OoO, larger caches and other architectural tweaks perhaps?). Qualcomm isn’t disclosing clock speed at this time.

Power consumption is said to be 75% lower, however that seems very aggressive compared to what we have today. It’s unclear if Qualcomm is talking about active or idle power, or what version of Snapdragon it is comparing to (65nm or 45nm).

On the GPU side Qualcomm is making significant performance claims as well. The MSM8960 is set to offer a ~4x improvement in graphics performance. Again, Qualcomm wasn’t specific about what the reference point was. If it’s compared to the Adreno 200, that would imply a doubling of the GPU performance we have today.

Qualcomm has separately announced that the Adreno 3xx GPU would be used in SoCs from 2011 – 2013 on a 28nm process. This appears to be the GPU family used in the next-generation Snapdragon. Even more interesting is Qualcomm stating that Adreno 3xx will have performance similar to the Xbox 360/PS3.

If that’s indeed the level of graphics performance we’ll see in the next 3 years, being able to play Xbox 360 titles on Windows Phone 8 may not be too far fetched.

The 8960 continues to be a single chip solution with integrated modem, supporting all 3G modes as well as LTE. The MSM8960 will begin sampling in 2011, meaning we likely won’t see smartphones based on it until 2012.

對行動裝置市場深耕許久、極具野心的Qualcomm(高通)在Computex 2011展前記者會中,除了發佈Snapdragon第四代處理器Snapdragon MSM8960、APQ8064外;同時在展前也一併宣佈今年上半年併購Atheros的後續消息,未來Atheros將成為高通新成立的子公司 Qualcomm Atheros。

Qualcomm 第四代Snapdragon MSM8960APQ8064已進入產線

目前市面上已經可以找到125項採用Snapdragon的終端產品,並且有250項產品已經在設計階段,而250項產品當中又有四十多項平板終端。在作 業系統方面,Qualcomm Snapdragon更橫跨Android、BlackBerry、Chrome、HP Web OS、Windows Phone。此外,Qualcomm也成為微軟次代Windows for ARM所支援的應用處理器供應商之一,顯示新一代的Snapdragon已能滿足行動運算的需求。

 Qualcomm除了已導入市場的第三代雙核Snapdragon,包括MSM8660以及APQ8060外,第四世代的Snapdragon  MSM8960、APQ8064也已經進入產線,預計下週就可以開始供應樣品、正式亮相,年底就能看到終端產品;四核心的 Snapdragon也預計在2012年初開始供應樣品。

雙核心MSM8960是世界首款整合多模3G/LTE數據機的雙核心解決方案,設計目的是為滿足多工運算的智慧型手機與平板電腦需求。這種晶片擁有兩個 可獨立控制的非同步CPU核心,能夠提供最高效率。MSM8960更支援雙通道LP DDR記憶體,内建Adreno 225 GPU,可提供比原本Adreno高出8倍的性能。

四核心APQ8064設計目的則是為滿足下一代運算與娛樂裝置的性能需求,同時將耗電降到最低。APQ8064提供四個可以獨立控制的非同步CPU核 心,以提供最高效率,並首次採用Adreno 320四核心GPU,可提供使用者絕佳的遊戲驗;APQ8064還將提供多種功能,包括支援PC與LPDDR記憶、序列與PCIe介面、以及多個USB插 槽,更可與高通3G與LTE MDMTM數據機與模組無縫整合,讓裝置製造商擁有一個最具彈性與成本效益的平台,以達成所有設計組態需求、縮短產品上市時程,使其成為行動娛樂與運算裝置的最佳解決方案
高通成立全新子公司Qualcomm Atheros

Qualcomm(高通)與Atheros(創銳訊)兩家公司擁有許多共通點,包括創新能力、執行能力以及與台灣夥伴的良好合作關係。Qualcomm加 入Atheros後,不光只擁有智慧手機、平板、消費電子產品等的應用處理器生產能力,更具備強大的無線射頻與網路通訊技術。Qualcomm Atheros(高通創銳訊)資深副總裁暨亞太區總經理鄭建生就Qualcomm Atheros新技術作簡單介紹時指出,Atheros是一家由WiFi起家的通訊技術公司,擁有包括藍牙、GPS、FM、電力線網路(PLC)與光纖等 技術,旗下產品獲得PC前十大廠商的青睞,無線通訊晶片亦被其中八家廠商所採用。Atheros產品橫跨無線區域網路終端、PC平台以及手持終端,並且擁 有從有線到無線的完整的通訊技術,在納入Qualcomm旗下後,依舊會提供滿足這三類需求的技術。Qualcomm Atheros也看好WiFi模組在納入GPS與FM後,在PC市場也能提供行動裝置的LBS服務的市場。

Source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4024/qualcomm-reveals-nextgen-snapdragon-msm8960-28nm-dualcore-5x-performance-improvement

Source: http://www.smartmobix.com.tw/computex_Qualcomm_20110531