Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon 670 SoC featuring the Hexagon 685 DSP and X12 LTE modem
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For the better part of last year, most mid-range phones were powered by the immensely popular Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC. Although the Snapdragon 660 and the Snapdragon 632 were launched later, they haven't found many takers yet. Qualcomm now hopes to turn the tide with the new Snapdragon 670 Mobile Platform.
The Snapdragon 670 (SD 670) hopes to fill in the gap between the Snapdragon 660 and the Snapdragon 710 — the latter of which is more or less a rehash of older Snapdragon 800-series SoCs with some AI capabilities thrown in. The SD 670 is built on the 10nm LPP process and features a Kryo 360 CPU with 2 Cortex A75 Gold cores that can go up to 2 GHz and 6 Cortex A55 Silver cores that can clock up to 1.7 GHz. The Gold and Silver cores have an L1 cache of 64 KB and 32 KB and an L2 cache of 256 KB and 128 KB respectively along with a shared 1 MB L3 cache. Qualcomm claims a 15% improvement over the Snapdragon 660 without drastically affecting battery life.
The graphics component is powered by the Adreno 615, which Qualcomm says is 25% faster than the Snapdragon 660's Adreno 512. The Adreno 615 can easily power FHD+ displays and supports UHD video playback along with support for Open GL ES 3.2, Open CL 2.0, and Vulkan APIs. The GPU can also aid the DSP in AI and heterogeneous compute workflows.
A noteworthy feature of the new Snapdragon 670 is the presence of the Hexagon 685 DSP and the Spectra 250 ISP. The Hexagon 685 DSP is found in the flagship Snapdragon 845 SoC and is responsible to most of the AI compute capabilities. Other SoCs such as Huawei's HiSilicon Kirin 970 and the Apple A11 Bionic have dedicated neural processing units, which are good implementations but require developers to tap into proprietary APIs. Qualcomm's Hexagon DSP, on the other hand, can work together with the Adreno GPU and the Kryo CPU to collectively form the AI Engine that supports most open source AI/ML frameworks.
The addition of the Spectra 250 ISP, a component of the Snapdragon 710, is also a first for the 600-series bringing pro features such as noise reduction, image stabilization, depth sensing, slow motion capture, and UHD recording at 30 fps to more mid-range devices. Qualcomm says that the Spectra 250 ISP can perform all these functions at a 30% higher efficiency than the Snapdragon 660.
The Snapdragon 670 comes with the usual suite of connectivity options and the built-in X12 LTE modem supports download speeds up to 600 Mbps and upload speeds up to 150 Mbps. The X12 modem can automatically choose the best connection between Wi-Fi and LTE and OEMs can also add support for bridging LTE and Wi-Fi to increase download speeds.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 is expected to be available across offerings from most leading smartphone OEMs later this year.
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