Question without notice: What size process did the first Qualcomm Snapdragon, the S1 chip, use? Back in 2007?
Next question: In 2021, 14 years later, how good will the Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 be, if it’s a 5nm process?
Firing up the Snapdragon: The Snapdragon 875, according to reports now made on a 5nm process, should be powering flagship smartphones from January. The 875 will see the first process shrink after two generations (Snapdragon 855 and 865) on TSMC’s 7nm node, and the shift to 5nm is not a small shift. It may be one of the better jumps in power and efficiency in years.
Add to the significance is the reported shift from arguably the world’s best fab at TSMC. Instead, multiple reports indicate the next Snapdragon will be manufactured by Samsung Electronics, at a 5nm process.
Key point: Samsung will also be making its own 5nm Exynos chipsets, under a radical new approach. After disappointing performances from uncompetitive Exynos chipsets, Samsung cut its losses, dropping out custom designs in favor of Arm’s off-the-shelf Cortex IP. And, Samsung is partnering with AMD for Exynos graphics, too, licensing the RDNA graphics microarchitecture. We may see the first fruits from these new partnerships in 2021.
So while consolidation is bad for wider industry competition, flagships in 2021 using the latest Snapdragon and Exynos silicon are exciting, because the 5nm process looks to deliver both a boost to energy efficiency, and silicon area density. More density means more transistors and space to add more useful elements.
We’re getting a sneak peek at what might be courtesy of two chips already on the 5nm process: the Apple A14 Bionic (made by TMSC), in the iPhone 12 series and the iPad Air 2020, and Huawei’s Kirin 9000 chipset (also by TSMC), released in the Huawei Mate 40 series.
My colleague Rob Triggs broke down what we know about the Apple 14 Bionic, including benchmarks. Apple used the increase in silicon density to boost CPU and memory capabilities but left the GPU performance roughly the same. Still, it’s the fastest chip on the block right now. But the Snapdragon line hasn’t reach 5nm.
Over on Huawei’s Kirin 9000, my colleagues haven’t completed all benchmarks of this chip to fully reveal all that we’re seeing. However, the Mate 40 Pro did outperform the Snapdragon 865 in all CPU benchmarks, even if the GPU fell short; a Huawei/Kirin issue for some years.
Perhaps more important is efficiency. Some super early data that isn’t yet fact-checked suggests at least double-digit gains in power efficiency for the Kirin 9000, thanks to the 5nm process.
Nokia TVs? This caught the eye of many, but sorry to say I have some bad news. Read on!
Plus, new drones, Google’s Pixel quality control questioned again, and Apple’s event announcement. It’s been a long week, but we’ve been keeping track.
The busy season continues and the first major reviews you won’t want to miss are the Xbox Series X|S reviews that came out, followed on the next day by Sony PlayStation 5 reviews.
C. Scott Brown hits it with the best opinion read of the week — as a long-time OnePlus fan, what does he personally think of the OnePlus 8T?
This is a great quote: “Ultimately, the OnePlus 8T felt like a lateral move as far as specs and a downgrade as far as design. When I think about the fact that I paid $749 for the top-of-the-line 7 Pro in May 2019, and the OnePlus 8T costs the same in October 2020, it makes my head spin.”
Check it out, it’s a nice insight into the problems facing OnePlus in its current lineup.
If you’re shopping for tech right now, check out these popular deals — and keep out an eye out each day, we saw some great one-day-only deals this week:
This month, we’re giving away three prize packs! Enter the November giveaway for your chance to win.
That’s it, folks! We’ll have more top stories for you next week. To stay up to date on all things Android Authority in the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our newsletters at the link below.
HiSilicon, Qualcomm Snapdragon, Exynos, Huawei, 5 nm process
World news – THAT – The Weekly Authority: The 5nm chipset war of 2021 is going to be great