Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: Everything we know so far

    Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 was just introduced in November 2022, but research on its replacement is already beginning. Here’s everything we know so far about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, including confirmed details on the Snapdragon X75 5G modem and the most recent Arm CPU cores.

    When will the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 be released?

    We don’t have an official release date for the next processor yet, but Qualcomm has maintained a very consistent release schedule in recent years, so we believe the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 will be available in November or December 2023.

    This would be consistent with the Snapdragon 8 mobile chips, which all debuted around the same time:

    We haven’t heard any information that this timeline has been thrown off, so we’re still on track for a winter release this year.

    On Weibo in February, leaker Digital Chat Station stated that the 8 Gen 3 will be released earlier than the 8 Gen 2, i.e. before November. If this is the case, Qualcomm won’t have much time to deploy the anticipated 8+ Gen 2 processor for its half-year chipset upgrade, like it did in May 2022 with the 8+ Gen 1.

    One may argue that there are too many chips.

    What new features will we see in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3?

    We don’t know for certain what to anticipate from the 8 Gen 3 chipset, but based on component launches and a few leaks, we believe we have a fair understanding of a few details.

    3nm Arm CPUs

    Arm has introduced its newest CPUs, the first developed for a 3nm technology, which are nearly expected to emerge in the 8 Gen 3.

    The Cortex-X4 is the most crucial, generating 15% more power than the previous generation while improving power efficiency by up to 40%. The A720 and A520 join it in the next generation, with each promising a 20% increase in efficiency year on year.

    Qualcomm outfitted its Kryo CPU architecture in the 8 Gen 2 with a 1+4+3 layout, employing one X3, two A715 and A710 cores, and a pair of A510 efficiency cores.

    If the trend continues, the 8 Gen 3 should be lead by the Cortex-X4 prime core, followed by four A720 cores or a combination of them and A715 units, and lastly finished off by three of the new A520 processors.

    However, we’ve heard differently. Digital Chat Station, a typically reputable source, revealed in April that the 8 Gen 3 will feature a new 1+5+2 design, headed by an X4 clocked at 3.7GHz (up from 3.2GHz in the 8 Gen 2’s X3). This would need the use of even more performance cores, most likely the A720, and fewer efficiency units.

    However, the leaker in that same story indicated that Qualcomm will remain with a 4nm process – and since we know that the new Arm chips are meant for 3nm manufacture, it doesn’t seem correct, putting doubt on the rest of the assertions as well. However, a 3nm CPU incorporated in a chipset with additional 4nm components is possible.

    Nonetheless, there has been considerable conjecture concerning the transition to a 3nm technique. Samsung was the first to attain this scale, however it was previously stated that it only able to produce a yield of 20% per wafer, which is plainly inefficient and would result in higher processor pricing. Qualcomm is said to have transferred production to Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC, which has managed a much higher 75-80% return.

    However, according to GSMArena, Samsung’s productivity surged to roughly 60-70% after the Korean conglomerate joined with US firm Silicon Frontline Technology.

    All of this has led to numerous claims claiming that production will be handled entirely by TSMC or a mix of the two. Only time will tell who gets to design the next Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor.

    So, what would a 3nm technology deliver that is worth all of this trouble? According to GizChina, the new technique should give greater performance as well as a significant 35% gain in energy efficiency, with clear benefits for battery life.

    Adreno 750 GPU

    We know little about the GPU in the 8 Gen 3. According to Digital Chat Station, it will be dubbed the Adreno 750, although there is nothing more known about it.

    Arm has introduced the GPUs that will accompany its next CPUs, with the flagship being the Immortalis-G720, which has 15% better performance than its predecessor. However, Qualcomm has generally created its own GPUs rather than relying on Arm’s Mali and Immortalis architectures, thus this is unlikely to be seen in the next Snapdragon.

    Snapdragon X75 5G modem

    The formal unveiling of the Snapdragon X75, Qualcomm’s newest 5G modem, is a huge hint that satellite connection will be included on the 8 Gen 3 – though this is far from guaranteed.

    The X75, which will be announced in February 2023, is the latest next-generation 5G modem component that Qualcomm often announces around this time of year in advance of its flagship chipsets. The X70 was released in February 2022 and ended up in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU in November, implying that the X75 will follow suit.

    According to Qualcomm, the X75 is the world’s first 5G Advanced-ready modem-RF system. In other words, its transceiver can handle both mmWave and sub-6 band 5G, preparing it for the expansion of 5G networks that employ both frequencies.

    The business argues that this design can result in considerable cost and power savings, which smartphone manufacturers are eager to capitalize on.

    The X75 is also said to have 2.5x quicker AI processing than the X70, as well as dual SIM dual active technology that allows for two simultaneous 5G internet connections.

    It also appears that the processor would contain compatibility for Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Satellite technology, which was introduced at CES 2023, allowing emergency communications without a typical mobile connection – and, eventually, basic two-way messaging. This is already included in the 8 Gen 2 and has been made accessible to manufacturers for inclusion in future devices, so it is likely that it will feature in the next generation as well.

    Which phones will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3?

    Obviously, with the release date being a long way off, we don’t have any definite news of which phones will use the Gen 3 processor, but based on historical experience, we can make a few educated guesses.

    The Vivo X90 Pro+, Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro, and OnePlus 11 were among the first devices to hit the market in the preceding generation. We’re confident that the phones’ successors will be scrambling to include the new silicon in their flagships for 2024.

    As with other years, the Qualcomm chip should appear in a slew of additional flagships, including those from Samsung, Motorola, and Oppo.

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