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Snapdragon 400-Series Shrinks to 12nm

July 24, 2018

Author: Mike Demler

Qualcomm is bringing advanced 12nm FinFET technology to its low-cost Snapdragon 400-series. The new smartphone processors increase performance and power efficiency compared with the previous 400-series, which (except for the 450) the company manufactures in an older 28nm LPP process. Along with the new low-cost devices, Qualcomm also announced the Snapdragon 632, a Cortex-A73/Cortex-A53 Big.Little upgrade for the low end of its midrange processor family. All the new Snapdragon chips are sampling now, and the company expects the first smartphones to begin production before the end of the year.

The Snapdragon 439 will replace the two-year-old Snapdragon 430, but OEMs that need faster LTE will stick with the Snapdragon 450. The 439 retains the 430’s X6 modem, as well as the same CPU, GPU, Hexagon 536 DSP, and multimedia subsystems. Qualcomm also developed a new 12nm quad-core chip: the Snapdragon 429, which is pin compatible with the 439. It replaces the 28nm Snapdragon 425, but as with the 439 and 430, the 429 and 425 use the same X6 modem. The 12nm process allows the 429 to run its CPUs 40% faster than the 425’s. The new chip includes an upgrade to a higher-performance Adreno 504 GPU, but the camera, display, Hexagon 536 DSP, and video subsystems are the same as those of its predecessor.

The Snapdragon 632 refreshes the bottom of the 600-series lineup. The company positions it as an upgrade from the Snapdragon 626, which also uses the X9 modem. The two parts are pin compatible. The 632 employs the same 14nm process as the 626, as well as the same Adreno 506 GPU, but the switch from octa-core Cortex-A53s to the A73/A53 combo delivers a big CPU-performance boost.

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