Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 is a top-of-the-line chip that powers phones like the Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro. Qualcomm isn’t quite ready to move on to its next-generation chip design, but it is turbocharging the 855 in upcoming phones. The aptly named 855+ is a Snapdragon 855 with just a little more horsepower.
The 855 included a few notable changes from previous Qualcomm systems-on-a-chip (SoCs), and the 855+ builds on them. The 855 was an octa-core chip just like the 855+ with the traditional split into four high-power and four low-power cores. One of those faster CPU cores was the Prime core with a higher clock speed than the others to improve single-threaded operation. The Snapdragon 855+ is still using the ARM Cortex A76-derived Kryo 485 cores, but the Prime core has been bumped up to 2.96GHz from 2.84GHz in the 855. The clock speed on the other high-power cores remains unchanged at 2.42GHz, and the A55-based slower CPUs are still 1.8GHz.
Qualcomm’s proprietary Adreno GPUs are a bit of a black box, but the Adreno 640 in the 855+ is apparently faster as well. All Qualcomm will say is that it’s 15 percent faster than the 640 in the Snapdragon 855. Presumably, it’s boosted the 585MHz clock speed to something in the upper 600s. The chip also has the same X24 LTE modem as the older 855.
The 855+ will be the company’s preferred 5G chip going forward, but that’s only by virtue of the fact it’s a bit faster than the old 855. The 5G setup isn’t any different — OEMs still need to opt for the separate X50 5G modem, which links to the 855+. The SoC only has LTE capabilities built in, but Qualcomm’s true next-generation mobile processor will almost certainly integrate the X55 modem for LTE and 5G on a single chip. That will save power and make 5G phones cheaper.
Qualcomm says we’ll start seeing phones with the Snapdragon 855+ in the second half of 2019. The first will apparently be the gaming-centric Asus ROG Phone 2, which hasn’t been fully unveiled. That phone will launch on July 23. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 unveiling is on August 7, and it’s likely that phone will sport the 855+ as well. You can expect more “gaming” phones that launch in 2019 to make a big deal out of the overclocked 855+, but the 2020 Qualcomm chip is the one to watch.
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