Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 800 and 600 series chips, promises huge performance gains

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Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs took the stage at the Las Vegas Convention Center last night to unveil the company's latest chipsets: the Snapdragon 800 and 600 series. The former will appear in “premium” mobile devices in the second half of the year and offer up to a 75% performance boost over current Snapdragon S4 chips, while the 600 for high end devices will be arriving in Q2 with 40% better performance than the S4.

Both new models will be manufactured on a 28 nanometer process, giving them “exceptionally” low power consumption rates, which is always a key point when it comes to smartphones and tablets.

The 800 series includes a quad-core CPU, known as the Krait 400, with each core running at up to 2.3Ghz. It has a new Adreno 330 GPU that's said to offer a 2x graphics performance boost from the previous-gen Adreno 320, support for 2x32bit LPDDR3 RAM at 800MHz (with memory bandwidth of 12.8GB/s), and integrates a 4G LTE modem for data rates of up to 150Mbps as well as the new 802.11ac WiFi standard.

All that adds up to a seriously capable chip. According to Qualcomm, the 800 series will support UltraHD (a.k.a. 4K) playback at 30fps, handle 2K video (or more precisely 2560 x 2048) at 60fps, and deliver the latest 7.1 channel DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus audio standards.

Meanwhile, the 600 series uses a quad-core Krait 300 CPU running at up to 1.9 GHz, the Adreno 320 GPU, and LPDDR3 RAM. It may be a step down from the 800 series but it's still a significant improvement over the already capable S4 Pro, and Qualcomm believes it will give chips like the new Tegra 4, Samsung’s Exynos 5, and Apple's A5 and A5X some serious competition. Between the two new processor families, the company says it's already got 50 different products lined up to use the chips. You can watch the full presentation here.

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