Qualcomm moves to 64-bit with mid-range Snapdragon 410 SoC

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qualcomm, snapdragon, arm, cpu, soc, 64-bit, snapdragon 410, adreno, cortex a53

Yesterday, Qualcomm announced its first 64-bit capable ARM-based system-on-a-chip: the Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916). Destined for mainstream devices, the new SoC makes use of ARM's Cortex-A53 CPU cores, which are the first from the company to use the ARMv8 64-bit architecture, as well as an Adreno 306 GPU.

Qualcomm often makes use of their own custom-made CPU cores in Snapdragon SoCs - the high-end Snadpragon 800, for example, uses Qualcomm's Krait 400 cores rather than ARM Cortex cores - but it appears their 64-bit solution isn't quite ready yet. Nevertheless, the Cortex-A53s present a decent per clock speed increase on the Cortex A5 and A7 that precede it, and we'll be seeing four of them in the Snapdragon 410 clocked at around 1.2 GHz.

The Adreno 306 GPU is a variant of the Adreno 305 seen in the Snapdragon 400, so there likely aren't going to be significant performance improvements here. The SoC also packs one single-channel 64-bit LPDDR2/3 memory interface, a new image signal processor (ISP) that supports 13-megapixel sensors and Category 4 LTE plus DC-HSPA+.

An LTE modem integrated into the Snapdragon 410 is going to be very important going forward, as many mid-range devices (such as the Snapdragon 400-touting Moto G) currently lack the high-speed connectivity option.

With Cortex-A53s at the helm, the SoC is said to be very power efficient, which will help lengthen the ever-strained batteries of smartphones. Qualcomm expects the SoC, built on a 28nm LP process, to begin sampling in the first half of 2014; when devices with the Snapdragon 410 inside come to the market in the second half of 2014, they could retail for under $150.

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