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So, Is 801 A Snappier-Dragon?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 801: Performance Previewed
By , with contributions by Alex Davies

Right from the outset, we could see that the Snapdragon 801's GPU is faster than its predecessor. Really, though, we have to rely on the low-level GFXBench 3.0 tests to best illustrate the SoC's potential. You see, the pre-production Xperia Z2 tablet we were working with had clear memory and I/O bottlenecks, which we hope will be addressed before the device goes on sale.

Moving forward, it would be nice to see how the 8x74AC Snapdragon 801’s improved 2.5 GHz CPU complex handles the benchmarks. Surely, that would make it one of the fastest SoCs in production.

Speed isn’t what Snapdragon 801 is all about though, at least not as far as we’re concerned. So, why did Qualcomm introduce a revision to an existing SoC ahead of the 805? Snapdragon 801 seems to be Qualcomm responding to market forces. The company is keeping the wolves at bay, so to speak, before introducing its next-generation part destined to battle Apple’s A7 and Nvidia’s Tegra K1 (Denver) in the upcoming 64-bit ARMv8 race.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 805Qualcomm Snapdragon 805

As we stated earlier, when we spoke to Qualcomm about the Snapdragon 80x series, we were told that one of the key drivers for a third revision was DSDA (Multi-SIM), especially needed in China, which utilizes Dual SIM more than any other country. Most locally-produced phones come equipped with two SIM slots, in fact. A lot of Chinese customers purchase data and voice separately, often through two independent resellers, requiring the pair of cards. SoC vendors over there (think MediaTek and AllWinner) already supply products with DSDA, so it stands to reason that Qualcomm wanted to achieve parity. With nearly every high-end Chinese phone sporting a Snapdragon chipset, Qualcomm needed to support a technology like DSDA.

By the same token, eMMC 5.0 support could be a clever way to keep Samsung interested as a strategic partner. Samsung is the single largest producer of NAND flash memory in the world, and the first manufacturer to enable eMMC 5.0-compatible solutions (last year).

As the 64-bit ARMv8 battle looms, it’s smart of Qualcomm to release an SoC that takes note of market forces and appeases key partners, while also pushing performance just high enough to stay ahead of the competition. Call it a stopgap. The Snapdragon 801 is that solution.

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  • 0 Hide
    blackmagnum , March 28, 2014 2:04 AM
    Will this chip go into the next Google Nexus device?
  • 2 Hide
    suture , March 28, 2014 5:00 AM
    hope not, it looks just slightly better than the previous snapdragon 800
  • 3 Hide
    Wisecracker , March 28, 2014 6:36 AM

    A Temash APU and Atom SoCs would make a great cross-platform comparison, here.

    The 'Droid Heads would love to see some Tegra 3/4 action, too.
  • 1 Hide
    MANOFKRYPTONAK , March 28, 2014 7:30 AM
    I really am looking forward to the showdown between the A7/A8, Tegra4/K1. and Intel "what is the name of the chip in the nexus 8?". I hoping to see a worthy $500 upgrade.
  • -1 Hide
    anthony8989 , March 28, 2014 8:06 AM
    Great article - very informative. Sorry if it's off-topic, but the HTC One (M7 2013) uses an APQ8064T. Did Qualcomm change the meaning of the second numeral from Snapdragon 600 to 80x? The HTC One M7 employs a modem yet now the second numeral being 0 indicates no modem. Or does the device substitute another modem off the SoC? Also what does the "T" suffix mean? :) 

    EDIT: I realized APQ also indicates no modem so I'll just assume that they supplied an off-SoC modem for the device. Still would like to know what "T"stands for.
  • 0 Hide
    rohitbaran , March 28, 2014 8:17 AM
    Isn't Tegra K1 (aka Logan) having something else? Project Denver CPU was supposed to be part of Parker SoC as per nVidia's 2013 Tegra roadmap, unless I am missing something.
  • -1 Hide
    edlivian , March 28, 2014 9:29 AM
    So if you already have a device with a snapdragon 800 you should hold off for a real improvement, like snapdragon 1000 or 1k or whatever marketing jibberish they want to name it.
  • 0 Hide
    edlivian , March 28, 2014 9:32 AM
    So if you already have a device with a snapdragon 800 you should hold off for a real improvement, like snapdragon 1000 or 1k or whatever marketing jibberish they want to name it.
  • -1 Hide
    Vistouf , March 28, 2014 10:06 AM
    From Wikipedia :"SKU refers to a stock-keeping unit, a unique identifier for each distinct product and service that can be purchased in business."
  • -1 Hide
    PapaCrazy , March 28, 2014 10:10 AM
    They compared two different manufacturers devices from two generations in order to extrapolate something about the chip? Huh? What about differences in hardware implementation, software, memory, and all the other things that can independently effect performance? Would have been much better to wait and have more comparable devices to test.
  • -2 Hide
    geekweeks , March 28, 2014 10:13 AM
    This is one of the best Processor in Mobile technology , I love this processor lucky to that i bought sony experia m with this processor . Soon I will write review on my following blogs <a href="//www.GeekWeeks.com/">Geekweeks</a> <a href="//www.hditweb.com/">HDITWEB</a> <a href="//www.newsisoft.com/">newsisoft</a>
  • 0 Hide
    Djentleman , March 28, 2014 4:41 PM
    My tegra 4 keeps up quite nicely.
  • -1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , March 29, 2014 1:43 AM
    Why are they still releasing 32-bit chips when Apple already had a 64-bit chip?
  • -1 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , March 29, 2014 11:40 AM
    There is obviously something wrong with the memory subsystem (at least) on that Xperia platform you're using. In no way should the 801 have any regression compared to the 800. Did you contact Sony and ask if there's any known issues that would explain the results you're getting or just WTF is going on in general? As a result of the issue this article's headline should be "Sony's preproduction Xperia platform has issues" or somesuch. As it is, this isn't a real review of the 801.Also, I'm going to harp on this every time I make a comment on this website from now on: this comment system sucks. Badly. You need to find a new solution. Even the previous comment system was miles better.
  • 0 Hide
    Dorian Black , March 29, 2014 5:48 PM
    Quote:
    There is obviously something wrong with the memory subsystem (at least) on that Xperia platform you're using
    Indeed, and it's something we noted right from the first benchmarks we ran. It's even noted in the article - you can see it covered in the AnTuTu and Geekbench sections, specifically and throughout the other benchmarks we ran and analysed. It's clear that tablet had some definite issues with it's memory and I/O subsystems. I think it would've fared substantially better had they been resolved.
  • -1 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , March 29, 2014 8:47 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    There is obviously something wrong with the memory subsystem (at least) on that Xperia platform you're using
    Indeed, and it's something we noted right from the first benchmarks we ran. It's even noted in the article - you can see it covered in the AnTuTu and Geekbench sections, specifically and throughout the other benchmarks we ran and analysed. It's clear that tablet had some definite issues with it's memory and I/O subsystems. I think it would've fared substantially better had they been resolved.
    Yes, I know it was referenced in the article. My point was that the issue which is clearly with the device is substantially affecting the results, and therefore this article doesn't really live up to being a preview of the Snapdragon 801's performance.I recognize that it's not your (the author's) fault, but still. Also, my question still stands: did you guys attempt to get any feedback from Sony about the issue? The possibility of getting a sample that works properly?
  • 1 Hide
    Dorian Black , March 29, 2014 10:08 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    There is obviously something wrong with the memory subsystem (at least) on that Xperia platform you're using
    Indeed, and it's something we noted right from the first benchmarks we ran. It's even noted in the article - you can see it covered in the AnTuTu and Geekbench sections, specifically and throughout the other benchmarks we ran and analysed. It's clear that tablet had some definite issues with it's memory and I/O subsystems. I think it would've fared substantially better had they been resolved.
    Yes, I know it was referenced in the article. My point was that the issue which is clearly with the device is substantially affecting the results, and therefore this article doesn't really live up to being a preview of the Snapdragon 801's performance.I recognize that it's not your (the author's) fault, but still. Also, my question still stands: did you guys attempt to get any feedback from Sony about the issue? The possibility of getting a sample that works properly?
    I'm not sure that's entirely fair - we did prove that the MHz boosted Adreno 330 of 801 is substantially faster in tests where MHz matters - fillrate, for example. In that test it does beat an 800 AB (Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4) device quite soundly. At the time the results were recorded there were no other Snapdragon 801 devices in operation - in fact, the results were take from a Sony Xperia Z2 Tab at a press junket, which explains why it's not a final device. Sometimes we have to take what we can get. Of course, we will be following up on a more detailed review of a final device as soon as we can. Also, we'll be reviewing another Snapdragon 801 device very soon. Can't say much more. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    becherovka , March 30, 2014 1:50 AM
    LG G3 will be Snapdragon 805, so if this is the phone the new nexus is taken from then.. It looks like Lg might get a third go at Nexus.
  • 0 Hide
    Treynolds416 , March 31, 2014 7:05 AM
    There's a typo at the end of the second to last paragraph on the second article page. You wrote "801 9874AC" when I think you meant "801 8974AC".
  • 0 Hide
    megadelayed , March 31, 2014 9:35 AM
    Note 3 does not have a 8974AB right?im sure the Note 3 uses a 8974AA as the GPU clock in definately 450mhz
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