Snapdragon 810 May Face Delays, But Qualcomm Denies Rumors Are True

A few days ago, some Korean sources from the chip industry said that the Snapdragon 810 may be facing some technical issues, which could lead to at least some smartphone flagships being delayed next year. According to Qualcomm, everything is working as scheduled, and the Snapdragon 810 will still be able to ship in 2015H1.

Specifically, the Korean statement said:

“Qualcomm is faced with hard-to-solve problems. The Snapdragon 810 overheats when it reaches a specific voltage. It also slows down owing to problems with the RAM controller connected to the AP. In addition, there is an error in the driver of the Adreno 430 GPU."

The Snapdragon 810 is Qualcomm's first high-end CPU to feature 64-bit ARMv8 cores after Apple announced its first ARMv8 CPU more than a year ago. It's also the first time the company issued stock CPU IP from ARM in one of its high-end processors. Until now, Qualcomm has been using custom CPU cores based on the ARM instruction set.

The CPU will come in an eight-core big.LITTLE configuration, just like Samsung's previous chips, as well as its next-gen Exynos 7 Octa. The problems this SoC is facing seem to be manifold. One is that it overheats, which could be because Qualcomm is trying to raise the clock speeds too much for Cortex A57 cores, even for a 20 nm process.

Another problem seems to be with the RAM controller. It looks like Snapdragon 810 will be using LPDDR4, a next generation of low-power RAM, and the novelty of it could be why Qualcomm is struggling with this type of memory.

Finally, the third problem, according to the source, seems to be with the GPU driver. Even if that's a real issue, though, Qualcomm should have enough time to fix this in the next few months. Adreno 430 shouldn't be much different than the Adreno 420 in the Snapdragon 805.

Qualcomm has denied that any of these rumors are true in a short but clear statement to Tom's Hardware:

"Snapdragon 810 remains on track and we expect commercial devices to be available in 1H 2015."

If the Snapdragon 810 does indeed have some hard to fix issues by the time it's supposed to be out in several flagship devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC "Hima", Sony Xperia Z4, LG G4 and others, then most of these devices should have trouble shipping on time.

The only one that may be able to ship without major obstacles could be the Galaxy S6. Samsung's phone should come with the company's own Exynos processor anyway, at least internationally. The other companies' flagships won't have the same opportunity.

On the other hand, if what Qualcomm said is true and the Snapdragon 810 is still going to arrive as scheduled, then we should be seeing devices such as the HTC Hima or Sony Xperia Z4 ship with it around mid-spring next year.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • Bloob
    No idea if it's true or not, but I'm not going to trust any Korean sources after all that Samsung has done.
  • Pavanl
    The trouble with the 810 is, that it is both a die shrink and a new architecture. In Intel parlance, it is both a tick and a tock. Quite a big change, a level at which the likes of Intel shies away from. Next, note how the estimated release is 1H 2015. Well 6 months is a long long time. First week Jan and last week May - big difference. Ultimately, the no of bugs which can be bourne by the user, that is the question. Of course the promise of 20nm and better integration offers better battery life on paper, worth holding out for. But random heating up, when software is not bug free, will be a concern which negates the positives. 64 bit is a new architecture, which means bugs will be unforseen.