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TL;DR

Snapdragon 8 GEN 4 Performance, Leaks & Updates

  • Release Date: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 will debut at the Snapdragon Summit in Maui, Hawaii on October 21-23, 2024.
  • Exclusive Use: Xiaomi will get the first dibs on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 for its Xiaomi 15 series.
  • Performance: New Oryon CPU architecture promises a significant leap in performance.
  • GPU: Adreno GPU shows a 43% performance increase over the previous generation.
  • 3nm Process: Qualcomm is using TSMC’s 3nm process node for better performance and efficiency.
  • Competition: MediaTek’s Dimensity 9400 may outperform Qualcomm, and Apple’s A18 is expected to set new benchmarks.
  • Price Impact: Flagship phones with Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 are likely to be more expensive due to increased R&D costs.



Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 GEN 4 is causing quite a stir of late, putting the fear of god into many Android phone makers. There’s good bits, of course, like desktop-grade performance. But there’s also some pretty massive downsides too – like a 30% price hike

Performance is one thing but if it comes at an exorbitant cost – and, let’s me real: a 30% price increase year-on-year is pretty insane – then it places phone makers like Samsung and OnePlus in a tricky spot. You have to cover that extra cost which usually means higher prices for your hardware. 

It’s a real catch 22 situation: everybody wants more power and more features but no one like paying for it. The Snapdragon 8 GEN 4 is a significant update too, so stick around until the end because we’re going to do a deep-dive on all of its new features and highlight all the changes it’ll be bringing to Android phones in 2025…

Release Date: Mark Your Calendars

Circle October 21-23, 2024, on your calendar. That’s when Qualcomm will host its annual Snapdragon Summit in Maui, Hawaii, where the 8 Gen 4 is expected to make its grand debut.

Expect to see this chip powering flagship phones from the likes of Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Samsung shortly after. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 6 will not use this chip, though, because it is launching before October; instead, it will use Qualcomm’s outgoing Gen 3 platform.

Leaks claim that Xiaomi has snagged exclusive first dibs on the Snapdragon 8 GEN 4 for its incoming Xiaomi 15 series of smartphones. Apparently, the first phones to run Qualcomm’s new chip will be Xiaomi’s next-gen flagship phones. How this exclusivity deal works remains to be seen – I’d guess it just has the lion’s share of the initial supply locked down. 

As we move towards the end of the year and into 2025, we can expect Samsung and OnePlus to issue updates with Snapdragon 8 GEN 4 chips inside them. Unless, of course, the price is too steep and Android brands start cutting deals with MediaTek. Stranger things have happened before (especially when money is involved).

Qualcomm’s New Oryon CPU Architecture

The headline feature of the 8 Gen 4 is undoubtedly its new Oryon CPU cores. Designed by ex-Apple engineers and acquired by Qualcomm through its purchase of Nuvia, these custom ARM-based cores promise a significant leap in performance.

“Snapdragon X Elite represents a dramatic leap in innovation for computing as we deliver our new, custom Qualcomm Oryon CPU for super-charged performance that will delightconsumers with incredible power efficiency and take their creativity and productivity to the nextlevel,” said Kedar Kondap, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Compute & Gaming, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Powerful on-device AI experiences will enable seamless multitasking and new intuitive user experiences, empowering consumers and businesses alike to create and accomplish more.”

Qualcomm

Early benchmarks suggest multi-core scores exceeding 10,000 points on Geekbench – a figure that would put it in the same league as some desktop processors.

This is why the CPU is also being used in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Elite, a platform designed exclusively for laptops and desktops.

However, this power comes with a caveat. Initial tests of Oryon cores in PC chips have shown that while they excel at 3.4GHz, pushing them to 3.8GHz or beyond leads to throttling and increased power consumption.

New chip designs always throw up loads of issues with over-heating and, in some cases, wonky performance. This means any new phone running this chip is likely to get a series of updates almost immediately to patch any gremlins. This is always the way though, early adopters are used to this kind of thing. 

GPU: Adreno Levels Up

The 8 Gen 4’s Adreno GPU is no slouch either. Leaked benchmarks indicate a 43% year-on-year performance increase over the 8 Gen 3. To put that in perspective, demanding games like Genshin Impact are reported to run smoothly at 1080p resolution. Mobile gamers, rejoice.

Qualcomm is Using TSMC’s 3nm Process Node For The GEN 4 – Here’s Why That Matters…

Qualcomm is making the jump to TSMC’s 3nm process node with the 8 Gen 4. This more advanced fabrication process should allow for better performance within the tight power and thermal constraints of a smartphone.

Don’t know what 3nm process node means? Allow me to explain:

Imagine you’re building tiny LEGO structures. The smaller the LEGO bricks, the more details you can add to your structure in the same amount of space.

In computer chip manufacturing, the “process node” is like the size of these LEGO bricks. The “3nm” (nanometer) refers to how small the components on the chip are.

Here’s why it matters:

  1. Smaller is better: Smaller components mean more can fit on a chip, making it more powerful.
  2. Energy efficiency: Smaller parts use less electricity, so your device’s battery lasts longer.
  3. Speed: Electricity doesn’t have to travel as far between components, making the chip faster.
  4. Cost (eventually): While initially expensive to develop, smaller processes can lead to cheaper chips in the long run.

So, when you hear “3nm process node,” think of it as using incredibly tiny building blocks to create more powerful, efficient, and potentially cheaper computer chips.

However, this cutting-edge tech comes at a cost – literally. The price will come down eventually, once the technology becomes standard. But the R&D costs of doing it in the first place have to go somewhere, and the guys that pick up that tab are TSMC’s customers: phone companies.

Expect the price of flagship phones to spike massively in 2025.

The Competition: A Three-Horse Race

While the 8 Gen 4 looks impressive, it’s not without competition. MediaTek’s upcoming Dimensity 9400 is rumored to outperform Qualcomm’s offering in multi-core tests.

And if MediaTek can outdo Qualcomm with its pricing then it might pick up a lot more customers in 2025. If the Snapdragon 8 GEN 4 gets a 30% price increase, plenty of phone brands are going to start looking elsewhere for their chipsets – 30% is a massive adjustment. Hell, even Samsung is said to be considering it for its Galaxy S25 range.

If your entire business model is built around making affordable flagship phones – a la OnePlus – the GEN 4 kind of makes that impossible. With something like MediaTek’s new Dimensity platform, which has been shown to be a strong performer, comes in orders of magnitude cheaper, I’d expect plenty of phone companies to jump ship to MediaTek in 2025

Meanwhile, Apple’s custom silicon continues to set the bar for mobile performance, and the A18 CPU is said to be bonkers-good. And that’s based on comparisons to Apple’s A17 which was already insanely potent.

What This Means for Your Next Phone

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 promises to bring desktop-class performance to your pocket. Expect faster app launches, smoother multitasking, and more console-quality gaming experiences.

However, this power won’t come cheap. Flagship phones sporting this chip are likely to command premium prices.

Moreover, the first wave of 8 Gen 4 phones might face some teething issues as manufacturers work to optimize the new architecture. Early adopters should be prepared for potential software updates to iron out any kinks.

The Bottom Line

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 represents a significant leap forward in mobile computing power. Its custom Oryon cores and advanced GPU promise performance that blurs the line between phones and laptops.

Qualcomm is trying its hardest to cement itself as the de facto chip maker not just for phones but for PCs and laptops going forwards. The new CPU, the advancements in the fabrication process, the built in AI capabilities – it all translates to more useful phones but, at least initially, there will be a major cost associated with it. 

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why phones – notably Android-powered flagship phones – will almost certainly get more expensive in 2025. 

There’s also the potential for “issues” with Qualcomm’s new silicon; new architecture is always a little bit frisky. If you start hearing reports of overheating phones in 2025, you’ll now know why.

The real test will be how well Qualcomm and phone manufacturers can harness this power within the thermal and battery constraints of a smartphone.

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