This post was most recently updated on July 20th, 2019
Qualcomm officially announced the launch of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855Plus mobile platform on July 15th. Just by the name, we can accurately say this is an upgrade product of Snapdragon 855. Similar to the relationship between Snapdragon 821 and Snapdragon 820, Snapdragon 855 Plus will be Speed up on the basis of 855. According to the official Snapdragon 855 Plus is designed to provide enhanced performance and support for multi-gigabit 5G, gaming, AI and XR experiences. this post will explore in detail why Qualcomm suddenly released 855+
Why Qualcomm Suddenly Released 855+: Differences Between Xiaolong 855 and Xiaolong 855 Plus?
Superficial differences between Spandragon 855 and 855 plus
- First of all, in the process technology of the two mobile platforms, both use TSMC’s 7nm process technology. The Snapdragon 855 adopts the latest Kryo 485 architecture and eight-core design (1+3+4). The CPU clock speed is 2.84GHz, 2.42GHz and 1.8GHz respectively.
- In addition, the Snapdragon 855 integrates the Adreno 640, including utilization. The Snapdragon X50 5G modem can support 5G networks.
- The Snapdragon 855 Plus adopts an upgraded version of the Kryo 485 architecture. The CPU’s highest frequency is 2.84GHz and the speed is increased by 4%. The same is the Adreno 640 GPU, but the frequency is increased from 585MHz to 672MHz, an increase of 15%. The Snapdragon 855 Plus is built-in. Baseband or Snapdragon X24 standard, the highest support for LTE Cat.20, the maximum download speed of 2Gbps, still supports the external Snapdragon X50 5G baseband.
- So in a nutshell, the Snapdragon 855Plus only boosts the Kryo 485 CPU’s super core frequency and Adreno 640 GPU frequency and does not upgrade on the 5G modem.
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Major Differences Between Snapdragon 855 and 855 Plus
The biggest improvement performance of the Snapdragon 855Plus is in terms of games. With the support of Vulkan 1.1 graphics driver, Snapdragon Elite Gaming can increase the energy efficiency by 20% compared with Open GL ES.
In addition, Snapdragon Elite Gaming also supports software enhancements such as system-level game cradle optimization, game fast load optimization and game anti-cheat extensions. Also, in terms of AI, Qualcomm’s fourth-generation multi-core artificial intelligence engine AI Engine can support more than 7 trillion calculations per second and can provide an experience close to the true 5G era in areas such as VR and AR.
Handles 5G better but Not for 5G deployment
As mentioned above, the Xiaolong 855PLus and the Xiaolong 855 use the same 5G baseband, the baseband adopts the Xiaolong X24 standard and the external Snapdragon X50 5G baseband. This shows that the Snapdragon 855PLus supports 5G, but it is not the most suitable SoC in the 5G era.
The Snapdragon X50 5G is the baseband released by Qualcomm in 2016. It is based on the 10nm process and supports the 6GHz and millimeter, wavebands. However, the X50 5G does not support the SA network (independent network group) and only supports the NSA network.
Snapdragon 855Plus doesn’t support SA Network
Both NSA and SA are the main methods of 5G active networking. The NSA is a 5G network that is deployed in the current 4G base station and network architecture. Therefore, the construction speed of the NSA network group is very fast.
The 5G network coverage can be realized by directly installing the 5G base station with the 4G base station, that is, the 5G network is deployed on the shoulder of the giant, and the money and time cost when compared with the SA network group. low.
However, although the NSA network architecture is on the shoulders of giants, 5G deployment is implemented on 4G infrastructure equipment, but it does not support all the new features of 5G ultra-low latency, that is, only speed without low latency.
In the current practical applications such as autonomous driving, AR, far super surgery, etc., it is not very suitable, and because it is necessary to connect 4G and 5G networks at the same time, the terminal device consumes a large amount of power. Therefore, it is only used as a transitional application to meet the current development status of 5G, but it is not a long-term solution.
The SA network is called an independent network. In the process of 5G deployment, the 5G base station and the backend 5G network need to be rebuilt to fully realize all the features and functions of the 5G network. Both the base station and the infrastructure need to be rebuilt, so the construction cost is quite high, but it can play all the features of 5G in the future.
Moreover, China Mobile has made it clear that starting from January 1, 2020, NSA network group mobile phones will no longer be supported, and all 5G terminal products must have SA network groups. Qualcomm released the G-baseband Xiaolong X55 that supports the SA network group in 2018. The real commercial needs will wait until 2020.
Therefore, compared with Huawei’s Baron 5000 5G baseband, where both the NSA network group and the SA network are supported. The Xiaolong X50 5G is obviously only a transition. However, in the future, some operators at home and abroad will adopt the NSA and SA networking coexistence, and then gradually over-provision to the SA network.
What is then the Significance of the Snapdragon 855Plus?
Snapdragon 855Plus is only to provide incomplete experience before the real 5G chip debuts. After the NSA network is eliminated, the 5G terminal of the NSA will be laid off.
When the SA network group fully occupies the high ground, the 5G mobile phone of the NSA network group before the release of the operator can still use the 5G network.
Therefore, for game enthusiasts who want to keep up with the 5G trend and appreciate the 5G charm in advance, the Snapdragon 855 Plus is the most worthwhile SoC in the transition phase. For operators, it is a very wise choice to wait until the 5G terminal has fully exploded and withdraw funds from 2020 and then fully use the SA network group.
This Snapdragon 855Plus only upgrades the double U of the Snapdragon 855. However, for many first-line mobile phone brands, such as Xiaomi, vivo, OPPO, and OnePlus, brands will follow up with relevant strategies. So in the coming year, we may see a lot of brands playing games, AI and XR experience in mobile terminals.
Of course, a handful of brands such as Huawei, Samsung, and Apple that have chip self-research capabilities may also be affected by the Snapdragon 855Plus chip, especially Huawei’s self-developed Kirin processor.