QUALCOMM HAS ANNOUNCED its next-generation Adreno GPU architecture, promising major improvements to performance, power efficiency and user experience in its upcoming Snapdragon processors.
The first two GPUs available on the new architecture, the Adreno 530 and Adreno 510, will be available integrated with the forthcoming Snapdragon 820 and Snapdragon 620/618 processors, Qualcomm said, and are claimed to "maximise battery life".
The new GPUs are the successors to the Adreno 4xx family and are claimed to be the "highest-performance GPU ever designed by Qualcomm", providing 40 percent lower power consumption and 40 percent faster performance for graphics and GPGPU compute when compared with the Adreno 430.
They will also support OpenGL ES 3.1+ Android Extension Pack, Renderscript, as well as the new OpenCL 2.0 and Vulkan APIs.
Other features include support for 64-bit virtual addressing, allowing shared virtual memory and efficient co-processing with 64 bit CPUs, along with improved fine-grain power management, and new rendering, compositing and compression techniques to enable higher performance at lower power consumption and reduced DRAM bandwidth.
The chip company also announced a new 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra image signal processing (ISP) unit, which will also debut in the Snapdragon 820. It is designed to support DSLR-quality photography and enhanced computer vision, Qualcomm said.
This will bring better camera and imaging technology to upcoming Android devices, Qualcomm said, such as more natural skin tones via 14-bit dual ISP units supporting up to three simultaneous cameras - for example, one facing the user, and two rear facing - and up to 25MP at 30 frames per-second with zero shutter lag.
Qualcomm VP of product management Tim Leland said: "Qualcomm Spectra ISP, together with our Adreno 5xx-class GPU, brings an entirely new level of imaging to smartphones, and is designed to allow Snapdragon-powered devices to capture ultra-clear, vivid photos and videos regardless of motion and lighting conditions and display them with the colour accuracy that nature intended."
Devices based on Snapdragon 820 that feature the new GPU and ISP are expected to be available in the first half of next year.
The chip was expected to be officially unveiled later this month, but an analyst called Pan Jiutang let the cat out of the bag, posting some slides on Weibo on Wednesday that revealed pretty detailed specifications.
The slides might not be 100 percent legit, but are in line with many other rumours circulating at the moment, and most likely accurate. It shows that the Snapdragon 820 sports the newer Hydra CPU which is claimed to be 35 percent faster than Qualcomm's current 810 processor.
This better use of power is a result of the chip's new 14nm manufacturing process, which is much smaller than with the 20nm Snapdragon 810. µ
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