Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: Everything You Need to Know

Qualcomm has finally unveiled its flagship mobile chipset, Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, at the annual Snapdragon Summit 2023. This chip will power most top-tier Android smartphones in 2024. But has the chipmaker done anything new with the Snapdragon 8? Gen 3? Are we finally going to experience the power of Nuvia-designed cores on Android smartphones? To find answers to all these questions, let’s go through everything we know about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Specifications

CPU Octa core, Kryo CPU
CPU cores 1x 3.3 GHz (Cortex-X4)
3x 3.2 GHz (Cortex-A720)
2x 3.0 GHz (Cortex-A720)
2x 2.3 GHz (Cortex-A520)
Process technology TSMC’s 4nm process
GPU New Adreno GPU
Unreal Engine Global Illumination
Memory support LPDDR5X, up to 4.8 GHz
Machine learning and AI New Hexagon AI engine
Generates up to 20 tokens per second
Run AI models on the device
IS P New cognitive ISP
Camera capabilities Semantic segmentation up to 12 layers
Dual camera experience
Dolby HDR recording
Video capabilities Night vision for dark scenes
Modem Snapdragon X75 5G modem
Up to 10 Gbps peak download
Up to 3.5 Gbps peak upload
Wi-Fi support WiFi 7
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.4
LE audio
aptX lossless
Others AV1 Codec support
NavIC support
Snapdragon seamless

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: CPU

Let’s talk about the CPU first. Qualcomm has gone for a traditional octa-core design and packaging Cryo-nuclei on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. It means that Android smartphones this year won’t use the newer Nuvia-designed Oryon cores available on the Snapdragon X Elite. However, the company has used the latest ARM cores on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. The chip is also fabricated on TSMC’s 4nm process node.

Snapdragon 8 gen 3 CPU cluster design

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 has a single core core, the Cortex-X4 with a maximum clock speed of 3.3 GHz, along with 3x Cortex-A720 cores clocked at 3.2 GHz and 2x Cortex-A720 cores clocked slightly lower at 3.0 GHz. Finally, we have 2x Cortex-A520 cores clocked at 2.3GHz. This time, Qualcomm has surprisingly used the performance cores, the Cortex-A720 on two different frequencies – 3.2GHz and 3.0GHz, which has not been seen before. It means that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 will likely perform better in multi-core performance.

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For the 8 Gen 3, the CPU core cluster design is 1+(3+2)+2, and Qualcomm has completely dropped support for 32-bit architecture. According to the company, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 brings around 30% performance improvement and is 20% more efficient than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is significant

Overall, I’d say the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3’s CPU is powerful enough and is a significant upgrade over the 8 Gen 2. Of course, it doesn’t come close to Apple’s latest A-series chips when it comes to single-core tasks, but hopefully Qualcomm can take the lead on that front with Nuvia cores next year too.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: Geekbench score (leaked)

In a leaked Geekbench 6 score of Xiaomi 14, that is launching on October 26 and will be the first phone to be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, the single-core score stands at 2207 and the multi-core score goes up to a whopping 7494 points. We’ll have to wait for more test results to confirm these numbers, but yes, the multi-core score seems promising.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: Adreno GPU

In the GPU department, the Adreno 740 GPU on last year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 had already set the benchmark as the best mobile GPU in the entire ecosystem. And this year, Qualcomm will once again redefine GPU performance and efficiency with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. It won’t call the new GPU Adreno 750, but will simply call it a new Adreno GPU.

unreal engine 5 lumen system on snapdragon 8 gen 3

The new Adreno GPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 provides 25% faster performance and 25% better energy efficiency. The GPU appears to be running at 903MHz as before, so the efficiency improvement is notable. Apart from that, the new Adreno GPU offers support for 240FPS gaming for 240Hz displays. It also upgraded the Adreno Frame Motion Engine to 2.0 (AFME 2.0). generate frames in real time from 60FPS to 120FPS.

Qualcomm already introduced support for HW-accelerated Ray Tracing last year. And now, to make the gaming experience even more visually appealing, support has been added for the Unreal Engine 5 Lumen System with Global Illumination. This makes the light reflections realistic and accurate, identical to console-level graphics. In summary, the new Adreno GPU on the SD 8 Gen 3 has seen a nice improvement in both performance and efficiency and we can’t wait to test it out.

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Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: AI and ML

As touted by Qualcomm, this year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is all about AI. The chipmaker has partnered with Meta to bring a private on-device AI experience to users using the Llama 2 model. Users can run AI models locally on their latest 8 Gen 3 devices. You can run 3B to 13B models locally on Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Qualcomm confirms. While running a 7B Llama 2 model, so can the new Hexagon AI Engine generate up to 20 tokens per second.

The fastest LPDDR5X memory is always available to the NPU to load models and run them seamlessly on the device. The new Hexagon AI Engine is too 98% faster and 40% more efficient than the NPU on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It can generate images in less than 1 second, which is remarkable for a smartphone SoC.

hexagon NPU on the snapdragon 8 gen 3

Not just Meta’s Llama 2, you can also use more than 20 AI models optimized for Qualcomm’s AI stack. It can also run OpenAI’s Whisper model for voice support. Qualcomm touts Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 as the first mobile SoC to support multi-modality. With the CPU, NPU, GPU, LPDDR5X memory and Qualcomm Sensing Hub working together, it can also process text, images and speech.

Qualcomm says the Hexagon NPU can be used to deliver a personalized AI experience on the device. For example, you can ask the AI ​​assistant to plan a trip, and it can use data from your location, sensors, age, etc. and create a plan that suits you.

Overall, I think the ability to run AI models on devices is a huge step in making the entire AI experience private and personalized. After the GPU, the Hexagon AI Engine on the 8 Gen 3 appears to be the most powerful co-processor.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: ISP

The ISP on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 has also received a massive upgrade, thanks to the AI ​​units working in tandem with the ISP. Qualcomm introduced the triple-ISP architecture last year and has now taken the cognitive ISP architecture to the next level. It can now run in real time semantic segmentation up to 12 layers to isolate different parts of the images and apply colors accordingly.

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Not only that, the new ISP can also remove objects from captured videos, which is absolutely amazing. Moreover, it can expand captured photos using AI on your device and also change the backgrounds into images. The best part about this is that the ISP can manage small neural networks in real time and process darker videos to make them brighter and more color accurate without any noise. Qualcomm calls it Night vision for video recording. You process videos up to 4K 30FPS.

ISP features on the snapdragon 8 gen 3

In addition, the ISP can also handle two cameras at the same time and brings something that is a “Vlogger vision“. You can use both the front and back cameras to create vlogs with great ease. Finally, it also supports Dolby HDR recording, which has more than 1 billion color shades and supports a color depth of 10 bits. JPEG can only handle 16.7 million color tones.

And in this age of AI, Qualcomm is making the right move maintaining transparency and authenticity for photos taken on its mobile platform. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is C2PA compatible and can assign hardware metadata information if the image has been manipulated using AI tools.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: Connectivity and other features

With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Qualcomm uses the latest version Snapdragon X75 5G modem. It can deliver download speeds of 10 Gbps and upload speeds of 3.5 Gbps. You also get Wi-Fi 7 support with speeds of up to 5.8Gbps and supports Bluetooth 5.4 and LE. Qualcomm has also introduced Snapdragon Seamless, which would work with PC chips like Snapdragon X Elite for seamless file sharing, screen mirroring, etc. between Android and Windows laptops.

So that’s all you need to know about Qualcomm’s latest mobile chipset for Android smartphones. It’s a very powerful chip, but it lags behind single-threaded CPU workloads when compared to Apple’s A-series chips. In addition, the GPU, NPU, ISP and other aspects have seen great improvements with impressive power efficiency. Now it depends on OEMs how they are going to leverage these hardware features to deliver a smarter experience.

During the event, Qualcomm also unveiled the Snapdragon X Elite chipset with new Oryon cores based on Nuvia’s technology for Windows PCs. But what do you think of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Arjun Sha

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Passionate about Windows, ChromeOS, Android, security and privacy. Have a penchant for solving everyday computer problems.

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