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Snapdragon 660 Upgrades to 14nm

May 23, 2017

Author: Linley Gwennap

Qualcomm has rolled out two new processors in its midrange Snapdragon 600 family: the 660 and 630. These chips bring high-end performance and features to phones that sell for $200 to $400. Compared with earlier models, they deliver greater CPU and GPU performance, faster downlink speeds, and improved DSP and image-processing (ISP) capabilities. Both are in production, with phones rolling out over the next few months.

At the family’s high end, the Snapdragon 660 provides an upgrade to last year’s Snapdragon 653. Whereas the 653 uses 28nm technology, the 660 moves to Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process, which employs smaller and faster transistors. The Snapdragon 630 targets slightly lower price and performance, extending the earlier Snapdragon 626. Both of these chips use the same 14nm process. The 630 and 660 include Qualcomm’s X12 modem, which supports 600Mbps downloads.

The Snapdragon 660 targets “super-midrange” phones with up to QHD (4Mpixel) displays. It will reportedly appear in upcoming products such as the Nokia 7, Nokia 8, and Xiaomi Mi Max 2 that will sell for $300 to $400. The Snapdragon 630 aims for slightly lower-price phones with 1080p displays, and the GPU performance drops accordingly. Lacking any big cores, it offers about half the single-thread performance of the 660.

The 660 includes many features from the Snapdragon 820, last year’s premium model, but at a lower price. Its CPUs are only 10% slower than in the flagship Snapdragon 835, but that chip offers other advantages, too. Although the 600 family is less popular than the 400 and 800 families, it’s widely used, filling a gap for OEMs that want to build less expensive smartphones that offer some premium features.

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