On Monday, leaked documents allegedly from Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM ) hinted at the release of not one, but two variants of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 system-on-a-chip (SoC). The tech giant is expected to introduce the flagship chipset next month at the Snapdragon Summit on October 24th.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC is set to succeed the powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, commonly found in flagship Android smartphones. The new SoC will be produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) using their 4nm process node, promising significant improvements in performance and energy efficiency.
However, the leaked documents published by South Korea’s gamma0burst revealed a surprise: a second variant of the chipset. While both versions will feature the Cortex-X4 prime CPU core, Cortex-A720 performance CPU core, and Cortex-A520 efficiency CPU core, they differ in their production process. The primary variant will use TSMC's 4nm process node, while the second one will be manufactured using TSMC's N3E (enhanced) 3nm node.
This shift to a smaller 3nm process node suggests a substantial leap in technological advancement. The smaller transistors in the 3nm variant allow for a denser configuration, potentially making this chipset even more powerful and energy-efficient compared to its 4nm counterpart.
This strategy echoes Qualcomm's decision in 2022 when it replaced the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, produced using Samsung (KS: 005930 )'s 4nm process, with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, built by TSMC on their own 4nm node. That move resulted in a remarkable 30% increase in efficiency and helped mitigate overheating issues.
In a departure from previous patterns, Qualcomm is anticipated to unveil both variants of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 simultaneously at the Snapdragon Summit. While this event is likely to answer many questions about the new chipsets, it remains unclear whether the second variant will be named Snapdragon 8+ Gen 3 or if Qualcomm will choose a different designation.
Despite the identical configurations of both Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 variants, they differ only in the process node used for their construction. It should be noted that these announcements do not include the rumored Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy, which is expected to be an overclocked version of the 4nm chip.
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