Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 636 Chip with 40 Percent Speed Boost

This site may earn affiliate commissions from the links on this page. Terms of use.

The phone you carry around in your pocket for playing Candy Crush and watching cat videos would have been considered a supercomputer a few decades ago. That’s all thanks to the advanced system-on-a-chip (SoC) powering the device, and many of them are made by Qualcomm. A new version of the company’s popular Snapdragon SoC, the Snapdragon 636, has just been announced, and it could give a huge boost to midrange smartphones.

An SoC includes a CPU, GPU, and usually other components like a modem and image signal processor. Qualcomm Snapdragon parts include all these and more. The nature of the CPU cores varies a lot from one design to the next. Most of the midrange and budget chips from Qualcomm use ARM reference designs known as Cortex, but the company also has much better custom ARM-compatible cores called Kryo. The Snapdragon 636 will be one of the first budget SoCs from Qualcomm to have the Kryo cores built-in.

The 636 is an update of the 630, which has eight Cortex-A53 CPU cores. Those are the current-gen low-power core from ARM. The 636 will have eight Kryo 260 cores in two four-core clusters. Qualcomm says this offers a 40 percent improvement in performance compared with the Snapdragon 630.

The GPU has been bumped to an Adreno 509, which is only slightly better than the 508 in the 630. The GPU is designed to support 18:9 screens, which are very fashionable right now, but the resolution tops out at FHD+ (around 2160×1080). Phones like the Galaxy Note 8, Pixel 2 XL, and Mate 10 Pro all have screens with taller aspect ratios than the usual 16:9. This shape allows the display to more efficiently fill the front of a device. Seeing this in more midrange phones would be a cool development.

The 636 has the same X12 LTE modem, which is capable of 600Mbps data speeds, not that carriers can offer you that much bandwidth yet. LTE modems can be a little boring, but the high quality of Qualcomm’s modems is why it’s one of the largest chip makers right now. The image signal processor (ISP) is unchanged from the 630 as well. It’s the Spectra 160, with support for 24MP cameras and various customizable capture features. The actual implementation of cameras is up to device makers, though.

We don’t know who’s going to be first out of the gate with Snapdragon 636 phones, but Qualcomm is shipping the chips to OEMs in November. Devices should hit the market in the first half of next year.

Now read: 25 Best Android Tips to Make Your Phone More Useful

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

ExtremeTechExtremeTech