Snapdragon 855 chipset is Qualcomm’s first 7nm processor with Neural Processing Unit (NPU) which is about to be used on various upcoming flagship smartphones. What’s NPU?, What’s a 7nm processor?, What’s so amazing about it? Let me explain.

What’s NPU?

Neural Processing Unit (NPU) is an integrated circuit which helps a computer or a mobile phone on machine learning to improve its AI capabilities. The NPU is handled, interacted and controlled by Qualcomm’s dedicated AI accelerator software called Zeroth. These concepts are actually inspired by the human brain. Obviously the concept “AI” acts something like the brain, of the computer and mobile phones, but the processors which are about to be introduced in the near future are actually going to act as a brain of our smartphone, which does not necessarily require more human action for any reaction.

What’s 7nm processor? What’s so amazing about it?

7nm processors are the next in SoC manufacturing. The current flagship from Qualcomm known as Snapdragon 845 is built on 10nm. Moving from 10 nm to 7nm is a big step. It means bringing more power and the best power efficient chipset into the mobile platform. Also, the 7nm processor produces less heat which means better the performance. The building architecture is the same but now with the 7 nm processors has more room or space to build some extras. For example, support for 5G may come as default and the processor may come with cores that process only AI tasks.

To put this in a nutshell, we can say that it takes lesser battery juice and gives out better performance.

Will this System-on-Chip (SoC) support 5G connectivity?

Well, the answer may be a bit complicated. Researchers say that even Snapdragon 845 (10nm) processor has some capabilities for 5G connectivity. So being a 7nm processor, the all-new Snapdragon 855 (which may be released as Snapdragon 8155) should obviously support 5G. But it all depends on the modem. Qualcomm still didn’t reveal anything about the modem which is going to feature in SD855 chipset. The modem which can support 5G connectivity is Snapdragon X50 modem, but this is modem compatible only for a 10nm SoC and not for a 7nm one. But one of the principal engineers of Qualcomm revealed an information that the company’s panel engineers are constantly planning and preparing to enable 5G connectivity in Snapdragon 855 SoC.

Till now all the activities of Qualcomm were highly confidential, but this time they revealed an information that they have already started sampling this product with some of the other devices. Sampling is kinda like beta testing an app or a software. Actually, this is unusual for Qualcomm on telling out pieces of information about their future products before the release. However, Samsung already said that the Exynos 10000 series processors will be much more advanced and powerful than the existing chipsets. Meanwhile, Kirin 970 is uplifting Hisilicon’s value in the market by outperforming with Huawei smartphones.

In this game of designing AI handling processors, one fact is clear that the future of smartphones chipsets is going to be way more effective and efficient in handling tasks.




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