If you’ve been paying attention to the right places in the past few months it was probably obvious this was coming, but Qualcomm is announcing a higher tier to their Snapdragon 82x lineup, known as the Snapdragon 821 or MSM8996 Pro. While today’s announcement basically boils down to acknowledging that this SoC exists and that the big CPU cores have a clock speed of 2.4 GHz, it’s likely that in the months since the Snapdragon 820 was released Qualcomm engineering staff have been working on resolving various errata as well as improving their floorplanning and architecture implementation. It’s also likely that we will see a few new or otherwise revised IP blocks.

  Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 821
CPU Perf Cluster 2x Kryo 2.2 GHz 2x Kryo 2.4 GHz
CPU Power Cluster 2x Kryo 1.6 GHz 2x Kryo >2 GHz
GPU Adreno 530 624 MHz Adreno ??? ~650 MHz

What isn’t in this announcement is that the power cluster will likely be above 2 GHz and GPU clocks look to be around 650 MHz but without knowing whether there are some changes other than clock relative to Adreno 530 we can’t really estimate the performance of this part. However, this information can be subject to change depending upon what happens at Qualcomm. It's important to note here that while these changes may seem to be small that improvements in the implementation of an SoC can have a dramatic effect on performance and power. I’m sure we’ll be learning more about this SoC in the coming months so for now we’ll just have to wait and see what comes next.

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  • Chaitanya - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    would like to see some benchmarks to see how it compares against the chip its upgrading from.
  • piroroadkill - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    I'm liking the return to quad core CPUs. This 6 and 8 core madness in a goddamn /telephone/ was getting out of hand.
  • Spectrophobic - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    I'd love a dual core 1.5 GHz Kryo + Adreno 530 @ ~500 MHz.
  • blackice85 - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Yeah, it was starting to remind me of the bit wars from console gaming back in the '90s.
  • WorldWithoutMadness - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Soon, it will be overtaken by 10 cores madness.

    Enjoy while it last because the rumour said that Kyro would be the last custom core from Qualcomm. If ARM were to release a new arch to replace v8-a or the newer cortex were to much better than Kyro, then we're back to many cores madness.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    There's absolutely nothing wrong to 6 and 8-core SoCs. They're faster, more power efficient, actually smaller than for example a Kryo 4-core design.

    It's unfortunate that readers still have this misinformed and misleading perception of things.
  • osxandwindows - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Faster at what?
    Multi threaded operations?
  • retrospooty - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    No. Faster in everything.
  • Amandtec - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Yes. Scaling on phones is very different to scaling on PC.

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