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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  • CloudWiz - Saturday, July 16, 2016 - link

    And what exactly is that "most powerful, most power efficient ARM processor"? Kirin 950? A9 is faster than that. Exynos 8890? Until power measurements are posted, I'm pretty sure Kirin 950 is still more power efficient.
  • jeanforster - Monday, October 31, 2016 - link

    Why not just make the MSM8996 Pro capable of individual page erases instead of blocks as problem solved?
  • SydneyBlue120d - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Maybe HEVC encoding enabled?
  • Eden-K121D - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    So basically a higher clocked SD 820 with some tweaks and tuning to make it better.I hope they improve the ISP
  • Nallaikkumaran - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Snapdragon Sucks
  • TheMysteryMan11 - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    What about the efficiency?
    SD820 lacks the efficiency of Exynos 8890. Having used both versions of S7, it was clear as day and night that Exynos version was superior in every way where it mattered in day to day use. All that theoretical superiority in some benchmarks didnt result in better experience when using the phone. In fact it was the other way around.
    At the end of the day, SD82x is vast improvement over 810 but having used multiple devices powered by SD820 (Mi 5, S7 and OnePlus 3) I can safely say that all the media love that chip received was simply hogwash for end user. Exynos lasts longers, was more snappy on S7 and was great at multitasking. Much better than SD820 version of S7.
  • jimjamjamie - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    Is it really that surprising though that the Samsung SoC performs better in a Samsung phone?
  • syxbit - Monday, July 11, 2016 - link

    What I don't understand is why Samsung are back to dual sourcing. I figured after the SD810 disaster that Samsung would only use Exynos from here on out.
  • shabby - Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - link

    Maybe because qualcomm has a better cdma modem.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, July 14, 2016 - link

    verizon and sprint ruining it for us again

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