Today Qualcomm announced a mid-cycle upgrade for the Snapdragon 855, called the “Snapdragon 855+.” As a mid-cycle upgrade, there aren’t huge changes here. It’s still an eight-core, 7nm SoC, but the CPU and GPU are a bit faster thanks to higher clock speeds.
First up: the CPU, which sees the 855’s “Prime” core clock speed get bumped from 2.84GHz to 2.96GHz in the Plus version. Remember the 855’s “Prime” core layout was a bit of a new thing for Qualcomm. It was typical to split the eight CPU cores up into two sets of four cores. The “Big” core set got a more-advanced core design and a higher clock rate for the heavy workloads, while a “little” set of cores had slower, more power-efficient cores for smaller workloads. The 855 took that bigger core set and pumped a single core up to a “Prime” core, so you had one Cortex A76-based core at 2.84GHz, three A76-based cores at 2.42GHz, and four 1.8GHz Cortex A55-based cores for the smaller cluster. The new “Prime” core clock speed means that only the single main core is faster.
As for the faster Adreno 640 GPU, Qualcomm’s press release promises “15 percent faster graphics rendering” and offers no technical details. We’re going to assume that means the 585MHz clock rate from the Snapdragon 855 is now somewhere around 673MHz.
That’s everything. It’s the same Snapdragon 855 that has been all over the high-end market this year, but a bit faster. Qualcomm quietly offered a clock-rate-bumped Snapdragon 845 last year, which showed up in the Asus ROG Phone. The chip also moved to Windows PCs and became the Snapdragon 850.
Qualcomm says to expect commercial devices with the 855+ in “2H 2019.” A report from Anandtech says the Asus will again be the first to offer Qualcomm’s faster chip, this time in the Asus ROG Phone 2, which launches July 23. After that, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10, launching August 7, is a likely landing spot, too.