Qualcomm is an American multinational company. It is headquartered in San Deigo, California, USA. The corporation creates semiconductors and other services associated with wireless technology. However, their most significant launch of every year is the Snapdragon 8 Series processor. Qualcomm holds a Snapdragon summit yearly to showcase its highest-end mobile SoC (System on a chip). The Snapdragon lineup of SoCs is based on the ARM architecture, which Qualcomm usually refers to as a “Mobile Platform.” This year, the company’s launch at the Snapdragon Summit was the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is a direct successor to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 released last year. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 was a success for the company because the chip has exceptional GPU performance and high efficiency. It was built on TSMC’s 4nm node, which has high yield rates and is likely the reason for the stability.
With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Qualcomm is ready to take this SoC to great heights. First and foremost, the company is sticking to the 4nm node instead of 3nm because the latter seems more expensive, with a much lower yield rate and more heating issues. This is a good move from Qualcomm to maintain a proper balance between performance stability and efficiency.
Here is the list of Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 phones
- Xiaomi 14
- Xiaomi 14 Pro
- OnePlus 12
- Samsung Galaxy S24
- Samsung Galaxy S24+
- Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
- Honor Magic 6
- Honor Magic 6 Pro
- iQOO 12
- iQOO 12 Pro
- Asus ROG Phone 8
- Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro
- Oppo Find X7 Ultra
- Realme GT 5 Pro
- Redmi K70 Pro
- ZTE Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro
- ZTE Nubia Red Magic 9 Pro Plus
- ZTE Nubia Z60 Ultra
These are a few of the phones that are currently available with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 phone list is still growing, with more announcements expected in the coming months.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 features
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is launching with the 4nm node, but we might likely have a follow-up with 8+ Gen 3 having a 3nm node in a few months. We have already seen Qualcomm doing something similar with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and 8+ Gen 1.
It’s slightly complicated, but the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 shipped with Samsung’s inefficient and thermally deficient Samsung 4nm node. A few months later, Qualcomm put out a new version with TSMC 4nm fabrication, which brought serious improvements to performance and efficiency. The thermals were also a lot better.
The 8 Gen 2 uses a 4nm TSMC node as well. Currently, Apple has access to TSMC’s 3nm N3B node. However, it has many problems. It also suffers from heating issues, and the latest iPhones severely deteriorate performance due to thermal throttling. The yield rate is also relatively much lower at 55%, making it more expensive. The gains in efficiency are, however, negligible.
Since there are so many issues with the 3nm node in its current state, Qualcomm chose the 4nm node for the 8 Gen 3. However, with time, TSMC will begin manufacturing chips with a better N3E node. It focuses more on efficiency and should have a better yield. If this new 3nm node is ready later in the year, Qualcomm will probably use it for the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 3.
Furthermore, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 has moved from a 1+4+3 architecture to a somewhat unconventional 1+5+2 layout. Regarding specs, it is expected to drop one prime core and recourse to one prime performance core, five mid-level performance cores, and only two efficiency cores. These are the Cortex X4 Prime core, the Cortex-A720 performance core, and the Cortex-A520 efficiency core. Its impact on the battery life and efficiency is unclear as of now.
The GPU details are unknown now, but it is expected to be 25% faster and 25% more efficient than its predecessor. It still has support for Ray Tracing. A few months from now, Qualcomm will probably collaborate with Samsung. Last time, there was an overclock to the CPU, resulting in theoretically higher multi-core benchmark scores. This time, we might get a similar collaboration with a higher clock speed to the prime core. This might even be the 8+ Gen 3, which is interesting since Samsung’s upcoming S24 series could ship with a variant of the 8 Gen 3 that comes with the 3nm TSMC fabrication.
The 8 Gen 3 also supports gameplay up to 240FPS. The collection of phones with such a high refresh rate is extremely low, but we might see more if more developers make this mainstream and optimize their apps. The 8 Gen 3 focuses heavily on Generative AI as well. It has full-fledged support for LLMs or Large Language Models. The new Hexagon NPU is 98% faster and 40% more efficient.
Moreover, there are improvements to Semantic segmentation. The 8 Gen 2 could already identify and improve parts of a photo if AI recognizes certain aspects, like trees or skies. The 8 Gen 3 takes this even further; AI will greatly improve the photos, and the ISP brings some obvious year-over-year improvements as well.
A new Video Object Eraser feature is meant to compete with Google’s Magic Eraser. The sharpening effect and noise reduction with cropped-in photos are better now, and you can get up to 4X zoom without much of a hit to quality. You can also do multiple video captures from multiple lenses simultaneously. There’s also Photo Expansion, which fills in the details of a photo with the help of AI.
There were rumors earlier that the Exynos 2400 would ship with massive improvements to its Generative AI and text-to-image capabilities, which is probably Qualcomm’s answer. The 8 Gen 3 and Exynos 2400 will mostly have comparable AI performance since Samsung probably uses both chips for the S24 lineup.
The 4nm fabrication is no slouch since it’s much more stable than the 3nm processing. You can find the entire list of specs in more detail here. That said, it’s evident this will be one beast of a processor from Qualcomm. This also means dozens of smartphone brands will use this in their phones.