Snapdragon 6 Boosts Graphics and AI

Qualcomm updated its Snapdragon 6 and 4 lines, moving to a new process, improving performance, and selectively adding features. The new nomenclature aligns with the 7- and 8-series.
Bryon Moyer
Bryon Moyer

Qualcomm has updated its low-end Snapdragon 4- and 6-series while moving them to its new naming scheme. The revision involves a port to finer process nodes, greater performance thanks to updated CPU configurations, and additional graphics and AI capabilities—particularly in the 6-series chip.

The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 (S6G1) updates the midrange Snapdragon 695; the 4 Gen 1 (S4G1) succeeds the Snapdragon 480+ for budget phones. Qualcomm is moving away from the three-digit nomenclature for both the processors and the IP blocks they contain. In the latter case, it further hides features and performance.

The S4G1’s throughput rose owing to a CPU upgrade; the S6G1 moves from a 2+6 “big/little” arrangement to 4+4. In addition, some functions that were formerly exclusive to the upper Snapdragon tiers (the 8- and 7-series) are trickling down, allowing phone makers to offer erstwhile premium features in lower-cost phones.

Although a process change can reduce power, it can alternatively enable new features, such as graphics and AI improvements. Because Qualcomm withheld power information, the reduction available to extend battery life is unknown.

The S4G1 is in production now; S6G1 production is expected in 1Q23. Phones are expected to ship 3Q22 for the former and 1Q23 for the latter.

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