Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Adds Ray Tracing

Accompanying the launch of the new flagship Snapdragon are game titles employing its marquee new graphics feature, ray tracing. SoC-architecture updates promise better-looking pictures.
Joseph Byrne
Joseph Byrne

Qualcomm’s new premium-smartphone processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, delivers substantial CPU, GPU, and AI speedups and new capabilities. Featuring new cores and faster clocks, we estimate CPU performance should be 27% greater than the 8 Gen 1’s. For gamers, the biggest upgrade is hardware ray tracing. Shutterbugs will see image and video quality improve because the image signal processor (ISP) can now loop-in AI functions without OS intervention. New connectivity features include Wi Fi 7 and dual-radio Bluetooth.

Snapdragon 8 appears in nearly all Android flagship smartphones, making Qualcomm the standard-bearer for new features. Although Samsung’s Exynos 2200 beat that chip to market with ray-tracing hardware, application support was absent. The new Snapdragon, however, launches with the support of game makers and smartphone OEMs. At the 8 Gen 2’s November introduction, ray-tracing games were either available or in beta testing, including War Thunder and Justice Online. Qualcomm expects its OEM customers to launch with ray-tracing titles as well. Initial smartphones using the 8 Gen 2 should arrive by year-end.

Computational photography, including AI, has proven essential to burnishing smartphone image quality. Flagship Qualcomm processors power most of the Android phones at the top of camera-rating company DXOMark’s list, duking it out with Google’s Tensor G2 in the Pixel 7 and various iPhones. Given access to raw data in the image-processing pipeline rather than to processed images, the 8 Gen 2 should produce better pictures with less lag. Additionally, Snapdragon’s AI performance increases because Qualcomm doubled the tensor unit’s size and added INT4 support.

Free Newsletter

Get the latest analysis of new developments in semiconductor market and research analysis.

Subscribers can view the full article in the TechInsights Platform.


You must be a subscriber to access the Manufacturing Analysis reports & services.

If you are not a subscriber, you should be! Enter your email below to contact us about access.

The authoritative information platform to the semiconductor industry.

Discover why TechInsights stands as the semiconductor industry's most trusted source for actionable, in-depth intelligence.