There are still a few months left to go in the year, but it already feels safe to say that we’ve had a pretty decent showing of SoCs this year. While NVIDIA failed to attract much attention with its Tegra 4, Qualcomm has absolutely been knocking the ball out of the park, and you’ll find Snapdragon chips at the heart of most of this year’s hottest handsets. That’s spelled great things for currently available models, but where do we go from here? As we look forward to 2014 and the chip announcements that will come with it, we’re hearing a little about what Qualcomm’s been working on – specifically, about plans for its next GPUs.
Right now, you’ll find Adreno 300-series GPUs in most of the recent Snapdragons, including the Adreno 330 in the Snapdragon 800. Supposedly, we’ll see chips featuring new Adreno 400 GPUs in the early days of 2014. That may spell a CES launch, or maybe something at the MWC, but it sounds like they should be going official sooner rather than later.
Obviously, we’d expect to see a healthy performance boost with the 400s, though we haven’t heard specific figures about how many triangles it can draw or anything of that nature – in fact, the only hard detail that’s emerged so far has been that the 400 family wouldn’t support the OpenCL framework, limiting the chip’s ability to be used for more general purpose computing. That doesn’t sound like a deal-breaker, though, and if you absolutely need the feature, it looks like NVIDA will be happy to hook you up with OpenCL support in its own Tegra 5.
While it’s nice to get this update, we’ve still got dozens of questions about the next Snapdragons, and hope we hear a lot more info leak in the months leading up to that 2014 launch.