We're here in sunny Hawaii for day two of Qualcomm's annual Snapdragon Summit.

Yesterday, of course, was the company's prime keynote, where they announced their forthcoming Snapdragon X Elite SoC for laptops, as well as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for smartphones. As well, the company gave us our first look at their Oryon CPU architecture, which will be driving the X Elite, and eventually Qualcomm's smartphones, automotive chips, and more.

For day two of their event, today Qualcomm is going to take us through the technical side of their new chips, revealing a bit more about how they work and what new features and abilities have been added in this generation. So please join us for our live blog coverage of Qualcomm's technical track disclosures.

03:01PM EDT - And here we go. Qualcomm's day two keynote is kicking off

03:01PM EDT - Starting with an intro video. "The PC is not enough"

03:04PM EDT - Recapping yesterday's big 4 announcements

03:04PM EDT - Snapdragon X Elite

03:04PM EDT - Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

03:05PM EDT - Qualcomm S7 Pro audio ASIC

03:05PM EDT - Snapdragon Seemless multi-device connectivity

03:06PM EDT - (This keynote is scheduled to go for 3 hours. We'll just be covering the X Elite and 8 Gen 3 sections, which are first)

03:06PM EDT - Starting with Honor

03:07PM EDT - Honor's CEO is now on the stage

03:07PM EDT - Honor has a lot of talent. But innovation is slowing down. There are a lot of challenges

03:08PM EDT - But it's also an era of potential. AI models, battery technology, and more

03:09PM EDT - Honor has been a major partner of Qualcomm. They've made many, many devices based on Qualcomm's hardware

03:09PM EDT - Discussing the Honor Magic V2 foldable phone

03:09PM EDT - 9.9mm thick

03:10PM EDT - 4.7mm when unfolded

03:10PM EDT - 5000 mAh battery

03:11PM EDT - Now discussing some of the phone's features, such as parallel spaces

03:12PM EDT - Each space can have its own WhatsApp accounts

03:13PM EDT - Or playing the same game with two instances/accounts at once

03:14PM EDT - And, of course, Honor is big on developing more AI uses for smartphones

03:16PM EDT - And where to draw the line between on-device and cloud processing. Privacy versus performance

03:16PM EDT - On device AI performance is getting better quickly, thanks to recent hardware improvements such as Qualcomm's updated NPU

03:18PM EDT - 6 to 7 billion parmeters is needed to get a useful on-device AI. 1 billion parameters is "just a toy"

03:19PM EDT - And showing a demo of AI in action. Having a local model collate videos and cut them together

03:21PM EDT - In this case the AI is selecting for things such as the person to be in the videos, whether they're smiling, what they're doing (dancing), etc

03:22PM EDT - Announcing Magic 6

03:23PM EDT - 8 Gen 3 based phone

03:24PM EDT - Also demoing "MagicRing" multi-device sharing (based on Snapdragon Seamless, I'd expect)

03:25PM EDT - Sharing keyboard and mouse from the laptop over to the unfolded phone

03:26PM EDT - And confirmed, it's Snapdragon Seamless-based

03:27PM EDT - Honor will also be making a Snapdragon X Elite-based laptop

03:28PM EDT - And that's Honor. Now back to Kedar

03:29PM EDT - Now talking about Zoom and video calling

03:29PM EDT - And rolling a video from Zoom

03:29PM EDT - (Thus far this has been more of a partner showcase than a compute spotlight)

03:30PM EDT - Lauding the hardware encode capabilities of Qualcomm's SoCs

03:31PM EDT - Delivering good experiences for users requires working closely with partners like Honor and Zoom

03:31PM EDT - And now we're getting to the technical dive

03:32PM EDT - Starting with Snapdragon X Elite

03:33PM EDT - Users want a sleek form factor with good battery life. And Snapdragon X Elite can deliver that

03:34PM EDT - "A massive leap above anything else in its class"

03:34PM EDT - Recapping the Oryon announcement

03:34PM EDT - Wanted to deliver the ultimate performance without compromising on power efficiency

03:35PM EDT - Tri-cluster design, 4 cores each. Up to 3.8GHz under normal circumstances

03:35PM EDT - Or 2C turbo up to 4.3GHz

03:35PM EDT - First Arm architecture CPU to hit over 4GHz

03:36PM EDT - 42MB of total cache. Optimizations for virtualization and memory address translation

03:37PM EDT - "A sophisticated branch predictor"

03:37PM EDT - X Elite is designed to work in a range of laptop designs

03:38PM EDT - Ultraportables up to large format laptops

03:38PM EDT - Cinebench results

03:38PM EDT - 2x faster performance at the same power

03:39PM EDT - Now on to the GPU

03:40PM EDT - 2x peak performance, or iso-performance at 23% of the power

03:40PM EDT - First Snapdragon compute platform with updatable drivers

03:41PM EDT - (Sounds like out-of-band display driver updates, separate from what MS distributes?)

03:41PM EDT - Demo time with Blackmagic's Davinci Resolve

03:42PM EDT - Resolve is a complete video editing, grading, and post-production tool

03:42PM EDT - And Resolve has a suite of AI-based abilities these days

03:43PM EDT - Voice isolation, dialogue leveler, and more

03:43PM EDT - Blackmagic will be launching a native Arm version of Resolve next year for Windows

03:43PM EDT - Blackmagic has been working with Qualcomm to make this happen

03:44PM EDT - Briefly talking about performance versus a 12 core (Intel) processor

03:44PM EDT - And they're not done optimizing Resolve or adding new AI-based capabilities

03:45PM EDT - (Getting a native version of Resolve on Windows is a big win for Qualcomm. That is arguably the most important video editing tool on the market. It doesn't hurt that they offer the base version for free, either)

03:45PM EDT - Now on to AI performance

03:46PM EDT - Qualcomm has invested significant resources (and seemingly die space) on including a faster NPU

03:47PM EDT - Support for AI models over 13B parameters

03:47PM EDT - And with a smaller 7B model, X Elite can run at 30 tokens per second

03:47PM EDT - Stable diffusion benchmarks

03:48PM EDT - Over 2.5x faster with SD 1.5. More with highly optimized versions

03:48PM EDT - New power delivery system for the NPU

03:48PM EDT - (The tensor cores are on their own rail)

03:48PM EDT - And Qualcomm's secret sauce of micro tile inferencing

03:49PM EDT - 45 TOPS of AI performance

03:49PM EDT - 50% faster AI compute performance on the GPU as well

03:50PM EDT - UL Procyon benchmarks. Upwards of 10x faster than Intel/AMD chips

03:51PM EDT - (Checking the notes, it looks like this is an NPU vs. CPU comparison)

03:51PM EDT - The Hexagon NPU shows up in the Task Manager on Windows

03:52PM EDT - Now for another partner showcase. HP

03:54PM EDT - On-device local AI inference will bring new benefits

03:55PM EDT - HP is very excited about all of this

03:56PM EDT - And now switching over to talking about user experiences

03:56PM EDT - Users asking their phones to do more and more has driven so much of the innovation in Snapdragon

03:57PM EDT - X Elite brings the best of Qualcomm's mobile tech to the PC

03:57PM EDT - External QC Snapdragon 5G modems

03:57PM EDT - And Wi-Fi 7 (also external)

03:58PM EDT - QC leading the push from USB to MIPI interface for web cameras

03:58PM EDT - Which should deliver better phone-like front cameras

03:58PM EDT - Smartphone level video quality to the PC

03:59PM EDT - X Elite includes Snapdragon Sound for lossless spatial audio support

04:00PM EDT - Partner time again. Rolling a Lenovo video

04:01PM EDT - Talking about some of the Qualcomm-powered devices Lenovo has released over the years

04:01PM EDT - Such as previous 8cx-based devices

04:02PM EDT - Lenovo is going to expand their collaboration to take advantage of new AI abilities

04:02PM EDT - More personalized and intuitive devices for consumers

04:03PM EDT - And more efficient and collaborative teams for businesses

04:04PM EDT - Now switching to discussing Snapdragon devices for commercial customers

04:04PM EDT - Snapdragon for Enterprise and Ecosystem

04:04PM EDT - Half of PC sales are commercial

04:04PM EDT - So QC has been working with CIOs and IT leaders to address their needs

04:04PM EDT - Privacy and security are more important than ever

04:05PM EDT - Over 500 enterprises have tested/deployed Snapdragon devices

04:05PM EDT - Recapping thbe security features of Qualcomm's PC platform

04:06PM EDT - Pluton support. Secure enclave. Device resiliance. MS Secure Core certification

04:06PM EDT - AI is the key to drive new business opportunities

04:07PM EDT - Snapdragon X Elite is "the total package"

04:08PM EDT - Partner/demo time

04:08PM EDT - Uniphone

04:09PM EDT - Today Uniphone is running all of their AI processes in the cloud

04:09PM EDT - But with the latest Snapdragon hardware, they can run it on-device

04:09PM EDT - Working to bring it to X Elite laptops

04:10PM EDT - Voice-to-text transcription, senitment analysis, and more run locally

04:10PM EDT - Now rolling a demo video

04:11PM EDT - ~100ms latency on on-device transcription

04:12PM EDT - The application was built in a matter of weeks

04:12PM EDT - Praising Qualcomm's dev kit and toolset

04:13PM EDT - Now back to QC and the Snapdragon ecosystem

04:13PM EDT - "We couldn't have done it alone"

04:13PM EDT - "Every part of the value chain is optimized for snapdragon"

04:14PM EDT - QC wants to make it easier for devs to port their applications and enhance them for AI

04:14PM EDT - Performance metrics on early builds are looking promissing

04:15PM EDT - Now rolling a customer testamonial video

04:16PM EDT - Customers talking about what they've been doing with Snapdragon hardware, and how it's made their software faster

04:17PM EDT - QC has a rich ecosystem of partners ready to innovate on the next generation of devices

04:18PM EDT - "This will change the computing world"

04:18PM EDT - Now rolling another video. This time hardware partners

04:19PM EDT - Snapdragon X Elite will also be a capable gaming chip

04:20PM EDT - And QC is working with several studios on their games

04:20PM EDT - Rolling another clip video

04:21PM EDT - "We are on a mission to build the best PC platform in the world"

04:21PM EDT - Now recapping Snapdragon X Elite speeds and feats

04:22PM EDT - Coming mid-2024

04:23PM EDT - And that's a wrap on the Snapdragon X Elite session

04:23PM EDT - Up next: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 session. That should start in a few minutes

04:24PM EDT - While we're on intermission, here's a quck photo of the X Elite chip in a plastic shell

04:28PM EDT - Sadly, Qualcomm doesn't let us keep those chip packages. Which is probably for the best, as there's no shortage of geeks here who have screwdriver sets

04:28PM EDT - Or in Charlie Demerjian's (SemiAccurate) case: micro-calipers

04:31PM EDT - And the opposite view

04:32PM EDT - There's also a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 package floating around. However, it doesn't seem to have an actual silicon die in it; I'm pretty sure it's just the organic substrate

04:33PM EDT - For the SD 8G3 segment of today's keynote, Qualcomm is dubbing this their "Mobile Spotlight"

04:35PM EDT - With SD 8G3 phones launching tomorrow, there should be more to talk about in terms of final hardware. However, since QC dosen't make the phones, it's their customers who will reserve the right to make the big announcements

04:35PM EDT - And here we go

04:36PM EDT - Bringing the 8G3 product lead to the stage

04:37PM EDT - Talking about how phones and use cases have evolved since 2008

04:37PM EDT - A QC chip powered the very first Android phone

04:37PM EDT - Made on a65nm process

04:38PM EDT - AI will be the next disruptive technology

04:39PM EDT - 8G3 is "the titan" of on-device intelligence

04:39PM EDT - 8G3 dev started about 3 years ago

04:39PM EDT - Starting with the Hexagon NPU

04:39PM EDT - 98% faster than the previous-gen Hexagon

04:40PM EDT - 40% higher perf-per-watt

04:40PM EDT - Raised clockspeed of the vector unit

04:40PM EDT - And they have LPDDR5x memory support at 8.5Gbps

04:41PM EDT - The low-power sensing hub has also been updated

04:41PM EDT - On the CPU side of matters, new Arm Cortex cores, higher clockspeeds, and more

04:42PM EDT - 20% faster perf and 20% greater power efficiency

04:42PM EDT - Adreno GPU is 25% faster

04:42PM EDT - 40% faster in ray tracing

04:42PM EDT - 25% greater power efficiency as well

04:43PM EDT - And emphasizing heterogeneous computing, and being able to use different blocks for different tasks that they excel at (and accelerate)

04:44PM EDT - 10% improved power savings overall

04:45PM EDT - And that's the quick recap on 8 Gen 3's architecture

04:46PM EDT - Now for a deeper dive on AI for the 8G3

04:46PM EDT - Every generation has done more and been more efficient

04:47PM EDT - Generative AI is giving phones the ability to new new task they could not before

04:48PM EDT - QC wants to offer "best in class experiences" across all of their products

04:49PM EDT - The smartphone with reap the benefits of on-device AI, particularly when it comes to privacy

04:49PM EDT - Demo time. An on-device chatbot

04:49PM EDT - Asking the AI to plan a customized trip

04:50PM EDT - This is live back-and-forth with the phone

04:51PM EDT - 8G3 can support models up to 10B parameters

04:51PM EDT - Up to 20 tokens per second for LLMs

04:51PM EDT - And meanwhile smaller models are getting more capable

04:52PM EDT - Qualcomm is quantizing Llama 2 for INT4

04:52PM EDT - Scalar, vector, and tensor accelerators all working together

04:53PM EDT - QC is also doing speculative decoding

04:54PM EDT - First time it's been used on an edge device

04:54PM EDT - Allows for a much smaller graph model. Start in the CPU and then send it out to the NPU

04:55PM EDT - And QC isn't stopping there

04:55PM EDT - They want to bring more models over to run on 8G3

04:55PM EDT - Now running a demo against a chatbot model that speaks Mandarin, asking it how to surf

04:56PM EDT - The demo has failed. The phone application stalled

04:56PM EDT - (It's a live demo; it happens)

04:57PM EDT - Now on to another demo with an avatar-based chatbot

04:57PM EDT - And a Knight Rider reference

04:58PM EDT - The QC AI software stack has seen some major upgrades

04:58PM EDT - QC is releasing a suite of optimized models for various tasks

04:58PM EDT - Qualcomm AI Stack Models

04:58PM EDT - 30+ models at launch, with many more coming

04:59PM EDT - Adding PyTorch ExecuTorch(?) support

04:59PM EDT - Stable Diffusion can run in under 0.6 seconds

05:00PM EDT - Now for another demo, fast Stable Diffusion

05:01PM EDT - Make AI generation as quick as taking a photo so that it can seamlessly be integrated into camera apps

05:01PM EDT - And working with Snap for new Snapchat AI features

05:02PM EDT - Introducing new tech called "on device personalization"

05:03PM EDT - Essentially how to integrate information from the sensing hub to improve an on-device model's knowledge

05:04PM EDT - Having the model plan the presenter's weekend in Maui

05:04PM EDT - "You could not do this in the cloud"

05:05PM EDT - On-device AI can offer better experiences than the cloud

05:06PM EDT - Now transitioning to camera technology and AI

05:07PM EDT - 8 Gen 3 will deliver two big changes. A big boost to image quality in any image quality. And turning the camera into a powerful handheld imaging sensor

05:09PM EDT - Using the cognative ISP for depth separation

05:09PM EDT - And using AI to quickly remove unwanted objects from full resolution videos

05:10PM EDT - (Family gatherings will never be the same)

05:10PM EDT - There's a new framerate conversion engine to interpolate frames from 30fps to 60fps

05:11PM EDT - 8G3's can consume the output of 200MP sensors

05:11PM EDT - And QC is working with Samsung to deliver such a sensor

05:12PM EDT - And using dual conversion gain sensors to improve low-light sensitivity

05:13PM EDT - 8G3 will also introduce Dolby HDR photo capture technology

05:13PM EDT - 10bpc color, Rec.2020 color gamu

05:13PM EDT - Photos fully backwards compatible with JPEG

05:14PM EDT - And some of QCs partners are working on their own smartphone-sized sensors to detect additional information

05:15PM EDT - 8G3 has added a second sensing ISP for a second always-sensing camera

05:16PM EDT - Now on to gaming on 8 Gen 3

05:17PM EDT - Latest Snapdragon display controllers can support 240Hz displays

05:18PM EDT - QC's Adreno Frame Motion interpolation engine has also been updated to improve frame generation quality and performance. A new optical flow engine, among other changes

05:19PM EDT - QC also has their own spatial upscaling tech, Game Super Resolution (GSR)

05:19PM EDT - Quick demo upscaling from 4K to 8K (again, this is spatial-only)

05:20PM EDT - And talking about the game devs QC has been working with, and who is launching cross-platform games on day one

05:20PM EDT - 8 Gen 3 is capable of running Unreal Engine 5 Lumen at fully interactive framerates

05:21PM EDT - This is the first for a smartphone SoC

05:22PM EDT - Now rolling a game trailer

05:23PM EDT - That was Justice Mobile

05:23PM EDT - And that's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 gaming

05:24PM EDT - Now wrapping up Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in general

05:25PM EDT - New CPU cores, NPU, faster GPU, and more (and a darn good modem)

05:25PM EDT - That's Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

05:25PM EDT - 8G3 will be in flagship devices "in just a few weeks"

05:26PM EDT - (Or days, in the case of Xiamoi)

05:26PM EDT - And that's a wrap for the 8 Gen 3 session, and for us

05:26PM EDT - Thank you for joining us. I'm off to check out some demos

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  • The Hardcard - Wednesday, October 25, 2023 - link

    I don’t think they have enough to compete in the mainstream laptop space. There isn’t anything Snapdragon X Elite is bringing that won’t already be on the market with AMD and Intel laptops which both now have silicon dedicated to inferencing.

    While the core looks impressive, their inability to pair with a lower power, higher efficiency cores showed when they didn’t make any device battery life claims.I don’t see any technological incentive to buy Qualcomm laptops.
  • brucethemoose - Wednesday, October 25, 2023 - link

    > which both now have silicon dedicated to inferencing.

    This is not really true with Intel until Meteor Lake.

    As for AMD, as far as I know, the AI block is basically going unused because nothing supports it outside a few simple demos. I think Intel is in better shape here due to the wider proliferation of their AI frameworks even at this early stage.
  • FWhitTrampoline - Thursday, October 26, 2023 - link

    The Snapdragon X Elite should be listed as a Microsoft Commissioned Processor as it's only made for Windows thin And lights. And AMD's AI support on Ryzen 7040 series APUs is limited to Windows currently as there's no Linux Support for that on Linux. And really I'm only interested in the Oryon Cores and Hopefully there will be other Oryon core based systems for Android and Linux as I'm not on Windows any longer.

    And I was disappointed in the day 2 Qualcomm event lacking in any deeper dive into the Oryon core's workings and there being no CPU core block diagram like AMD and Intel present along with their new Core design presentations. So really Qualcomm disappoints there as far as actual technical details of the Oryon CPU core hardware.
  • Unashamed_unoriginal_username_x86 - Saturday, October 28, 2023 - link

    Just look at their summary slides with tonnes of little panels and figures, their marketing takes a lot of cues but not from Intel or AMD...
  • eastcoast_pete - Sunday, October 29, 2023 - link

    Actually, for a "Microsoft Commissioned Processor", I found the absence of any senior MS exec or at least a spokesperson at this whole event especially noteworthy. Not exactly the ringing endorsement from Redmond, is it? And unless MS really throws serious weight behind this SoC, its impressive numbers won't matter much. Imagine an Apple M1, M2 or M3 without the ecosystem of MacOS behind it - that's the equivalent for this Oryon core-based SoC if MS doesn't stand behind it. Qualcomm won't sell millions of these just running Linux, and even support by QC for that leaves much to be desired.
  • lemurbutton - Monday, October 30, 2023 - link

    Oryon blows AMD mobile CPUs out of the water in terms of efficiency.

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