Qualcomm Increases Die Size >40% to Create World’s Most Advanced LTE-A Communication/Quad-Core Application Processor in a Samsung Galaxy S4 Variant

24 Jul 2013

ABI Research reports that Qualcomm’s latest combination application/communication processor, the 8974 (which belongs to the Snapdragon 800 family), has a die area over 40% larger than the prior generation MSM8960 (an S4 plus dual core Krait application processor/ LTE modem) which measured 85.6sq mm. The 8974 improves nearly all aspects of the prior generation, including:

  • 2.3GHz quad-core Krait 400 application processor
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • Full suite of connectivity (including 802.11ac, GPS, GNSS, and BT 4.0)
  • LTE-Advanced modem capable of supporting 150Mbps data rates via carrier aggregation

“Qualcomm has introduced a number of industry leading technologies with the 8974 and it did so in a single chip,” comments Jim Mielke, VP of engineering at ABI Research. “The 8974 is the only LTE-Advanced modem shipping in mass production to date and the Krait 400 is amongst the upper echelon of application processors. Combining these two technologies with advanced connectivity, an improved graphics processor, a 21Mp image processor, a 600MHz DSP, a 4K display driver, and more, is an amazing feat in itself. We have yet to see (in production) an LTE modem combined with any level of application processor from other suppliers.” In addition to the exciting integration levels, the new chip showed improvements in a number of power drain test compared to prior generations. Mielke concludes: “This phone is a clear example of where Qualcomm excels: Advanced Technology.”

The SHVE330 is the first instance of the 8974 chipset. The phone includes updated power management chips, Qualcomm’s Envelope Power tracker solution, dual transceivers (for carrier aggregation), Broadcom’s NFC chip, and Broadcom’s combination connectivity chip (integrated into a module). The additional connectivity suite is interesting since the core chipset supports most of the same functions. Other Samsung Galaxy S4’s also use the Broadcom solution.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A (SHVE330s) phone with the 8974 chipset is just one of the Teardowns ABI Research has in its Teardown Service. The complete teardown includes dismantling photos, HD board photos, part list, major component teardowns, die photos, X-rays, a complete set of power measurements, and a block diagram.

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