New GPU cores for Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors

August 13, 2015 // By Julien Happich
Qualcomm Technologies has unveiled its next-generation visual processing technology with new versions of its graphics processing unit (GPU) and image signal processing (ISP) unit, which the company believes will deliver significant advancements in performance, power efficiency and user experience to its Snapdragon processors.

The Qualcomm Adreno 5xx GPU architecture is claimed to deliver increased speed and efficiency over the previous generation and supports high-definition mobile graphics while introducing general-purpose compute co-processing for exceptionally low power consumption.

The first two GPUs available on the new architecture, the Adreno 530 and Adreno 510, will be available integrated within the forthcoming Snapdragon 820 and Snapdragon 620/618 processors.

In addition, Snapdragon 820 will also debut the new 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra image signal processing (ISP) unit, designed to support superior DSLR-quality photography and enhanced computer vision.

The Qualcomm Spectra ISP is expected to deliver superior image quality, with more natural skin tones via advanced, 14-bit dual ISPs supporting up to 3 simultaneous cameras (e.g. one facing the user, and two rear facing), and up to 25 megapixels at 30 frames per-second with zero shutter lag.

It features a flexible hybrid autofocus framework and multi-sensor fusion algorithms for next generation computational photography. Devices based on Snapdragon 820 are expected to be available in 1H 2016. Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm Adreno and Qualcomm Spectra are products of QTI.

"We're significantly enhancing the visual processing capabilities of Snapdragon to support next-generation user experiences related to computational photography, computer vision, virtual reality and photo-realistic graphics on mobile devices, all while maximizing battery life," said Tim Leland, Qualcomm Technologies' vice president for product management, in a company statement.

"Qualcomm Spectra ISP, together with our Adreno 5xx-class GPU, brings an entirely new level of imaging to smartphones, and is designed to allow Snapdragon-powered devices to capture ultra-clear, vivid photos and videos regardless of motion and lighting conditions and display them with the colour accuracy that nature intended. In addition, as emerging growth segments such as automotive demand more immersive visual experiences, Snapdragon 820 will enable the next generation of infotainment, computer vision and advanced processing for instrument clusters."

Designed for scalability, the Adreno 5xx architecture is the foundation of Qualcomm Technologies' next-generation custom GPUs and