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First Look: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chips, 802.11ac Wi-Fi

updated 11:45 am EST, Tue February 28, 2012

Quad Krait cores paired with Adreno 320

NVIDIA's Tegra 3 chipset has proven overwhelmingly popular for high-end smartphones and tablets introduced this week at Mobile World Congress, however Qualcomm brought its competing Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset to Barcelona to tout its performance in the quad-core category. We took a look at a reference tablet running the new components, which promise a significant improvement in graphics performance.

The company ran a demo showing four simultaneous HD video streams, each handled by one of the S4 Pro's four Krait cores. All of the streams appeared to maintain a high frame rate, without running each core up to its maximum clock speed.

A separate demo showed how Qualcomm's power management system powered down cores that did not need to be running, bringing an improvement to power efficiency. The system promises to enable much higher performance without requiring an equivalent sacrifice to battery life.

Qualcomm suggests its new Adreno 320 GPU is four times faster than the previous generation, while the S4 Pro chipset and even the dual-core S4 are both claimed to outperform the quad-core Tegra 3 chips. We were not able to do an apples-to-apples comparison between the hardware, but the S4 Pro definitely did not appear to be any slower than NVIDIA's technology.

The chip maker also brought along new Wi-Fi equipment that takes advantage of the new 802.11ac technology. The company was achieving 230Mbps speeds in a test on the show floor, which is notorious for slowing down many Wi-Fi connections to a halt due to network congestion.

We are curios to know which devices will arrive on the market with the S4 Pro, however Qualcomm has yet to announce such information.

by MacNN Staff



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