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Qualcomm: The Mighty Dragon Processor

On today’s date, it’s a very common thing for us to carry a mobile phone; even more precisely a smart-phone. But it’s also the fact that many of us being a smartphone user don’t know the impact of a microprocessor being applied on, and the changes that tech industries bring regarding the better performance of the microprocessors.

There is various kind of companies that manufactures smartphone processors, like Qualcomm, Nvidia, MediaTek, Samsung, etc. These companies manufacture the processors accordingly and independently.  Again the architecture being based upon these above companies make their microprocessors is licensed by ARM Cortex Company. This ARM provides the blueprint or the architecture of the microprocessors and these companies modify accordingly. With no doubt you might have seen or heard words like “ARM-Cortex A53, ARM-Cortex A72, etc.” this means the architecture of these two microprocessors is different and the architecture of the later one is more complex than that of the previous one.

But surely there are also other factors which can make a huge impact on the decision of choosing a good performing processor. As the architecture complexity is denoted by the number behind it like ARM-Cortex-A72; so being the architecture complex it will have good performance and the frequency speed up to which it can operate is also determined by the architecture.


To make it simple, Cortex A72 cores are more powerful than Cortex A53 cores whereas Cortex A53 is more power-efficient than Cortex A72 cores. 

Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, and Apple modifies the architecture given to them by ARM.

Processing Technologies:

As we know that a microprocessor consist of many tiny transistors and these tiny transistor fabrications will make a huge impact on the performance as well, smaller transistor fabrication faster will be the processing. Here, we need to acknowledge the fact that smaller transistor fabrications faster will be the processing of that processor.

Qualcomm and Samsung collaborate on 10 nm process technology
Qualcomm and Samsung collaborate on 10 nm process technology

As of now, we only have smartphones with 14nm FinFET processing technology from Qualcomm, which is Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 available in the Nepali market. FinFET is nothing but just a type of non-planar or “3D” transistor used in the design of modern processing. Talking about the other processors Samsung has also 14nm FinFET technology used on their processor. Whereas other companies processors are larger than that i.e 20nm and around.  Likewise, eventually, Qualcomm and Samsung jointly launched Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with the 10nm FinFET processing technology, which allows up to a 30% increase in area efficiency with 27% higher performance and up to 40% lower power consumption.  Talking about MediaTek, its Helio X20 series is built in 20nm architecture whereas the upcoming Helio X30 series will be in 10nm architecture.

To understand in a simple way keeping every other aspect constant, the smaller the processing technology is, the more power-efficient will be the processing.

No. Of Cores:

Here no. of cores refers to the element found in the main processor that reads and executes instructions. The more no. of cores the more processor can divvy up the things that we ask our processor to execute. But this doesn’t mean that Octa-core is always faster than Hexa-core or quad-core is always slower than Hexa-core. Let me give an example: Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 which is a Hexa-core processor is more powerful compared to MediaTek Octa-core CPUs out there. That is because Snapdragon 650 comes with 4 power-efficient Cortex-A53 cores and 2 powerful Cortex-A72 cores whereas the Octa-core processor available in MediaTek comes with only Cortex-A53 cores. Similarly, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Quad-core processor is more powerful compared to the MediaTek Helio X20 Deca-core processor.

Well for the frequency it’s a clock attached to a processor. And for mathematics 1GHZ can work 1 billion times in a second.

Qualcomm till now is focusing on quad-core processors as well as on Octa-core but they are increasing its clock-frequency and reducing fabrication meter. The frequency till now of Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor is 2.4GHZ and is planning to launch the increased frequency up to 2.45GHZ in its new Snapdragon 835 processor. Again Mediatek which is the inventor of the first DECA-CORE processor is here to challenge with its new Helio X20 and X25 embracing the tri-cluster technology with the processing fabrication of 20nm.


From the start, till now the maximum limit for the camera scenario that Qualcomm has tried reaching is 55MP (MEGAPIXEL) which was incorporated in the Snapdragon 810 processor. Likewise, Qualcomm last year had launched Clear Sight Technologyconsisting of the ISP(Image Signal Processing) which was featured in Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and 821 processors. Clear Sight consists of a single, fully integrated hardware module that contains two cameras, plus computational low light imaging algorithms that enable Qualcomm Spectra ISPs, designed to take photos at the exact same time and merge the two photos together, instantaneously, with outstanding image quality even in low lighting.

Qualcomm Clear Sight Technology
Qualcomm Clear Sight Technology

Both Qualcomm and MediaTek have ISP as mentioned above. Even more precisely Qualcomm has been using 2x Image Sensor Processor (ISP), 14-bit, Dual Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and Clear Sight camera features. But MediaTek differs slightly. Mediatek is trying to challenge Qualcomm even in this by getting a camera of 32MP and 25MP with 24fps and 30fps respectively in its new Helio x20 and x25.

“To understand fps properly we can have some of the application that is possible because of higher fps:-”

The film is especially flexible in that it can be photographed and played back with a diverse range of speeds. Some examples are:

  • 1 frame per hour: Extreme time-lapse photography.
  • 1 frame per minute: Time-lapse photography and stop-motion animation.
  • 18 frames per second: Early motion picture films.
  • 24 frames per second: Worldwide standard for movie theater film projectors.
  • 48 frames per second: Slow-motion photography (because it takes twice as long to playback in a 24 fps projector, the motion is twice as slow).
  • 300+ frames per second: High-speed cameras for very slow-motion photography (often used for miniatures to make models seem larger on-screen).
  • 2500+ frames per second: Very high-speed cameras for special effects such as pyrotechnic photography and explosions.


The CPU, GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and the DSP (Digital Signal Processing) share the workload across the entire system to achieve maximum efficiency and help improve battery life.

Qualcomm Quick Charge Technologies
Qualcomm Quick Charge Technologies

The latest quick charge technology that Qualcomm has introduced can decrease the amount of time you spent tethered to an outlet giving device, and it’s 5 for 5-that’s 5hrs of battery life for 5 minutes of charging. This method has been featured in Snapdragon 835. Using the Snapdragon-powered devices with a Quick-Charge certified power adapter and any USB connector, including TYPE-C, you can refill the battery of enabled devices up to 4X faster than with the conventional charging.

So,  it seems that Qualcomm has a wide range of facility than of MediaTek and others even though MediaTek challenges in some of the above aspects Qualcomm proves that it’s a full package of a processor.

Let us know which chipset your smartphones have on the comment section below.


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