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Dev kit revs up 26-TOPS Snapdragon 888

Feb 2, 2021 — by Eric Brown 1,923 views

Lantronix has launched a “Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK” that runs Android 11 on Qualcomm’s latest 5nm SoC. The kit provides 12GB LPDDR5 and 6x 4-lane CSI links.

Qualcomm announced its 5nm-fabricated Snapdragon 888 in December and now the Intrinsyc division of Lantronix has opened $1,349 preorders for a Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK with shipments due in early February. The Snapdragon 888 has 25 percent faster CPU performance, 35 percent faster graphics rendering, and 3x times faster AI performance than the 7nm, Cortex-A77 based Snapdragon 865, which appeared last February in an Android 10-powered, Lantronix Snapdragon 865 Mobile HDK and in September in its Open-Q 865XR SOM.

Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK (left) and Speed Test G benchmark results between Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100 based versions of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (lower is better)
(click images to enlarge)

The Snapdragon 888’s Kyro 680 CPU debuts Arm’s new Cortex-X1 architecture on one of the 8x cores, which is clocked to up to 2.84GHz on the new Mobile HDK. There are also 3x cores with the new Cortex-A78 clocked to 2.42GHz and 4x Cortex-A55 at 1.8GHz. (Note: Qualcomm and Lantronix list only the 2.84GHz Cortex-X1 clock rate — the others come from a Dec. 2 AnandTech report, which followed an earlier AnandTech deep dive into the Cortex-X1 and -A78 from last May.)

The Cortex-X1 architecture is claimed to provide over 22 percent faster integer performance than the Cortex-A78 and 30 percent faster than the Cortex-A77. As the new naming scheme suggests, the Cortex-X line is a departure from the usual Arm Cortex-A balancing act between performance, power, and area considerations. Instead, Arm has focused almost entirely on performance, says AnandTech. Cortex-X1 is deployed on the Snapdragon 888, as well as Samsung’s Exynos 2100, as a single core designed for peak performance bursts. The Cortex-X line also breaks from the norm in that Arm is willing to customize the architecture for leading semiconductor licensees.


As usual with Qualcomm, the gaudy new CPU cores are complemented with major breakthroughs in the co-processors. As noted, the new Adreno 660 GPU delivers up to 35 percent faster graphics rendering than the 587MHz Adreno 650 on the Snapdragon 865. However, the biggest news is a “completely re-designed,” 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine built around a new Qualcomm Hexagon 780 DSP.

The Hexagon 780 features a second-gen Qualcomm Sensing Hub and up to 26-TOPs AI performance, up from 15-TOPS on the Snapdragon 865. The DSP delivers 3x times the performance-per-Watt and 16 times larger shared AI memory compared to the previous generation.

Snapdragon 888 CPU block (left) and other co-processors, including 26-TOPS Hexagon 780 DSP
(Source: Qualcomm via AnandTech)
(click images to enlarge)

The Hexagon 780 is joined by a new, tri-core Qualcomm Spectra 580 ISP, which can capture images from up to 3x cameras simultaneously at up to 2.7 gigapixels per second, claims Qualcomm. The 14-bit ISP enables 120fps burst snapshots and the ability to capture 3x 4K HDR videos at the same time. It also offers a new low light architecture.

Among other enhancements to security, gaming, WiFi 6, and other areas such as the Adreno VPU 665, the Snapdragon 888 supports up to 12GB of speedy, 3200MHz LPDDR5 RAM. The SoC is also touted as being the first mobile SoC with built-in 5G. By comparison, the Snapdragon 865 offered 5G, but only on a separate chipset.

The 5G version, which is not used by the Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK, features a 3rd-gen Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System that supports 5G sub-6 carrier aggregation and mmWave for speeds of up to 7.5Gbps. Global 5G multi-SIM support allows for international roaming and managing personal and work numbers on the same phone.

The Snapdragon 888 will appear soon on Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, as well as other phones like ZTE’s Axon 30 Pro 5G. A A Speed Test G YouTube video shows the S21 Ultra benchmarked against the same phone equipped with Samsung’s new Samsung Exynos 2100 (see image at top). The Exynos 2100, which will be available on the S21 Ultra in some markets outside the US, offers the same configuration of 1x Cortex X1 with 3x -A78 and 4x -A55 as the Snapdragon 888. The Snapdragon 888 won on most tests, as it also did in Golden Retriever SPECint benchmarks.

Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK

Lantronix has yet to formally announce the Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK, but as reported by CNXSoft, the company has posted product and shopping pages. The 100 x 85mm SBC runs Android 11 and ships with 12GB LPDDR-3200, a microSD slot, and 256GB of UFS 3.0 flash.

Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK
(click images to enlarge)

The Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK is equipped with a DSI-driven HDMI port and DisplayPort 1.4 via a USB 3.1 Type-C port. There are also dual, 4-lane MIPI-DSI connectors, which drive an optional 6.65-inch AMOLED touchscreen with WQHD (2340 x 1080) resolution. The display is part of an accessory bundle that supplies a JTAG connector and additional sensor and audio I/O.

The SBC provides a headphone jack connected to a Qualcomm WCD9385 codec. The listed audio expansion headers, which possibly are available only on the display expansion bundle, include 2x analog mic, 4x digital mic, and earpiece and speaker outputs.

The Mobile HDK provides 4x 4-lane MIPI-CSI interfaces with separate I2C control buses via a 160-pin expansion header. There are also two more 4-lane CSI links available on a high-speed header, providing 6x 4-lane links overall.

The 160-pin CSI connector supports an optional rear-facing camera board accessory, which includes a 48-megaixel IMX586 wide-angle camera along with a 16MP IMX481 ultra-wide-angle camera, a 13MP 3M5 telephoto camera, and a VGA rear ToF (Time-of-Flight) camera. The front-facing kit, which appears to use the second CSI pair, gives you a 20MP camera and a ToF camera.

The Mobile HDK communicates to the outside world via a Qualcomm WCN6851 module with dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax. There is also Bluetooth 5.0 and onboard trace antennas. Although we did not see it in the specs, there also appears to be a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The kit is further equipped with 2x USB 3.0 host ports in addition to the up to 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port. You also get a micro-USB debug port, an M.2 socket with PCIe Gen3 x2, sensor expansion headers, and low-speed GPIO. A sensor accessory board is optional. There is a 12V/5A input and battery support along with several PMICs.

Further information

The Snapdragon 888 Mobile HDK is available for pre-order at $1,349 with shipments due later this month. More information may be found on Lantronix’ shopping and product pages.

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