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Dev kit showcases 15-TOPS NPU equipped Snapdragon 865

Feb 22, 2020 — by Eric Brown 3,964 views

Intrinsyc’s “Snapdragon 865 Mobile HDK” runs Android 10 on the 7nm, octa-core, 2.84GHz Snapdragon 865 with 15-TOPS AI. The kit offers 6GB LPDDR5, WiFi-ax, and an optional 6-inch touchscreen and triple camera board.

In its first product announcement since being acquired by Lantronix, long-time Qualcomm hardware partner Intrinsyc has launched a Mobile Hardware Development Kit (HDK) that showcases Qualcomm’s latest, greatest mobile SoC, the Snapdragon 865. The Snapdragon 865 Mobile HDK runs Android 10, which will soon be followed by Android 11, featuring a Conversations tool and improved security. Android 11 was released a few days ago in a developer preview.

Snapdragon 865 Mobile HDK SBC (left) and with touchscreen option
(click images to enlarge)

The Lantronix acquisition came a few months after Inforce Computing, one of Intrinsyc’s major competitors in Qualcomm dev kits, was acquired by Smart Global Holdings. Lantronix, which we have not covered since its PremierWave SE1000 module back in 2014, is primarily known for its cellular routers and modems, but it also makes a lot of wireless-enabled IoT gateways boards such as its recent xPico 270 iFi/Bluetooth module and SGX 5150 gateway.

Snapdragon 865


Compared to Qualcomm’s 10nm-fabricated Snapdragon 855 found on Intrinsyc’s Snapdragon 855 Mobile HDK from last April, the Snapdragon 865 uses a cutting-edge 7nm process. For the four fastest cores in the similarly octa-core lineup, the 865 advances from a Cortex-A76 architecture (Kryo 485) to Cortex-A77 (Kryo 585). Cortex-A77 is also featured on the MediaTek 5G SoC.

The up to 2.84GHz -A77 based Kryo 585 cores are accompanied by 4x Cortex-A55-like Kyro cores clocked to 1.8GHz. All told, Qualcomm claims 25 percent faster CPU performance than the Snapdragon 855.

The Snapdragon 865 doubles the L3 cache to 4MB and moves up to a 587MHz Adreno 650 GPU. More significantly, it advances to a Hexagon 698 DSP with a 15-TOPS Hexagon Tensor Accelerator NPU using a touted 5th Gen AI engine, compared to 7 TOPS on the Snapdragon 855. This works hand in hand with a new Qualcomm Sensing Hub, which delivers “accurate voice detection and always-on contextual awareness for smarter virtual assistants,” says Qualcomm.

The dual-core, 14-bit Spectra 480 ISP is also a huge leap. It can process images at 2-Gigapixels per second, enabling Dolby Vision video capture, 8K video recording, HD slow-motion video @ 960fps, 200-megapixel photos, and simultaneous capture of 4K HDR video and 64-megapixel photos. There’s a lot more on this SoC, including Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, a security coprocessor, Qualcomm Quick Charge, GNSS and WiFi-6 (802.11ax) support, aptX and Aqstic audio technologies, and on and on.

The Snapdragon 865’s main claim to fame, however, is its Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System, which is not included on the Mobile MDK. Qualcomm has stirred controversy by putting the 5G on a separate chipset instead of integrating it in the smartphone version of the SoC. More controversial is its demand that smartphone vendors use the 5G chip. Since there are very few networks that support 5G, the modem also includes a 4G chip, which greatly increases power consumption. Even if you’re only using 4G, you can’t turn off the 5G baseband, which continues to drain the battery and adds to heat buildup.

Snapdragon 865 Mobile HDK

Intrinsyc’s open-frame Mobile HDK is built around a Snapdragon 865 built into a 100 x 85mm SBC, as opposed to using a compute module, as in Intrinsyc’s Snapdragon 845 based Open-Q 845 uSOM dev kit.. The features and layout are very similar to those of the Snapdragon 855 Mobile HDK.

Snapdragon 865 Mobile HDK side and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The HDK ships with 6GB LPDDR5x RAM using a POP form factor. Within LinuxGizmos’ embedded purview, we’ve mostly seen the faster DDR5 only on GPU cards from AMD and Nvidia and high-end mini-PCs such as Zotac’s ZBox Pro QK5P1000.

The Snapdragon 865 Mobile HDK is further equipped with 128GB of UFS 3.0 flash and a microSD slot. There’s a Qualcomm Wi-Fi Atheros (QCA6391) module with dual-band 802.11ac/ax and Bluetooth 5.1, but no GNSS this time around.

Coastline ports include 4K-ready HDMI, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C with DP 1.4 support, 2x USB 3.0 host ports, and a micro-USB 2.0 port. There also appears to be an Ethernet port on the opposite side.

Connectors are available for 2x 4-lane MIPI-DSI and 6x MIPI-CSI interfaces with support for 3D cameras. For audio, you get a Qualcomm WCD9385 codec, a headphone jack, and audio expansion headers for 2x analog mic, 5x digital mic, and loud-speaker and earpiece output. There’s also an M.2 socket, sensor expansion headers, and low-speed GPIO expansion.

An optional 6-inch, 2880 x 1440 capacitive touchscreen connects via a mezzanine daughtercard that offers additional I/O including audio, sensors, and JTAG. There’s also an option for a sensor accessory board and a camera board that provides a 20-megapixel front camera and 16MP and 5MP rear cameras with a ToF sensor.

Further information

The Snapdragon 865 Mobile HDK is available for $1,149. More information may be found in Intrinsyc’s announcement, product page, and shopping page.


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