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Qualcomm Announces Brand New 680 DSP To Go With Its 820 Chip

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Qualcomm has come up with a brand new signal processing chip that promises to revolutionize the field. Part of the company’s Hexagonal series, the 680 DSP brings along a whole bunch of important upgrades and perks. The chip will form part of Qualcomm’s latest 820 series of processors and will further enhance the already improved 820.

Designed to perform certain tasks faster than the main processors, DSPs help the main chip by offloading certain group of operations. True to that, the 680 is likely to provide for better battery life, improved location data even without a strong navigation signal, and better photos. What’s more, with certain phones — such as the Nexus 5 — it was found to have almost doubled the music playback time.


The chip is also designed to ensure that tasks that always run in the background — such as those that count your steps or pin-point your location — are handled by it rather than the main CPU — which would in all fairness, be like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Instead we have the small, low power-consuming 680 DSP that takes care of all these background tasks. Predictably, the battery life is improved and you get more accurate data too for services like the GPS.

The 680 also supports  Hexagon Vector eXtensions that serve to make the chip that more powerful particularly in advanced imaging and computer vision. The 820 will ostensibly use the image sensor and DSP to adaptive brighten areas of both video and photos that would otherwise appear too dark, thus improving the overall quality. The chip can perform the task on its own too, but with 680 lending a hand, it takes only a fraction of a power with  times the speed.

Qualcomm is currently showcasing the chip at the HotChips convention on high performance chips and we can expect them to grace smartphones in the future along with Qualcomm’s 820 series of chips.


Well, Qualcomm has been taking a lot of fire in recent days due to issues with its 810, which dropped from being the favorite of smartphone makers to a virtual ‘device heater’ that made OEMs such as Samsung and LG, start manufacturing their own processing units. However, if all the claims the company has been making about the 820 and now the 680 DSP turn out to be true, the chips may just herald Qualcomm’s comeback in the field.


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