The successor to the Snapdragon 653 is finally here and it’s called the Snapdragon 660. Qualcomm made the switch to the 14nm manufacturing node with the Snapdragon 820, which started rolling out at the beginning of 2016. The company also made the 14nm node accessible to the mid-range segment with the Snapdragon 625, the successor to the Snapdragon 617. The 14 FinFET node allowed for vastly increased efficiency, with the SD625 consuming 35% less energy when compared to the 28nm SD617.
As a result, the Snapdragon 625 turned out to be extremely popular, powering everything from the $150 Redmi Note 4 to the $500 BlackBerry KEYone. Looking ahead to the latter half of 2017, Qualcomm has rolled out key updates to the Snapdragon 600 series with two new chipsets — the Snapdragon 630 and the Snapdragon 660.
The Snapdragon 630 is the direct successor to the Snapdragon 625, offering 30% faster cores, support for Bluetooth 5, a faster LTE modem, USB 3.1 with USB-C, a new ISP, and Quick Charge 4.0. The Snapdragon 660 is the more interesting of the two, as it is the successor to the Snapdragon 653. The Snapdragon 660 is designed to bring flagship-class performance to the mid-range segment, with Qualcomm rolling out a slew of updates.
The chipset features custom Kryo cores — a first for this segment, a new Adreno 512 GPU, Snapdragon X12 LTE modem with download speeds of 600Mbps and 3x carrier aggregation, Wi-Fi ac with 2×2 MU-MIMO, a Spectra 160 image signal processor, Bluetooth 5, Quick Charge 4.0, and USB 3.1. Qualcomm is touting a 20% increase in performance when compared to the SD653 from the new Kryo 260 cores, and a 30% uptick for the GPU.
There’s no information on the underlying ARM core the Kryo 260 is based on, but it’s likely Qualcomm is using a semi-custom design, much like what it did with the Kryo 280 on the Snapdragon 835. The core configuration is split into two sectors — performance and efficiency, with the former featuring four 2.2GHz cores and the latter four 1.8GHz cores.
The Spectra 160 is particularly interesting, as it enables a lot of camera experiences that have thus far been limited to flagship chipsets. The ISP supports hybrid autofocus, dual rear camera setups (up to 16MP for each imaging sensor), dual photodiode autofocus, smooth optical zoom, and EIS for video.