Qualcomm unveiled its latest mid-range chipset yesterday and are calling it the Snapdragon 732G. The Snapdragon 730G was quite common in phones around Rs 20,000 mark in India and going by the naming convention, the Snapdragon 732G seems like an upgrade to the 730G, right? Well, it is. Or maybe not.
At this point, we really shouldn’t be relying on the department at Qualcomm dedicated to numbering their chipsets because we all know that the Snapdragon 675 was supposedly better than the Snapdragon 710 and the Snapdragon 720G was a slight improvement in some aspects over the Snapdragon 730G and in both cases, the numbers indicate otherwise.
Don’t get us wrong, the Snapdragon 732G is of course, better than the Snapdragon 730G but we are not sure if the improvements that we will discuss hereon are worth launching a separate mobile platform. We will also address this question.
Snapdragon 732G vs Snapdragon 730G
We have done multiple mobile processor comparisons in the past where we individually compare every aspect like the CPU, GPU, DSP, ISP, cellular modem, camera compatibility, etc. However, given the similarities between both chipsets, we’ll just point out all the common aspects of the two chips and then move onto the improvements in the Snapdragon 732G.
Both the Snapdragon 732G and the Snapdragon 730G use Qualcomm’s Kryo 470 CPU cores along with Adreno 618GPU for gaming. While we are not aware of the clock speeds of the GPUs on both chips, it seems 732G has 15% higher performance. The CPUs, however, are clocked at slightly different speeds – Up to 2.2GHz on the Snapdragon 730G and up to 2.3GHz on the Snapdragon 732G. The extra 100MHz wouldn’t really make any difference while using the phone but will surely add to the benchmark scores of the 732G.
Both chipsets are based on the 8nm manufacturing process and use Qualcomm’s Hexagon 688 DSP and Spectra 350 ISP which means phones with either the Snapdragon 730G or the Snapdragon 732G can shoot videos at 4K 30fps. Cellular connectivity on both chipsets is also handled by the same X15 LTE modem. Both of them are Wi-Fi 6 ready.
If all these basic specifications including the CPU and GPU architecture (apart from the 100 MHz clock boost) are the same, then what’s the difference? Well, there’s support for Bluetooth 5.1 on the Snapdragon 732G which is not there on the Snapdragon 730G. It only has support for Bluetooth 5.0.
At least on paper, these are the only difference that we could point out between the Snapdragon 732G and the Snapdragon 730G but we will get a clearer idea once we get a phone with the Snapdragon 732G and compare it with a phone running on the 730G to see if there’s any noticeable difference while using the two devices.
Why does the Snapdragon 732G exist?
Now going back to the question as to what was the necessity of launching the Snapdragon 732G and calling it an upgrade when there’s no big difference and the performance gains are a meager 100Mhz of additional clock speed? Technically, Qualcomm didn’t even have to make these additional Snapdragon 732G chips. They might as well be selling their older stockpile of the Snapdragon 730G with faults as the Snapdragon 732G to brands with some minor changes like updated Wi-Fi antennas make it seem newer. And that is referred to as Processor Binning.
What is Processor Binning?
It is important to understand that processors are manufactured using silicon molds and the process is quite complex. During the different processes, while manufacturing, there may be certain faults that can arise in some particular chipsets in the manufacturing line. Faults, like how the name may indicate need not always mean a defect. A fault basically means that there were some irregularities while manufacturing that chip which has led it to function in a certain way that is not according to the expected performance.
For example, if a processor has been designed to work with a clock speed of 2GHz, then all the processors being manufactures with that design will not have the exact 2GHz clock speed due to faults. Out of all the processors manufactured, about 10% may have a clock speed of 1.9GHz instead of 2GHz and another 10% may be clocked at 2.1GHz. These chips with irregularities are called binned processors.
Given that the manufacturing process is complex and expensive, Qualcomm, or any company for that matter cannot dispose of these chips just because they’re as per the design. And due to these irregularities, Qualcomm cannot even club them with the regular processors clocked at 2GHz. Hence, they sell these binned processors with some small changes like in this case Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support as a separate or new line of processors.
The Snapdragon 732G, for all we know, might just be a binned version of the Snapdragon 730G which means a production line of the Snapdragon 730G encountered a fault while manufacturing which led to the clock speed being higher by 100MHz and Qualcomm has now launched it as the Snapdragon 732G with some minor changes.
The Poco X3 is expected to be one of the first smartphones to be powered by the new Snapdragon 732G so once that is out, we should get a practical idea about how the performance of the chip compares to the last-gen Snapdragon 730G.
Update: We have missed one important difference between 730G and 732G. Even though both of them have Adreno 618 GPU, the one on Snapdragon 732G is clocked 15% higher (just like on Snapdragon 720G).