Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 865 Plus is its most powerful mobile chip, designed for gaming

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Qualcomm has announced a refreshed version of its flagship Snapdragon 865 processor called the Snapdragon 865 Plus, which is designed to boost performance by almost 10 percent for gaming and AI applications.

There are three key improvements of the Snapdragon 865 Plus from the stock standard 865:

  • The Kryo 585 CPU has had its clock speed boosted up to a maximum of 3.1GHz, which is 10 percent higher than the standard 865
  • The Adreno 650 GPU offers 10 percent faster graphics rendering
  • Newly added compatibility for Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6900 connectivity suite, which the company says supports Wi-Fi speeds up to 3.6Gbps

It’s a similar refresh to last year’s Snapdragon 855 Plus model, which offered improvements to CPU and GPU performance for gaming compared to the regular 855. It also means that Qualcomm isn’t using the midyear refresh to add the most anticipated upgrade to the Snapdragon 865: integrating the Snapdragon X55 modem into the main chipset instead of requiring a separate component within the phone (which takes up more space and can impact battery life). Unfortunately, it seems like that improvement will have to wait for Qualcomm’s 2021 flagship, at the earliest.

For the most part, the Snapdragon 855 Plus tended to pop up in gaming-focused Android phones, like the Asus ROG Phone II, the Nubia Red Magic 3, and the Black Shark 2 Pro, although it also was in more mainstream devices like the OnePlus 7T Pro, too. So far, it looks like the Snapdragon 865 Plus will continue that gaming emphasis, with Asus announcing that its upcoming ROG Phone III will feature the new chip, while Lenovo says that it’ll appear in new Legion-branded devices later this year.

Qualcomm says that the first Snapdragon 865 Plus phones will be officially announced starting in Q3, so don’t expect to see it popping up in upcoming flagships like the Galaxy Note 20 just yet.

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