Qualcomm’s current line of Snapdragon S4 processors use dual-core CPUs, but will soon receive an upgrade when quad-core CPU models become commercially available. These processors will also include an updated graphics processor, the Adreno 320. This week at Uplinq, tablets with the quad-core Snapdragon S4 were on display, running an application called “Fortress.”
What makes the chip different is that you can throttle the clockspeed of each CPU within the quad-core if a full 2.5GHz is not required. Being able to use slower speeds and powering off the CPU cores can save a lot of power and ultimately extend battery life.
The demo, designed to show off the graphic capabilities of the new chip, shows a statue in a desert oasis. You swipe up, down, left, and right to control the camera angle at which you view the statue. As you move around it, a panel on the right allows you to toggle graphic elements in the landscape like water. Each element has its own physics, so it looks different according to the lighting or camera angle. For example, if you’re looking at the oasis from the top down, you can look through the pool of water to see a blurry bottom. But if you change the angle to view the pool from the side, the water will actually reflect the light and the statue.
The same panel gives the user the ability to select how many cores they would like to use; the fewer cores, the fewer graphical features you get. A panel on the left shows the CPU cores and how the performance and graphics tasks are distributed across each CPU core.
The movement throughout the app was extremely smooth and the graphics were really gorgeous. The cloth blowing in the wind and the colors reflected off the water really popped.
Fortress is still a work in progress, but Qualcomm’s in-house gaming studio assures us that they plan to add more features to be shown at trade shows later this year. It’s possible that they may release Fortress as a free app once the Snapdragon S4 quad-core becomes available in commercial devices later this year.