Qualcomm announced its 2021 flagship chipset this week, Snapdragon 888. It claims the new GPU is 35% more powerful than the one in Oculus Quest 2.
Standalone VR headsets like Quest use the same mobile chips as high end smartphones. Your phone has limited cooling capabilities so can usually only sustain its peak performance for a few minutes, but standalone VR headsets have a cooling fan and more space.
Qualcomm is the only major supplier of generally-available high performance mobile chips. Samsung makes chips for its own devices, occasionally making specific deals with others. Taiwan-based MediaTek makes generally available chips, but they don’t offer the same peak performance. Apple’s chips are exclusive.
The original Oculus Quest shipped in mid 2019 but used the Snapdragon 835 – Qualcomm’s 2017 flagship. Quest 2 sports Snapdragon XR2, a variant of 2020’s Snapdragon 865 designed specifically for headsets.
Snapdragon XR2/865 have the Adreno 650 GPU, which our benchmarks suggest is roughly twice as powerful as the one in Nintendo Switch.
Snapdragon 888, shipping in smartphones next year, is the successor to 865. It was originally expected to be called 875. “888” is considered lucky in China.
It sports Qualcomm’s newest Adreno 660 GPU, which the company claims is its greatest generational leap yet with 35% faster peak performance and 20% better power efficiency.
Reports have suggested this new chipset could cost over 50% more than its predecessor, which if true means it may not be suitable for consumer VR devices. It’s possible Facebook could launch a ‘Pro’ or enterprise-focused HMD using it, or HTC could take the opportunity to update the Vive Focus Plus which still uses the same 2017 chip as the original Quest.