Faster 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 800 spotted in China, will it show up in 2014 flagship phones?

Have you ever wondered why Intel sells processors at 2.6 GHz, 2.4 GHz, and 2.2 GHz speeds instead of offering just one speed tier? The answer has something to do with a chip fabrication term known as “binning”. When Intel makes chips, they need to test them for defects, which means putting them through a barrage of benchmarks at a certain frequency and at a certain voltage. Not every chip will hit that max 2.6 GHz speed, but instead of throwing it away, it gets tested again at 2.4 GHz. If it passes Intel’s tests, then boom, there’s your slower chip.

Qualcomm’s flagship chip, the Snapdragon 800, comes in two flavors. There’s the 2.2 GHz variant and the 2.3 GHz variant. Thanks to the Chinese website MyDrivers, who points to a Weibo (Chinese Twitter) post from the head of a smartphone maker known as Gionee, it appears that Qualcomm will introduce a third Snapdragon 800 variant that can hit 2.5 GHz.

How did Qualcomm make a faster Snapdragon all of a sudden? The thing is, Qualcomm doesn’t actually make their chips. They contract that work to another company like TSMC. If TSMC has managed to improve the quality of their chip manufacturing, then those benefits trickle down to their customers, hence the existence of this faster Snapdragon 800.

Will the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC Two have this chip inside? While I admit to having zero information about either devices, I wouldn’t say it’s a stretch to come to the conclusion that they’ll want to make sure they have the fastest chips on the market inside their flagship phones.