Quest Pro: Qualcomm XR2 up to 30 percent faster – report
Meta’s new VR headset will be more powerful than Meta Quest 2, thanks to a modified XR2 chip.
The Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1, which is in pretty much every standalone VR headset, is several years old: Qualcomm introduced the chip at the end of 2019, and it appeared in Meta Quest 2 in 2020. The Snapdragon XR2 is a derivative of the Snapdragon 865 smartphone SoC optimized for VR and AR, which was used in premium models of 2020 and is thus no longer up-to-date.
According to hardware analyst Brad Lynch, Project Cambria (likely Quest Pro) will use a modified XR2 chip, which could also be used in the Meta Quest 3 next year. According to his source, the chip revision will offer up to 30 percent more performance, mostly thanks to a spatial separation of CPU and RAM.
Less waste heat, higher clock speed
CPU and RAM are typically layered on top of each other, which reduces manufacturing costs but generates more waste heat. By separating the CPU and RAM, the manufacturer can clock the chip higher, Lynch says.
The performance of a headset chip is primarily limited by heat generation. The Meta Quest 2’s XR2 is known to run at half load to avoid overheating. The Vive Focus 3 can access the full clock of the XR2 thanks to a more generous cooling solution, which translates into up to 2.5 more CPU power. In return, you can hear the fan under full load and the headset is a good bit heavier than the Meta Quest 2.
Extra power could go into resolution
Lynch says Meta could get even more performance out of the XR2 with better cooling. Datamining of the Quest firmware revealed that Project Cambria will get dual fans.
According to Lynch, the combination of CPU and RAM separation, better cooling, and also faster RAM could provide a noticeable performance boost, which could be reflected in higher app resolutions, for example.
These improvements would explain why Bloomberg predicts a significantly higher CPU and graphics performance for Project Cambria.
Meta Quest 3 could also still use the XR2
Lynch says the updated XR2 Gen 1 will appear first in Meta’s headset and will likely be available to other manufacturers. He also speculates that Meta Quest 3 may receive the same chip and not an XR2 Gen 2 or similar.
This is hinted at by the codename of the Quest 3 prototype’: “Heureka865” refers to the Snapdragon 865 that the XR2 Gen 1 is based on. According to Lynch, the prototype uses a display that offers 30 percent more pixels than Meta Quest 2. This percentage would correspond to the performance gain of the modified XR2 Gen 1.