System Performance

To see how the new CPUs and memory subsystem translate into more real system performance, we move onto more representative tests such as PCMark. PCMark’s performance is affected by several factors: not only does raw performance of the hardware count but also we need to consider the individual system’s software stack. We’ve seen large differences between Android OS major versions where the improvements of the Android Runtime can be directly visible in subtests such as the Writing test. Also a SoC’s DVFS schemes and schedulers can have huge impacts on “performance-latency”, meaning how fast the CPUs can ramp up a workload. This directly translates in a lot more performance in several of PCMark’s subtests as in the default settings none of the tests actually represent the pure performance of the CPU if it were locked at maximum frequency on the performance cores. The results of the tests are also overall a good representation of “snappiness” of a device.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0

In the web browsing test the Snapdragon 845 QRD manages to outpace the Pixel 2 XL by 20%. Here we’re also looking at performance across devices with different OS versions. The Google devices are running Android 8.1 while the Samsung devices were tested with Android 7.0. The Mate 10 Pro runs Android 8.0 while the Mate 9 still had 7.0. The Qualcomm QRD we tested ran Android 8.0.

Again the performance increase over Snapdragon 835 devices isn’t all that great. DynamiQ allows for far more efficient thread transitions between the CPU cores and subsequently I expected Qualcomm to take advantage of this through more aggressive scheduling resulting in more than just a 20% increase. The difference between the Mate 9 and Mate 10 here is a good example of what a software configuration change can bring in terms of performance (both devices employ same performance CPU configurations). Samsung’s Exynos’ SoCs still use GTS scheduling and have non-optimal performance-latency resulting in bad scores, amplified by the fact that Samsung’s memory performance is also underwhelming when compared to the Snapdragon and Kirin SoCs.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Data ManipulationPCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0

The Data Manipulation and Writing 2.0 tests make heavy use of the Android runtime and APIs and also a very memory latency sensitive. Between the best showings of the Snapdragon 835 variant of the S8 and the Pixel 2 XL in each respective benchmark, the Snapdragon QRD845 showed conservative increases of 8 to 14%. The Exynos SoCs lacklustre performance is again hampered by software and by bad memory performance.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Video Editing

The video editing test is PCMark’s weak-point as it’s bottlenecked by things such as OS API overhead, and why we see tight grouping of performance results across a large range of SoCs. The Snapdragon 845 ends up high, but below the Pixel 2 XL. I would not put much weight on the results of this test as they’re not necessarily representative. Futuremark claims that the test is a lot more sensitive in mid- and low-range devices which can exhibit performance issues.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0

The photo editing test makes heavy use of Renderscript and use GPU acceleration to apply various effects on an image set. The QRD845 here shines as it’s able to showcase a 38% performance improvement over the Pixel 2 XL. Again the test not solely tests the raw performance of the system but also how optimized it is in terms of the software stack. This can be seen in the Kirin vs Exynos devices as Huawei’s phones vastly outperform Samsung’s devices in this test.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance

Overall PCMark’s performance score for the QRD845 increases by 17% over the Pixel 2 XL. Disregarding the video test, we see a similar scenario as in the synthetic tests as the new SoC’s CPU performance increases are lower than we had expected. Still the Snapdragon 845 is able to top the charts and should adequately power 2018’s flagship devices.

For 2018 we are reviewing our mobile benchmarking suite and altering some of the benchmarks we use. One of the changes in the way we benchmark devices is that we’re moving away from standalone browser and rather are benchmarking the OS’s WebView implementations. In general this seems to be a better choice for testing device experience as there is a lot of content that is being consumed via WebView windows. We also avoid the argument about different browser performance and since Google has now made WebView an updatable Play Store component we should also have valid comparisons older devices and systems. On the iOS side we do the same as we now benchmark browser tests within a WkWebView shell.

WebXPRT 2015 - OS WebView

Starting off with WebXPRT 2015 for a last time before we’ll retire it in favour of WebXPRT 3, we see the QRD845 performing fantastically. Here the 44% performance increase over the Pixel 2 XL is a lot more in line with what we had expected of the new SoC. The QRD845 is even able to catch up a lot with Apple’s newest A11 and Monsoon cores in this test.

To keep up with the ever changing landscape of the developing web, we’re also retiring past JavaScript benchmarks in favour of a brand new and more representative benchmark developed by the WebKit team and welcomed by Google; Speedometer 2.0.

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView

Here the Snapdragon 845 showcased another healthy performance increase of 37% over the Snapdragon 835 devices. Apple’s superior JavaScript performance can be attributed to a much faster and more optimized Nitro engine while Google’s V8 has only seen meagre improvements over the years. Notable is the Apple A11’s massive performance jump over the A10 – vastly increasing the distance to Android devices.

CPU & Memory Subsystem GPU Performance & Power Estimates
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  • Wardrive86 - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    Need an edit button..128 kb L2 per core for both clusters in the 670, 128 kb L2 per core big, 64kb per core little in the 640. Reply
  • Wardrive86 - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    Correction the 670 should have Kryo 385 silver cores instead of 360 Silver.
    Kryo 385 Gold (A75/256 KB L2)
    Kryo 360 Gold (A75/128 KB L2)
    Kryo 385 Silver (A55/128 KB L2)
    Kryo 360 Silver (A55/64 KB L2)

    Snapdragon 460 : 4 x 1.8 GHz Kryo 360 Silver, 4 x 1.4 GHz Kryo 360 Silver, no L3, No system cache, Adreno 605, dual channel lpddr4x. Sorry for the triple post
    Reply
  • serendip - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    So the 640 has 6x A55 and 2x A75 while the 670 has 4x A55 and 4x A75. All this Intel-aping gold and silver nonsense gives me a headache.

    I wonder why the 640 needs so many small and light cores. The 670 looks like an update to the rarely used 652 and its higher cost could also lead to OEMs favoring the 640.
    Reply
  • Wardrive86 - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    Probably don't want to lose out on multithread performance. The 625, 626, 630 all use 8 A53s and have remarkable performance. Android 6 and 7 will regulars fire up all 8 cores in typical daily useage Reply
  • austonia - Thursday, February 15, 2018 - link

    new CPU looks great, but so did the 835. i'd love to buy it. however it's gotta come in a phone with a removable battery or i'll keep using a Note4. Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Monday, February 19, 2018 - link

    Missing word in this sentence from the article:
    "For the integer workload results we see a healthy performance across the various tests."

    Guessing the missing word is "increase" after performance.
    Reply
  • SoC lover - Friday, March 02, 2018 - link

    I like adreno GPU even i overclock it it never lags and heat like Mali GPU Reply
  • sonu12345 - Monday, August 06, 2018 - link

    do you have any reference of above given data Reply
  • Gdhsczyanxv - Thursday, November 15, 2018 - link

    Snapdragon 845 e A11 sem dúvidas são muito impressionantes, os chips da Apple sempre costumam ser mais rápidos e atingem pontuações de Benchmark maiores, mais tem que analisar que o ios é bem mais leve que o Android e a maçã desenvolve tanto o software quanto o hardware, daí a maior otimização. Se colocar esse A11 em um smart Android é capaz de ele rodar mau o sistema de tão pesado que é o Android, bem como o Snapdragon 845 pode rodar mau o ios por não ter sido desenvolvido para esse sistema. Reply
  • hhashemi - Saturday, January 12, 2019 - link

    When comparing Snapdragon 835 to iPhoneX in general FMA throughput, we've found the iPhone to be far superior (about 3x more to be specific).
    You can experiment for yourself. The app below uses the same compute shader on iPhone (Metal) and Samsung (OpenCL). It seems the the iPhone's compute can be accessed via general compute shaders, but the Snapdragon needs special Hexagon code to tap into full compute power. That's a major issue for android developers, as it means even more fragmentation in the Android market.

    iTunes TestFlight:
    https://testflight.apple.com/join/NK6HmGOW
    Android Store (Unreleased):
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com....
    Reply

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