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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  • iwod - Monday, February 12, 2018 - link

    Waiting to see what happen in A12. It will likely just be a A11 in 7nm, allowing peak performance for longer. May be some GPU update. But the Single Thread performance of S845 still has some way to go. But at least it is improving. Reply
  • ZolaIII - Monday, February 12, 2018 - link

    For a let's say user experience their won't be a viable difference between A11 & S845. The S845 has a DinamiQ & combination of it and new A75 based core's gives 50% speed up in UIX, Apple A11 don't have DinamiQ in fact it lags behind significantly & it's first one ever to implement even Big.Litle HPM setup. iOS lacks suspend apps to RAM which every Linux derivate including Android has so that pretty much melts down Apple's CPU advanced in running, re running apps. All do A75 is slower than the costume Apple CPU cores it's also significantly more efficient & current Apple graphics can't even match Adreno 5xx series efficiency while series 6xx are 30% more efficient. Still in the regular use their won't be any noticeable difference except Android powered phones with S845 will have longer SOT. Reply
  • Dr. Swag - Monday, February 12, 2018 - link

    A11 is quite a bit ahead in cpu performance and also the A10 was the first with big.LITTLE

    Qualcomm may lead in graphics but apple is much closer than any other vendor out there.
    Reply
  • ZolaIII - Monday, February 12, 2018 - link

    Yes first in Apple world & 4 years behind android SoC's... Reply
  • close - Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - link

    The fact that they could get by without big.LITTLE for so many years and still top the charts says a lot about their merits.

    It also says a lot about your fanboi attitude.
    Reply
  • id4andrei - Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - link

    Topping the charts until they throttled from heat and later from failed power delivery systems. As long as the product - the iphone - cannot sustain those performances then I'm afraid your bragging rights become invalid. Reply
  • star-affinity - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - link

    ”…and later from failed power delivery systems”.

    That is if the battery is in a bad state/worn out. My Iphone 6 is soon three years old and I my battery is still working well (620 cycles) and there's no down-throttling (according to Geekbench 4). I think that down-throttling due to a bad battery issue on iPhones has been taken too wide proportions.
    Reply
  • id4andrei - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - link

    Just like with Samsung, if the issue persists on too many devices per average sample - and it did otherwise Apple wouldn't have issued the "fix" - then Apple should have issued a recall. They didn't. They kneecapped the troubled devices thus gaming the strict warranty or insurance conditions. Reply
  • techconc - Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - link

    Apple's A series chips have been far more immune to heat based throttling than any equivalent Android phone in the past. If that's catching up with Apple now, that would be the first time. Sadly, Anandtech has chosen not to do an iPhone review this year. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, February 12, 2018 - link


    >It will likely just be a A11 in 7nm

    There's almost no, in fact no precedent, for Apple using a die shrink on an A series chip without further tweaks. The A7-A8 was the closest, but there were still CPU tweaks while they had the chance. Every generation improved IPC as they went.
    Reply

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