GPU Performance

Moving on to the GPU tests, we see the P20’s make use of the Mali G72MP12 in the Kirin 970. The clock is the same 746MHz as in the Mate 10 – however as we’ll see, there’s some differences in terms of software that will affect the resulting benchmark scores.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

Starting off with the 3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited Physics test which is solely CPU-bound, we see the Huawei P20s top the chart both in terms of peak as well as sustained performance. This test is more of a representation of how the CPU handles thermally constrained scenarios – such as GPU workloads.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

Moving into the Graphics subtest, we see the current disadvantages of the Mali G72 as it doesn’t have enough shader power to cope with more arithmetic heavy workloads such as 3DMark’s flagship test. Between the Mate 10 and both P20’s, all of them showcase similar peak performance. The sustained performance however is better on the P20 Pro as it seems the phone has a higher thermal envelope, this is particularly noticeable in juxtaposition with the result of the smaller P20 which I ran side-by-side in this test.

GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

In GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex, we see some very odd performance regressions in the P20s compared to the Mate 10. As they have the same chipsets, you would expect the same performance out of both device lines. Unfortunately this was an issue that I first encountered on the Mate 10 back in December and had reached out to Huawei to sort out. It turned out that the initial firmware didn’t enable full frequency of the memory controller – this was eventually resolved in another firmware and the full performance was eventually unlocked (The Mate 10 Pro scores). It looks like the P20’s do not have this change in their global firmware and that’s why the performance is so mediocre.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen

T-Rex in particular suffers so badly from this because it’s a very heavy fill-rate and thus also bandwidth limited test that also happens to now run at quite high framerates. This creates a bottle-neck for the GPU and performance suffers dramatically.

The same effect can be seen in Manhattan 3.1, although to a lower degree. Unfortunately that also means that the P20’s aren’t competitive in this regard, and they also showcase some very bad sustained performance degradations to the point where they score lower than the P10.

Overall the P20’s greatly disappoint in terms of 3D performance. It was one thing to have the weaker GPU trail behind the competition, but it’s doubly disappointing to see the P20 firmware not have issues resolved that were identified some months ago. Huawei, HiSilicon and in part Arm here have to make some great efforts to become competitive again in this regard as this is nothing short of an embarrassing showcase for a flagship device.

System Performance Display Evaluation & Power
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  • Vishnu NS - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Andrei - I have the Mate 9 and I get regular monthly security updates. I just got my June 2018 update yesterday. Cheers! Love the review, strongly eyeing the Mate 10 Pro at $549 on Amazon currently. Also awaiting the Pixel 3 XL release later this year before making a new purchase.

  • chocolatine - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    My P10+ (in France) has the may 2018 security patches (and Android 8). Using the HiSuite software updater while your phone is plugged in your computer works much better than using the system update menu of the phone
  • amouses - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    The Mate10 is supported by Project Treble. And so swifter updates are possible. But so such assurance has been given for any P20 variant. I've repeatedly asked Huawei via official and unofficial forums. You will also notice that Huawei was absent from the Android P Beta programme. Not a good sign.
  • eastcoast_pete - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Thanks Andrei! While some other commentators here seem to have had luck getting updates for their Huawei phones, my experience mirrors yours - spotty or no updates. Would love to hear that they are fully committed to timely updates and longer-term support for their phones.
  • sonicmerlin - Sunday, June 17, 2018 - link

    Don't these come with Project Treble? Shouldn't that make updating far easier?
  • mmrezaie - Sunday, June 17, 2018 - link

    It doesn't on my Motorola! It is still on Android 8.0 and security update from Feb. I think I have got only three updates since it got introduced as one of the first Project Terrible phones. Pun intended.
  • Round - Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - link

    I'm sure Huawei will release updates as soon as they get an approved version from the communist government or the PLA, that has improved tracking apps built in at the OS level. You can trust these guys, along with their friends at ZTE, another stalwart of honesty and integrity.
  • Lodix - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Nice review.

    I noticed the Xiaomi Mi Mix2s has the same problems in terms of GPU throttling as the S9+. Do you know what is causing this behaviour?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    It's just the behaviour of S845 devices it seems - the MIX 2S review will be a separate piece after this.
  • ZolaIII - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    Probably the step into right direction. Xiaomi uses CAF defaults this day's & yes they are very aggressive.
    To answer the question;
    The A75's are about 50% larger more power hungry compared to the A73's both SoC's are made on the 10 nm Samsung FinFET while later one (S845) is made on more optimised one which is let's say capable of saving around 20% power compared to the early one. The S845 is also clocked hire and all do it's only 12~13% those eat additional 25~30% more power. The all FinFET structures leak insanely when the around 2.1~2.2GHz limit is crossed so more than that should be used for short bursts and only when really needed. In the end we have 1.5~1.6x CPU power consumption while sustainable power limit remains the same 2.5~2.7W. This is enough to diminish the A630 efficiency/performance/proces advantages of around 30% combined. Their is no hotpluging in user space whatsoever on any newer Snapdragon SoC's/builds (since removing the Core_ctl a year ago) which can help a lot regarding sustainable GPU performance. At the end it's at least easy to play with Kirin regarding limiting the CPU frequency scheduling as it uses good old interactive governor & I am certain it will be very beneficial regarding GPU through.

    Best regards.

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