GPU Performance & Power

On the GPU side of things, Qualcomm has long been leading the benchmark charts with the help of their in-house Adreno GPU architecture. With the Galaxy S10, we again see a new round of Adreno vs Mali in the Snapdragon and Exynos variants of the phone.

The Adreno 640 in the Snapdragon 855 has relatively conservative performance targets this generation. Here Qualcomm promises 20% better performance even though the GPU itself has a reported 50% more execution units. What has happened is that Qualcomm has dropped the clock frequency from 710MHz down to 585MHz, account for where most of that theoretical GPU performance is missing. The rationale here is to be able to run wider and slower, and thus more efficiently.

On the Exynos side of things, the new chip adopts a new Mali G76MP12 GPU clocked in at up to 702MHz. We’re already seen the GPU inside of the Kirin 980, however for whatever reason Samsung S.LSI has always been able to achieve better results than HiSilicon for several generations in a row, so it’ll be interesting to see how these two chipsets differ.

Starting off with the 3Dmark Sling Shot Extreme Unlimited test suite, the Physics workload is mostly a CPU bound test within a GPU thermally constrained scenario.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

The Exynos 9820 surprisingly takes the performance lead between both Galaxy S10 units. The result here is a very big change compared to previous generation Exynos SoCs. I hadn’t had the time to investigate if this is actually caused by improvements of the new M4 core or if the workload is being scheduled on the A75 cores. Both peak performance and sustained performance here are very good and are only beaten by Kirin 980 devices.

The Snapdragon 855 Galaxy S10 also posts excellent peak perf results, however the CPU seem to throttle quite a bit more, falling in line with what last year’s Snapdragon 845 devices were scoring.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics 

In the Graphics score of the workload, we come back to the familiar dominance of Qualcomm GPUs. What is interesting to see here is that both Galaxy S10 units sport worse sustained performance than the Note9 with last year’s chipsets. Most likely this is due to different thermal limits on these two Samsung devices.

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen

In the new GFXBench Aztec Ruins tests, the Exynos unit takes the lead in terms of sustained performance in the High variant test, only beaten by Apple’s newest iPhones. The phone doesn’t seem to reproduce the same lead in the Normal variant and subsequently slightly trails the Snapdragon 855 version. In sustained performance, the Exynos S10 beats last year’s predecessors, however the Qualcomm chip merely matches some of the better Snapdragon 845 devices from last year.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen

In Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen, we see both S10’s neck-in-neck in peak performance, and sustained performance also doesn’t seem all that different. The Exynos variant again shows big leaps over last year’s G72MP18 GPU, and the Qualcomm variant again is only able to match or actually lose out to some of the more thermally aggressive Snapdragon 845 units from last year.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
(W)
Perf/W
Efficiency
iPhone XS (A12) Warm 7FF 76.51 3.79 20.18 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak 7FF 103.83 5.98 17.36 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) 7FF 70.67 4.88 14.46 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Exynos 9820) 8LPP 68.87 5.10 13.48 fps/W
Galaxy S9+ (Snapdragon 845) 10LPP 61.16 5.01 11.99 fps/W
Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Kirin 980) 7FF 54.54 4.57 11.93 fps/W
Galaxy S9 (Exynos 9810) 10LPP 46.04 4.08 11.28 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Snapdragon 835) 10LPE 38.90 3.79 10.26 fps/W
LeEco Le Pro3 (Snapdragon 821) 14LPP 33.04 4.18 7.90 fps/W
Galaxy S7 (Snapdragon 820) 14LPP 30.98 3.98 7.78 fps/W
Huawei Mate 10 (Kirin 970) 10FF 37.66 6.33 5.94 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Exynos 8895) 10LPE 42.49 7.35 5.78 fps/W
Galaxy S7 (Exynos 8890) 14LPP 29.41 5.95 4.94 fps/W
Meizu PRO 5 (Exynos 7420) 14LPE 14.45 3.47 4.16 fps/W
Nexus 6P (Snapdragon 810 v2.1) 20Soc 21.94 5.44 4.03 fps/W
Huawei Mate 8 (Kirin 950) 16FF+ 10.37 2.75 3.77 fps/W
Huawei Mate 9 (Kirin 960) 16FFC 32.49 8.63 3.77 fps/W
Huawei P9 (Kirin 955) 16FF+ 10.59 2.98 3.55 fps/W

Looking at the power consumption and efficiency tables in Manhattan 3.1, we see both devices showcase quite similar characteristics. Performance is very close in both chipsets, with also very similar power consumption within 220mW of each other. The efficiency also is quite close to each other. Interestingly both Qualcomm and Samsung weren’t able to close the gap to Apple’s latest iPhones and the A12 which still has a considerable performance and power efficiency lead.

For the Exynos chipset, it’s also unfortunate to see that absolute power has gone up by 1W, meaning the device will heat up faster, even though performance and efficiency is better.

GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

In T-Rex we again see both chipsets perform very similarly with similar sustained performance figures.

GFXBench T-Rex Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
(W)
Perf/W
Efficiency
iPhone XS (A12) Warm 7FF 197.80 3.95 50.07 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak 7FF 271.86 6.10 44.56 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) 7FF 167.16 4.10 40.70 fps/W
Galaxy S9+ (Snapdragon 845) 10LPP 150.40 4.42 34.00 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Exynos 9820) 8LPP 166.00 4.96 33.40fps/W
Galaxy S9 (Exynos 9810) 10LPP 141.91 4.34 32.67 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Snapdragon 835) 10LPE 108.20 3.45 31.31 fps/W
Huawei Mate 20 Pro (Kirin 980) 7FF 135.75 4.64 29.25 fps/W
LeEco Le Pro3 (Snapdragon 821) 14LPP 94.97 3.91 24.26 fps/W
Galaxy S7 (Snapdragon 820) 14LPP 90.59 4.18 21.67 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Exynos 8895) 10LPE 121.00 5.86 20.65 fps/W
Galaxy S7 (Exynos 8890) 14LPP 87.00 4.70 18.51 fps/W
Huawei Mate 10 (Kirin 970) 10FF 127.25 7.93 16.04 fps/W
Meizu PRO 5 (Exynos 7420) 14LPE 55.67 3.83 14.54 fps/W
Nexus 6P (Snapdragon 810 v2.1) 20Soc 58.97 4.70 12.54 fps/W
Huawei Mate 8 (Kirin 950) 16FF+ 41.69 3.58 11.64 fps/W
Huawei P9 (Kirin 955) 16FF+ 40.42 3.68 10.98 fps/W
Huawei Mate 9 (Kirin 960) 16FFC 99.16 9.51 10.42 fps/W

In the power end efficiency tables we however see a big difference between the two devices. Here Qualcomm is able to clearly achieve lower power and higher efficiency than the Exynos.

One thing that I note on both Galaxy S10 units is that I again saw some very odd thermal behaviour on the part of the Qualcomm unit. Just like we measured on the Note9 a few months ago, the Qualcomm Galaxy S10+ reached much higher initial temperatures than the Exynos S10+. I measured peak skin temperatures on the front screen near the SoC nearing 49°C on the S855 unit while the E9820 peaked around 43°C. Again, much like last year, this seems to be a time-bound boost mechanism as after a certain period of around 20 minutes the Snapdragon unit throttles down to a sustained 42-43°C. What this means is that the Snapdragon unit has higher (longer) peak performance figures at a cost of a hotter device, before both devices equalise at a sustained ~42°C.

Overall, the Snapdragon unit this year does still have a performance and efficiency lead, however the gap has been narrowed compared to what we’ve seen in the past years. The new Mali G76 looks to have made solid improvements, and ALU heavy workloads in particular have seen very large leaps compared to the Exynos 9810.

The Adreno 640 this generation just seems quite conservative – Apple has taken Qualcomm’s performance crown in mobile and most importantly also the efficiency crown. Both the Snapdragon 855 and A12 are both manufactured on the same process node so it’s a valid Dragon-to-Apples comparison, and here Qualcomm is beaten by such a significant margin of which in the past we’ve only been used to seeing Qualcomm beat Arm with. For the next generation, we thus hope both Qualcomm and Arm will be able to show more significant jumps in both performance and efficiency. Samsung’s own GPU is also a wildcard, however I’m not expecting to see this productised in next year’s Exynos.

System Performance Display Measurement
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  • s.yu - Sunday, March 31, 2019 - link

    lol have to agree. Reply
  • Ad.P - Tuesday, April 02, 2019 - link

    Well it need access to your contacts to show you who is calling. BTW it's a google app and google already have full access to your contacts.... Reply
  • Flunk - Friday, March 29, 2019 - link

    Don't forget about breaking Android's security model entirely. That's the #1 feature of rooting an Android phone. Reply
  • CrimsonKnight - Friday, March 29, 2019 - link

    I agree with the bloat part, but the unlocked versions get updated LAST. I have a Note 9 Unlocked and we got Pie only after all the carrier versions were updated. I presume it's because the Unlocked version has to work on all carriers so the unlocked version can only be released once the carrier-specific versions get their QA testing and get rolled out. Reply
  • JohnZim - Friday, March 29, 2019 - link

    That was a problem back in the S3/S4/S5 days, but Samsung has really cut back on bundled software. Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, March 29, 2019 - link

    I find Samsung's latest software and OneUI in particular to be the best version of Android at the moment. I wish I had time to include a dedicated section, but OneUI actually is a selling point for new Samsung devices. Reply
  • pjcamp - Friday, March 29, 2019 - link

    The fact that Samsung's custom UI is partly responsible for the glacial to nonexistent pace of Samsung updates is the opposite of a selling point. Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Sunday, March 31, 2019 - link

    Android and Smartphone UI in general is atrocious. Multi-tasking hasn't existed in any meaningful way for TEN YEARS. Multi-window is a joke. So are floating popups.

    Multiple things should be happening on one screen, it's not rocket science. Especially with these new crazy 19.5:9 screens.

    The little SMS reply at the top of the screen is good. At least sms/chats, music/video and navigation should pop up over my browser, e-mail, phone app, etc. seamlessly without a little stupid dragging window.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Sunday, March 31, 2019 - link

    My phone got stuck in boot for half an hour updating the system, good thing a reset fixed it. I'd rather not update my phone unless I specifically feel something's broken. Oh yeah OneUI broke my (free) minimalist theme which I don't have a replacement for. Reply
  • Liquidalloy - Friday, March 29, 2019 - link

    That's why you should buy the unlocked variant. Right now I have the Verizon version of the s10 plus and there's very little bloatware. The phone is lightning fast btw. Reply

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