GPU Performance

We’re shortly also recapping the GPU and gaming performance of the new S21 Ultras. We investigate that this new generation of SoCs isn’t quite as power efficient as we would have hoped for, meaning the increased peak performance the new chips are advertising comes at a great cost in power consumption.

Generally, any contemporary phone is only able to continuously dissipate between 4 and 5W of power through radiation and convection (42 to 50°C peak skin temperatures at 22°C ambient), and once it reaches that peak thermal envelope, it will have to throttle performance.

Basemark GPU 1.2 - Medium 1440p - Off-Screen / Blit GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

A Stand-Still Year for GPU Performance

This year’s Galaxy S21 devices look quite unimpressive when it comes to their gaming performance.

For the Snapdragon S21, I think Samsung here can do better in terms of thermal management, as the phones currently throttle down to 3W even though the device could in theory supports more. Xiaomi’s Mi 11 with the same chip showcases much better performance (we’ll have a review of that device soon), so it’s an area of improvement which could very well be achieved with future firmware updates.

For the Exynos S21, it’s a large generational boost for Samsung, however the absolute numbers are still lagging behind Snapdragon 865 devices. This is important to note for devices such as the S21+ - the S20 FE 5G actually features a Snapdragon 865 SoC in traditional Exynos markets, and if gaming performance is an important aspect for your, that device might be the more interesting purchase.

System Performance Display Measurement
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  • TwoMetreBill - Monday, February 22, 2021 - link

    Until we can see the results of the raw images processed in something like Lightroom, we won't really know what we can get from this system. The smaller the sensor, as a general rule, the greater the improvement from raw shooting. But as far as I can tell, nobody has published a raw sample library and I search every day.
  • s.yu - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    Just get a compatible version of Gcam running. With SD Samsung it's the easiest to find.
  • tkSteveFOX - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    Again, Huawei's Kirin 9000 knocks it out of the park. A better chip all-round.
    Samsung's 5nm is not even as good or roughly on par with TSMCs 7nm.
    Getting an SD870 looks like a better deal this year, but if Huawei manage to produce a $800 Kirin 9000 device that would be the best of the best.
    I am amazed how their massive GPU doesn't throttle as much as both Adreno 660 and MP14 in the E2100.
  • iphonebestgamephone - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    Maybe being slow and wide is the best?
  • s.yu - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    The guy wasn't paying attention. The Adreno throttled far more than it was supposed to with the whole SoC settling down at 3W when it should have nearly 5W to use. And in several benchmarks the Kirin wasn't that fast either, so he's completely confused.
    And yes slow and wide has always been better but that only applies to the Mali comparison.
  • iphonebestgamephone - Thursday, February 25, 2021 - link

    Yeah the sd samsung seems to throttle too much, while the mi 11 doesnt want to throttle.
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - link

    underwhelming. on the system performance page we can clearly see the s20 ultra w/ sd 865 being barely slower and you say the performance is outstanding. Sure, it is outstanding, but it isn't an improvement over the last gen. Battery life, again, similar. the only improvement is the gpu and the display efficiency.
  • s.yu - Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - link

    I have to agree.
  • flyingpants265 - Friday, February 26, 2021 - link

    Slower? The speed is not going to matter for 99% of users so I'm not sure what you're talking about there. Who cares?

    The Android OS and software suck so bad. We've had 14 generations of laggy phones now..
  • iphonebestgamephone - Saturday, February 27, 2021 - link

    ”The Android OS and software suck so bad. We've had 14 generations of laggy phones now..”

    So what they care about is lag? Half a second of stutter is what they care more about, than the general speed?

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