GPU Performance: Fast & Hot

GPU performance on Xiaomi phones has always been a bit of a can of worms over the last few years due to the various device’s thermal behaviours. Thermal behaviours in the sense in that seemingly Xiaomi had no real thermal throttling at all and the phones were allowed to reach very high temperatures, naturally resulting in very high-performance figures. We already saw this on the Mi 11 earlier in the year and I had made a remark about it.

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

The Mi 11 Ultra behaves the same as the Mi 11 in that it pushes out extraordinarily great performance at extraordinarily high device temperatures reaching and exceeding 50°C skin temperature mesurements.

Following our little OnePlus 9 application “optimisation” debacle, I delved a little deeper into Xiaomi’s device behaviour to discern what was happening on the Mi 11, and was able to confirm that Xiaomi is featuring a similar mechanism as OnePlus in that anonymous and third-party applications are allowed full performance without throttling (on the GPU side of things), while popular games such as Genshin Impact would be throttled. Again, I confirmed this by spoofing a benchmark as the actual game. The actual performance of the Mi 11 in games throttles down normally as many of the other devices in the charts – I’ll be updating the figures once I experiment a bit more on getting accurate figures.

While the aforementioned blacklist behaviour is valid for the Mi 11, it seemingly doesn’t apply to the Mi 11 Ultra. This latter device still doesn’t actually throttle down actual games such as Genshin, and I was able to actually have the phone prompt its overheating warning in the game itself (Which does happen under more strenuous conditions than benchmarks), with the device still hitting in excess of 50°C skin temperatures.

So, while it does appear the Mi 11 Ultra does allow full performance in actual games, Xiaomi’s GPU and thermal behaviour still remains extremely questionable.

System Performance - Extremely Snappy Display Measurement
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  • Silver5urfer - Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - link

    That's really damn unfortunate.
  • Samus - Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - link

    It's really hard to review Sony phones here in the USA because it's hard to even get them. While AT is obviously a global-focused website, they aren't going to review products that aren't even sold in the USA, though there have been some exceptions such as Eurocom notebooks and Chinese-built reference design devices (that would become other products sold in the USA)

    I don't think Sony has sold a US-market phone since the Z3. That was like 5-6 years ago?
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - link

    I'm based in Europe so that's not the primary reason, it's just that Sony isn't doing a great job and the current way the devices are, they're low priority.
  • neothe0ne - Thursday, July 22, 2021 - link

    This comment is complete FUD. Sony has sold US model phones the entire time. In the past, they had specifically disabled the side-mounted fingerprint sensors, only for devices sold in the US, because of Apple patents. (The fingerprint sensor is now enabled in the US for several generations already.)
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - link

    I think it’s droll how bloated phones have become, such as overkill screen specs. I keep my phone in greyscale most of the time, as it’s much more pleasant versus a sea of clashing garish/oversaturated color.

    So, 10-bit panels are certainly not at the top of my list.

    For photography, I have two proper cameras — a Sigma for color-critical shots and a Nikon for the big zoom. Real cameras are vastly more suited to anything beyond very mundane photography. The Sigma isn’t a large camera at all. It could be better (battery life, macro ability, night shots, fast shots/shakiness) but I’d rather have it than any phone for most things. For ‘quick and dirty but still good quality’ I have the Nikon.
  • heffeque - Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - link

    Why are you complaining about a phone that is clearly not for you?
    What are you going to complain about next? Maybe that there are no 15" screen versions of the phone for people that want extra-large screens?
  • Wereweeb - Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - link

    He's complaining about the general direction that the smartphone industry has been heading to, not about this phone in particular. There's no choice to buy a phone without a camera.

    I personally sympathize with his woes on the lack of choice, but economies of scale dictates that companies must chase after the abstract "general consumer".
  • Oxford Guy - Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - link

    I’m not sure what tales of woe you detected in my post.

    The main gist is that superfluous spec chasing doesn’t impress me. Putting fingerprints onto an ultra-fancy screen and dealing with the terrible ergonomics of camera phones — both seem to be examples of diminishing returns taken a bit too far.

    Perhaps phones really need 10-bit color but I don’t see the need for it.
  • Wereweeb - Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - link

    The overwhelming majority of people don't care about professional cameras or "colour critical photography", they want to be able to take photos without having to plan or think about it.

    And the Mi 11 Ultra is a great step forward over your typical smartphone camera, at least in terms of hardware. Now they just need to make >100mm² sensors more affordable.
  • Wereweeb - Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - link

    Think about it like this: the mass-production of sensors and development of algorithms that can extract more information from the same sensor means that there will be improvements for you DSLR people as well

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