GPU Performance

During the release of the Snapdragon 845, the performance increases of the Adreno 630 GPU were touted to also come with large efficiency increases. Based on our testing with the Galaxy S9 and subsequent devices we’ve found that while the peak performance increases indeed matched Qualcomm’s projections, the higher benchmark scores came at a cost of increased device power consumption. This had the negative effect that in our new sustained performance tests the S845 did not manage to maintain an equal excellent % of peak performance as S835 devices.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time retesting these results and still always came within the same conclusions. The OnePlus 6 however seems to be the one S845 device that seems to particularly perform out of the norm here, as we’ll see in the following benchmarks.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

Starting off with the 3DMark Sling Shot Physics test is mostly a CPU bound test within a GPU power constrained thermal environment, the OnePlus 6 fares just a tad better than the Galaxy S9+, posting slightly better peak and sustained scores.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

Switching over to the Graphics results of the test however, we see some very large divergences of the OnePlus 6 versus other devices. Here the OP6 posts a much better sustained score and a larger percentage of peak performance than other Snapdragon 845 devices. The LG G7 also showcases a slight advantage over the earlier devices but not quite as good as the OP6.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen

Switching over GFXBench Manhattan 3.1, we see a similar result as the OnePlus 6 posts 45% better sustained performance than the Galaxy S9+ and the Mi MIX 2S, with only the LG G7 behind it.

To verify these figures and to make sure that it wasn’t any change in environmental conditions during the testing I tested the phone alongside the Galaxy S9+ re-running the methodology again on the Samsung phone, and indeed the OnePlus 6 just was much better at sustaining performance as the initial end-result of the S9+ was reproduced.

GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

Finally, in T-Rex, the OnePlus 6 again manages to take the top spot in terms of sustained performance under stable thermal envelope.

As to why the OnePlus 6 really seems to post such different sustained performance characteristics is something that I think is attributable to thermal design of the phone. I measured 3D graphics power in the workloads and it didn’t really differ much from the measurements on the S9+, so this doesn’t seem to be a case of the GPU consuming less power either through whatever optimisations or possible better binned SoC unit.

While the Galaxy S9+ and Mi MIX 2S can get some quite high temperature hotspots at peak performance exceeding 55°C, the OnePlus 6 was much better and the worst skin temperature I measured on the warmest point, on the screen just over where the SoC is located, didn’t exceed 46°C. The phone seems to be much better at dissipating the heat throughout its mid-frame, and while overall the phone can still get quite warm, it’s more evened out and allows the SoC to seemingly maintain higher performance states. Obviously this is all circumstantial observations, it’s also possible that the OnePlus 6 also just has higher thermal throttling temperature settings, but then it would have also reached the very high temperature hotspots measured on the S9+ and MIX 2S, which just don't happen on the OP6.

In the end, the OnePlus 6 now posts the best graphics performance of any smartphone we’ve come to measure. This is not due to improved efficiency or power, but rather through a better sustained thermal envelope of the phone itself. It’s to note that while performance is very high, power for the Snapdragon 845 is still well above the Snapdragon 835 in this scenario and thus overall battery life at these high performance states will be worse.

System Performance Display Measurement
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  • Teckk - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Using the phone from just over a month - great display and battery life. Pretty impressive camera for my occasional use. The update policy changed recently if I'm not wrong, were the older phones (X, 3, 3T) supported this well with upgrades? Reply
  • notashill - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    The last 2 security patches for the OP3/3T were released 4 and a half months apart. The release pace has been very inconsistent but there are a large number of betas for some reason.

    The X only got one major version upgrade... to a version that was already out before the phone was released. The 3T got 2 major version upgrades... and the first one was to a version that was already out before the phone released. Supposedly it's going to get 8.1 eventually. They did live up to the promise of releasing Nougat in 2016 by releasing it on December 31.
    Reply
  • mmrezaie - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    I would like to see a review of software updates. I think One Plus started good but now it has even worst track record than Samsung. I think this part is more important for me rather than CPU performance which is something you get like basically every other company phones of that year. Reply
  • notashill - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    They posted a Software Maintenance Schedule a few weeks ago claiming 24 months of "Regular Software Maintenance" which includes major version upgrades and bi-monthly security patches followed by another 12 months of "Software Security Maintenance" with bi-monthly security patches.

    And yet, OP3T was released November 2016 and they are not going to update it to P.
    Reply
  • ACE76 - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Android P isn't out yet...and its probably going to be released around September this year so expecting the 3/T to get it is stupid. Reply
  • notashill - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Obviously P isn't out yet, I did not say I was expecting them to release it before Google. They have already said they are never going to release it for the 3/3T. Reply
  • mmrezaie - Thursday, August 02, 2018 - link

    It is stupid to not expect these companies releasing updates for their phones and turn them into paperweights. Reply
  • WPX00 - Monday, July 30, 2018 - link

    The 3/T has just been confirmed for P. Reply
  • notashill - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    Yes I just saw this, very happy that they changed their minds about it (they had in fact already announced that Oreo would be the last major update). I hope this is a real turnaround for the company and they start taking updates seriously because OP's hardware is great but I have been rather disappointed with their software to date. Reply
  • SpaceRanger - Friday, July 27, 2018 - link

    Is the battery replaceable or does the back cover require surgery to remove? Reply

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