GPU Performance & Power

In terms of 3D gaming and GPU performance, we expect the Kirin 990 and the Mate 30 Pro to do quite well. The GPU itself is not only a large step up from the MP10 configuration on the Kirin 980, but also larger than Samsung’s Exynos 9820 MP12 implementation. Huawei also claimed to be able to achieve better performance than the Snapdragon 855, which seems quite plausible. The remaining question is how power efficiency ends up and how the Mate 30 Pro’s thermal management is able to sustain the performance of the chipset for prolonged durations.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

On the 3DMark Physics test which is actually a CPU benchmark within a 3D workload, we see that the Mate 30 Pro is showcasing some extremely high results, actually taking the top spot amongst all devices in the market. The benchmark should be mainly memory intensive and the Cortex A76’s strong prefetchers as well as the Kirin 990’s strong memory subsystem would be a possible explanation for the top performance results.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

Switching over to the graphics workload, the Mate 30 Pro makes a very large leap compared to previous generation Huawei flagships, but falls short of some of the better Snapdragon 855 devices as well as Apple’s newest iPhone 11 lineup.

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

In GFXBench Aztec, the Mate 30 Pro takes an ever so slight lead ahead of Snapdragon 855 devices, but still falls short of Apple’s new architectures.

GFXBench Aztec High Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
(W)
Perf/W
Efficiency
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Warm N7P 26.14 3.83 6.82 fps/W
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Cold / Peak N7P 34.00 6.21 5.47 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Warm N7 19.32 3.81 5.07 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak N7 26.59 5.56 4.78 fps/W
Mate 30 Pro (Kirin 990 4G) N7 16.50 3.96 4.16 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) N7 16.17 4.69 3.44 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Exynos 9820) 8LPP 15.59 4.80 3.24 fps/W

The power characteristics of the chip are quite good and clearly a step ahead of both the Snapdragon 855 and Exynos 9820, sporting higher performance as well as lower absolute power.

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

GFXBench Aztec Normal Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
(W)
Perf/W
Efficiency
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Warm N7P 73.27 4.07 18.00 fps/W
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Cold / Peak N7P 91.62 6.08 15.06 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Warm N7 55.70 3.88 14.35 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak N7 76.00 5.59 13.59 fps/W
Mate 30 Pro (Kirin 990 4G) N7 41.68 4.01 10.39 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) N7 40.63 4.14 9.81 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Exynos 9820) 8LPP 40.18 4.62 8.69 fps/W

We see similar results in the Normal 1080p variant of the benchmark.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
(W)
Perf/W
Efficiency
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Warm N7P 100.58 4.21 23.89 fps/W
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Cold / Peak N7P 123.54 6.04 20.45 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Warm N7 76.51 3.79 20.18 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak N7 103.83 5.98 17.36 fps/W
Mate 30 Pro (Kirin 990 4G) N7 75.69 5.04 15.01 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) N7 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
Mate 20 Pro (Kirin 980) N7 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
Galaxy S8 (Exynos 8895) 10LPE 42.49 7.35 5.78 fps/W

In Manhattan 3.1, what does change is that the device’s power usage goes up from 4 to 5W. Such a change usually happens when the GPU and SoC is able to achieve a higher utilisation of the silicon. Still, it’s slightly ahead of the Snapdragon 855 in terms of performance and efficiency.

GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

GFXBench T-Rex Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
(W)
Perf/W
Efficiency
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Warm N7P 289.03 4.78 60.46 fps/W
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Cold / Peak N7P 328.90 5.93 55.46 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Warm N7 197.80 3.95 50.07 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak N7 271.86 6.10 44.56 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) N7 167.16 4.10 40.70 fps/W
Mate 30 Pro  (Kirin 990 4G) N7 152.27 4.34 35.08 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
Mate 20 Pro (Kirin 980) N7 135.75 4.64 29.25 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Exynos 8895) 10LPE 121.00 5.86 20.65 fps/W

Finally, in T-Rex, the results are in line with the Snapdragon 855, although this time around it doesn’t manage to pass the competitor.

Overall, the Kirin 990 and the Mate 30 Pro are good performers. In general, I’d say Huawei and HiSilicon were able to match and sometimes slightly beat the Snapdragon 855 in terms of performance all while maintaining good efficiency. In my prolonged testing I saw the phone max out at a peak skin temperature of 45°C which wasn’t too bad. What was odd though is that this hotspot was very pronounced towards the top side of the phone’s frame – so when you’re gaming in landscape mode this going to be always touching your palm or fingers when holding the phone.

Whilst the results are good in context of the competition this year, there’s the issue that we expect the next generation of Snapdragon and Exynos devices to easily be able to top the Kirin 990, and of course it’s still far behind what Apple devices are able to showcase in terms of performance as the A12 and A13 were able to sport outstanding generational increases.

System Performance Display Measurement
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  • psychobriggsy - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    After years on Android, and a set of Android Apps and Services that I own via the Play Store (or because they come with the phone), the lack of Google Services and the Play Store is a critical piece of missing functionality.

    Indeed I'd say that this is not Android at all, Android for most people being the combination of core operating system and Google Services.
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Exactly, the whole point of a android phone is to have google services. Anything else you are are developers whim in updates to OS and apps. Which if anyone who got burned by Samsung tablets know..its not pretty. Reply
  • prisonerX - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    There's something to be said for there being an alternative to the Google monopoly in that respect. Let's hope that something like that emerges from this fiasco. Reply
  • versesuvius - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Vendor lock-in does not even begin to describe what the US government is enforcing on the mobile phone users around the world. If at one time it was Apple or Microsoft or some other OS maker, now it is a political and economical system that the US government and Google want to lock the world in. That said, a mobile phone is nothing but Browser as OS. And the entire Google offering is nothing but open web technologies. The half hearthed attempts at something different from Google never added up to much because they always chose Google to fall back on from the get go. With Huawei on the one side and the general drift of the Western world towards Trumpism and the asinine single mindedness of what passes for American political and economical infrastructure, we are going to witness many wonderful shifts towards true freedom and innovation around the world and Huawei is just a very wonderful start. Reply
  • melgross - Sunday, December 1, 2019 - link

    I hope Huawei has problems. The Chinese have been stealing secrets for some time, and Huawei is benefiting from that. In fact, early this year, two Apple vendors in China stated that they had been approached by Huawei for just that purpose.

    I have no sympathy for them.
    Reply
  • shabby - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    The round ring on this phone looks amazing, wish more phones had that kind of ring. Reply
  • yetanotherhuman - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Reminds me of my old Sony Ericsson P990, with the little selfie mirror :D Reply
  • yetanotherhuman - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    oh, and the actual physical protection for the lens. Reply
  • s.yu - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    ...are you being sarcastic? This looks so last-decade-compact sort of cliché.
    Also many are commenting that it looks like a stove.
    Reply
  • Alistair - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Can't me in the group that detests curved screens. Don't copy Samsung's mistakes. Every time I use a flat version, it feels and looks much better. Even the S10e vs the S10, or the Oneplus 7T vs 7 Pro, much better. Reply

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