As you may know, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform is shaping up to be the most powerful system on a chip (SoC) for Android phones in the first half of 2018. We have given you the 845 details back in December. But during Qualcomm’s 5G Day in San Diego HQ, we had some hands-on time with the development hardware, which is as close as you can get from an actual product. Right now, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is expected to be the first phone to ship with Snapdragon 845, and here are real performance numbers.
Without further ado, here are the numbers we got from the development hardware:
- Snapdragon 845 Geekbench 4 single-threaded: 2,450 points
- Snapdragon 845 Geekbench 4 multi-threaded: 8,409 points
- 3DMark Slingshot 3.1: 4,400 points
- 3DMark Slingshot 3.0: 5,993 points
- 3DMark Slingshot unlimited 3.1: 4,895 points
- 3DMark Slingshot unlimited 3.0: 6,114 points
- 3DMark Icestorm unlimited: 61,261 points
- GFXBench Car Chase Offscreen. ES 3.1 1080 : 35 FPS
- GFXBench Manhattan Offscreen. ES 3.1 1080: 61 FPS
- GFXBench Manhattan Offscreen. 1080: 83 FPS
- GFXBench T-Rex 1080 Offscreen: 151 FPS
- Kraken: 2,445.5ms
- JetStream: 85.803
- Antutu: 267,233 points
To put it in perspective, we have compared these results with what we see from some of the most popular phones available on the market, and here are the charts. Antutu is a system-wide test, Geekbench is a CPU test and 3DMark and GFXBench are graphics (GPU) tests.
As you can see, Snapdragon 845 easily introduced a “generational gap” with existing Android phones. It is not surprising since Qualcomm had won most of the high-end designs in 2017. The performance is roughly in-line with Qualcomm’s claim that we should expect CPU performance to increase by about ~25% and graphics performance to get a ~30% boost.
Apple is doing great in CPU benchmarks and we must praise them for their performance. However, less “synthetics” benchmarks such as the graphics performance ones show that their latest fall behind. It makes sense because games and such benchmarks tend to be limited by the GPU’s performance. Apple may do well in specific use cases such as video-compression, in case this is important to you. In more realistic scenarios, Snapdragon 845 performs extremely well."IN MORE REALISTIC SCENARIOS, SNAPDRAGON 845 PERFORMS EXTREMELY WELL"
This is not really a surprise because chipmakers tend to manage expectations well. In the grand scheme of things, such numbers are quite impressive because when you think of 20-30 percentile numbers years after years, the compound performance boost over a decade is just mind-boggling.
And these numbers largely don’t even account for other computing units that are not possible to benchmark (because they are more exotic). For example, the CPU benchmarks don’t really use the vector instructions that the Kryo 385 CPU cores can perform. Also, the powerful DSP (digital signal processor) which can be used for AI or other math-intensive tasks isn’t used in most benchmarks.
One of the more interesting points we touched with our previous Snapdragon 845 overview is the higher power efficiency. Snapdragon 845 can perform most of the same tasks (as 835) while using less power. In the end, even if you don’t care about absolute performance, the benefit of having a high-performance chip is that it gets the job done faster and goes back to sleep… and uses less power.
The graphics performance should be of interest to anyone who plans to use Extended Reality (XR) which could be Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. Qualcomm points out that not only its design can show excellent performance, but also excellent “sustained” performance. The idea is that over time, phones heat up and must slow down to avoid overheating. This is where the low-power design and superior thermal management can make a big difference.
Of course, this also depends on the industrial design, including thermal solutions of each handset. However, the important of the software provided by the processor platform should not be underestimated. Because heat compounds over time, every single bit of optimization counts.
After an excellent year in 2017, it seems like Qualcomm will start 2018 by introducing the most powerful Android SoC, which will also make its way to Windows systems. Huawei will probably launch anew Kirin processor later this year (in September?), but Qualcomm may simply sail unchallenged in the high-end for a short while.