Snapdragon 855 vs Exynos 9820 vs Kirin 980

Three main smartphone SoC designers have now detailed their next-generation designs, which is able to energy smartphones all through 2019. Huawei was once first with its Kirin 980, already powering the Huawei Mate 20 sequence. Samsung adopted, pronouncing its Exynos 9820. Now Qualcomm’s simply introduced the Snapdragon 855.

As standard, a number of functionality enhancements are on be offering in each the CPU and GPU division. There’s additionally a persisted focal point on “AI” processing features and sooner 4G LTE connectivity, however no out-of-the-box 5G chip available on the market simply but. If you’re desirous about a pricey smartphone acquire subsequent 12 months, right here’s the entirety you wish to have to grasp concerning the chipsets that may energy them.

Spec evaluation

  Snapdragon 855 Exynos 9820 Kirin 980
CPU Core Semi-custom ARM Cortex – Kryo 485 Fully-custom ARM Cortex ARM Cortex
CPU Config 1x Cortex A76 @ 2.84GHz
3x Cortex-A76 @ 2.42GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
2x 4th gen tradition
2x Cortex-A75
4x Cortex-A55
2x Cortex-A76 @ 2.6GHz
2x Cortex-A76 @ 1.92GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
GPU Adreno 640 Mali-G76 MP12 Mali-G76 MP10
AI Hexagon 690 NPU Dual NPU
Memory UFS 3.0 UFS 3.0 UFS 2.1
Process 7nm FinFET 8nm FinFET 7nm FinFET
Video seize 4K UHD, HDR @ 60fps 8K @ 30fps or 4K @ 150fps 4K @ 30fps
Video playback 8K UHD, 360 level, as much as 120fps,
10-bit, H.265 and VP9 video decoder
8K 30fps or 4K 150fps,
10-bit HEVC(H.265), H.264, VP9
4K @ 60fps
Modem X24 LTE
2000 Mbps down
316 Mbps up
Cat 20 LTE modem
2000 Mbps down
316 Mbps up
Cat 21 LTE modem
1400 Mbps down
200 Mbps up

These high-performance chips are all transferring directly to more recent applied sciences around the board. There are the newest Arm and tradition CPU designs, more recent GPU parts, beefed up device finding out silicon, and sooner LTE modems. Samsung and Qualcomm are main the business right here with 2Gbps LTE chips wearing mass service aggregation applied sciences, which will have to be offering connectivity enhancements on the cellular edge and in dense spaces over the Kirin 980. Multimedia reinforce continues to push forward too, with HDR or even 8K content material reinforce showing in each the Exynos and Snapdragon chips, and reinforce for H.265 and VP9 formats for higher potency.

Notably, 5G modems are absent from all three of those next-gen chips, which may appear bizarre given the rush some carriers and producers are making for 5G in 2019. However, all three of the chips reinforce 5G by way of exterior modems, making it an non-compulsory further for the ones gadgets introducing reinforce early.

Huawei and Qualcomm at the moment are on TSMC’s 7nm, whilst Samsung is shut in the back of by itself 8nm procedure.

Much extra fuss has been made concerning the race to 7nm. Huawei made this a key a part of its Kirin 980 announcement, which precipitated Qualcomm to state it will construct its next-gen chip on TSMC’s 7nm procedure too. The cell business is already briefly transferring on from 10nm in its pursuit of energy potency and smaller silicon footprints. For us shoppers, 7nm chips will have to imply longer battery lifestyles and better acting gadgets.

Samsung’s use of its in-house 8nm node suggests its personal 7nm generation isn’t moderately in a position for mass manufacturing. Samsung expects a modest 10 % energy intake growth between its 10nm and 8nm processes. Meanwhile, TSMC boasts a 30 to 40 % growth with its personal transfer from 10 to 7nm — obviously a lot better if correct. Of direction, different components will decide ultimate energy intake, however Samsung’s chip may just smartly be relatively deprived right here.

Tri-cluster CPU designs pass mainstream

Smartphone SoC CPU designs are lately extra attention-grabbing and numerous than they’ve been in a very long time. Today’s octa-core are striving for cutting edge, extra environment friendly cluster designs consisting of extra various and closely custom designed CPU cores than ever prior to. large.LITTLE has given strategy to large, center, little, with Cortex-A76, A75, A55, and Samsung continues to throw a closely tradition design into the combination.

2+2+4 CPU clusters with a shared L3 cache are the staples of Huawei and Samsung’s design. This transition clear of a 4+4 design is to a tri-cluster is extra optimum for sustained top functionality in a smartphone shape issue and will have to additionally strengthen power potency. The Snapdragon 855 takes this philosophy one step additional, with a 1+3+4 CPU design. The “top” core within the Snapdragon 855 boasts double the L2 cache and a better clock pace than the three different large cores, making it the heavy lifter when top unmarried thread functionality is needed.

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Huawei and Samsung opted for 2+2+4 CPU designs, whilst Qualcomm has long past for 1+3+4. All three are aiming for upper, extra sustainable functionality.

While Qualcomm and Huawei persist with Cortex-A76 cores within the large and center sections, Samsung opts for the older Cortex-A75, prone to save on silicon dimension, and probably warmth. This will help in making up for the gargantuan tradition CPU cores and likewise permit for some further GPU cores in comparison to the Kirin. Samsung applied its personal DynamIQ sort cluster control machine, as Arm doesn’t license out its DynamIQ shared unit tech to be used with tradition core designs, so we’ll have to attend to look how all of those designs take care of activity scheduling.

The different large query for this upcoming era is whether or not Samsung’s fourth era tradition CPU design is extra robust and as energy environment friendly because the Arm Cortex-A76, which paperwork the foundation of the Kirin 980 and is tweaked within the Snapdragon 855. The 3rd era M3 core wasn’t as excellent as Qualcomm’s tweaked Cortex-A75 throughout the Snapdragon 845 in each regards, and Samsung’s personal 20 % functionality spice up and 40 % potency projections will not be moderately sufficient to degree the taking part in box.

Meanwhile, we’ve already observed the Kirin 980 excels at each unmarried and multi-core CPU functionality, firmly trouncing present era merchandise. There are some main design variations with the Snapdragon 855, however the potential for the Cortex-A76 no doubt seems spectacular. Overall, I’m anticipating the Snapdragon 855’s design to have a relatively upper top unmarried thread functionality, however multitasking and common software functionality is a lot more difficult to name.

Gaming hits any other equipment

With cell gaming continues to clutch a big proportion of the worldwide marketplace, there’s excellent information to be discovered on this newest spherical of high-performance SoCs. Both the Samsung Exynos 9820 and Kirin 980 use the newest Arm Mali-G76 GPU, which is able to push gaming functionality up a big notch.

While the Kirin 980 makes use of a 10-core configuration, kind of similar to a 20-core Mali-G72, the Exynos 9820 gives further functionality with a 12-core Mali-G76 implementation. Samsung’s chipset will have to be the easier performer for players, however we’ll must watch for an aspect by way of facet comparability to grasp by way of precisely how a lot.

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This implementation will most probably handiest shut the space with present era Adreno graphics. Our hands-on with the Kirin 980 confirms that gaming functionality within the ballpark of present Snapdragon 845 telephones, every so often relatively forward, every so often in the back of, however by no means breaking away. The Snapdragon 855 guarantees so as to add an additional 20 % over the present era, which will have to stay its nostril particularly out in entrance all through 2019.

In abstract, we’re virtually no doubt taking a look at Snapdragon 855 handsets providing the most productive gaming functionality subsequent 12 months, adopted by way of the Exynos 9820, after which the Kirin 980. Although all of those SoCs can be greater than rapid sufficient for a good revel in on all high-end cell titles.

AI enhancements

Machine finding out, or AI as some other folks name it, has additionally observed a large functionality spice up throughout all of those SoCs too. For the primary time, Samsung is supporting devoted device finding out within its SoC with a neural processing unit (NPU) providing as much as a 7x functionality spice up in comparison to the Exynos 9810. Huawei has doubled up on NPU silicon throughout the Kirin 980, which no doubt extends the corporate’s already spectacular “AI” features.

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Mass matrix tensor math is now supported in throughout all three of those flagship SoCs.

This era, Qualcomm turns out to have settled on the kind of further it desires to spice up device finding out functionality. The advent of a Tensor processor to the Hexagon 960 will have to actually lend a hand to boost up the Snapdragon 855’s functionality in a variety of packages.

AI functionality is notoriously tough to measure as it’s closely depending on the kind of algorithms you’re working, the information sort used, and the particular features of the chip. The business turns out to have settled on dot product, mass matrix more than one/multiply acquire as the most typical case to boost up, and all three of the chips be offering a large spice up to functionality and effort potency to this sort of software.

For shoppers, that implies sooner and extra battery environment friendly face and object reputation, on-device voice transcription, awesome symbol processing, and different “AI” packages.

Which would be the quickest?

We don’t need to suppose an excessive amount of with out hands-on time with gadgets, however we will be able to already make a couple of assumptions in line with the specs.

CPU clever, the Snapdragon 855 will most probably push the functionality envelope essentially the most, owing to its excessive CPU core setup and relatively upper clock speeds. It takes what Huawei has already achieved with the Kirin 980 and pushes the theory to even upper extremes.

Samsung’s Exynos 9820 is slightly more difficult to pass judgement on, owing to its tradition CPU core, in-house core cluster machine, and 8nm reasonably than 7nm procedure. It’ll be rapid, however we’ll must watch for gadgets to pass judgement on simply how smartly Samsung’s tradition CPU stacks up.

Feature-wise, Qualcomm throws as many extras into its SoC as it’s worthwhile to need. Super rapid LTE, 5G reinforce if you wish to have it, rapid charging, I’m no longer solely satisfied 8K video reinforce is actually anything else smartphones will want anytime quickly, however we even have upper body charges for decrease resolutions, which is superb. Samsung’s Exynos packs in a equivalent array of options and a blazing rapid LTE modem. The Kirin 980 has you beautiful smartly lined too, and all can reinforce 5G modems for high-end 2019 smartphones.

For players, Qualcomm’s Adreno 640 graphics core will most probably proceed to steer the sector. For maximum packages, Arm’s Mali-G76 is greater than rapid sufficient, however the ones on the lookout for excessive, best of the road functionality might need to go for a Snapdragon-powered handset subsequent 12 months.

Overall, all of those chips glance very spectacular and can push functionality, and extra importantly power potency up any other degree. The transfer to 7nm, or 8nm in Samsung’s case, is excellent news for battery lifestyles, if not anything else. Furthermore, we’re getting into an technology of distinctive and fascinating CPU cluster designs and device finding out features. Smartphone SoC generation continues to innovate at an outstanding charge.