Snapdragon 865: our benchmark results!

ByTown Kassis 2019-12-17 248

It was during its Snapdragon Tech Summit 2019 event in Hawaii, where we were present, that the Qualcomm group unveiled its new high-end SoC Snapdragon 865, which will be available in premium 5G smartphones from many brands.

Snapdragon 865 

The new mobile chip brings its share of component enhancements, supported by a 7 nm EUV engraving provided by TSMC, and continues to focus on photo capabilities and artificial intelligence, while continuing its efforts to set the standard for mobile gaming.

Snapdragon 865 vs Snapdragon 855 / 855+: main changes


Snapdragon 865

Snapdragon 855

Manufacture process

7nm EUV

7nm

CPU

Kryo 585 (A77)

Kryo 485 (A76)

GPU

Adreno 650

Adreno 640

DSP

Hexagon 698

Hexagon 690

ISP

Spectra 480

Spectra 380

WiFi

WiFi 6

WiFi 5

AI

15 TOPS

7 TOPS


As can be seen, part of the platform has been slightly improved, remaining in the same series. If the CPU part takes advantage of an optimized engraving and switches to an ARM Cortex-A77 base, modified to give the Kryo 585 cores, the most powerful of which remains on the same 2.84 GHz frequency as the previous SoC, the GPU remains a 6th generation Adreno, as well as the Hexagon DSP.


On the other hand, the photo part climbs one generation with the ISP Spectra 480 module, while the artificial intelligence processing, distributed over the various components of the SoC Snapdragon 865, increases in performance, helped by the transition to the 5th generation of the Qualcomm AI Engine environment.


It is more a question here of optimizing the existing and bringing something new to what captures the attention of the mobile industry (photo and artificial intelligence) than of deeply renewing the platform, while preparing the arrival of very high-speed mobile communications with the support of WiFi 6 and 5G via a separate X55 Snapdragon modem.


This does not prevent the SoC Snapdragon 865 from continuing to make solid progress compared to its predecessor to offer performances that only Apple and its Apple Ax SoCs can challenge... for the moment (the Dimensity 1000 chip from MediaTek looks promising).

The smartphone benchmark under Snapdragon 865

Just as we were able to produce the first Snapdragon 855 benchmarks from a reference platform at the beginning of the year and exclusively in France, we had the opportunity to manipulate a reference device using Snapdragon 865 during the Snapdragon Tech Summit and run a series of benchmarks on it.

Snapdragon 865 

The smartphone in question is a basic system that fully exploits SoC but without the specific optimizations provided by each manufacturer according to its objectives.

Snapdragon 865​ 

It therefore produces reference values that will quickly be surpassed with the smartphones on the market in the coming months, but which already give an idea of the results to be expected for the batch of premium smartphones in early 2020.


On this benchmark model, Qualcomm proposed two modes of operation for the mobile chip, with a normal mode and a performance mode that slightly increases the SoC's capabilities.

Snapdragon 865 

This performance mode, which consumes a little more energy, may be offered by some manufacturers, especially for gaming configurations where it can be activated occasionally. The difference in benchmarks between the two modes is about 10%.


The idea is based on the operation of the Performance mode proposed by competitors such as Huawei's SoC Kirin 9xx, whose mode can be activated on demand in the settings but is not recommended by default and in continuous operation because it requires a lot of energy.

Benchmarks

A quick reminder that is always useful to start with: benchmarks are only tools that examine how certain components of SoC work in particular circumstances and are not necessarily representative of the daily user experience.


They are indicators of the functioning of the CPU, GPU or artificial intelligence processing capacity subject to specific conditions designed to push them to their limits... which is not necessarily representative of daily use.


A SoC (System on Chip) is based on the harmonious operation of a number of components and many of them (DSP, ISP, various interactions) are not taken into account during benchmark evaluations.

Here are the main results in Performance mode (unless otherwise indicated)


Snapdragon 865 7nm EUV

Snapdragon 855/855+ 7nm

Snapdragon 845 10nm

AnTuTu 8.0.4

569,252

360,000 / 390,000

255,000

Geekbench 5 single score

936

620/770

500

Geekbench 5 multi score

3464

2460/2800

2200

PCMark (not Perf)

12328



GfxBench Car Chase 1080p ES 3.1

50 fps

45 fps

35fps

GfxBench Manhattan 1080p ES 3.1

88 fps

71 fps

60 fps

GfxBench T-Rex 1080p ES 2.0

204 fps

167 fps

150 fps



As we can see, the transition from the Kryo 4 generation to Kryo 5 ensures a leap in performance, with an AnTuTu score exceeding 560,000 points while Geekbench (which targets CPU operation) also rises in the towers.


In the underscores, AnTuTu shows a good progression on the CPU side (182 900 points against 120 000 for Snapdragon 855) but also for the GPU side: 220 600 points against 155 000 points for its predecessor.


This also results in values that progress more or less significantly in the various GfxBench tests, with an increase in fps.


The Snapdragon 865 platform is evolving steadily on the Artificial Intelligence side this year with the transition to the 5th generation Qualcomm AI Engine environment and processing capacity distributed among the various SoC components (CPU, GPU, DSP, Qualcomm Sensing Hub...) to double processing power to 15 TOPS (billion operations per second), compared to 7 TOPS for Snapdragon 855.


On AnTuTu, the score of the reference smartphone climbs to more than 460,000 points, while it reaches 180,000 to 200,000 points with smartphones under Snapdragon 855 / 855+, while the AIMark benchmark reaches approximately 106,000 to 108,000 points.


These initial results, although limited to a reference platform, give an idea of the performance of high-end smartphones that will be launched at the beginning of 2020.


We look forward to comparing the results on smartphones with premium chips from other smartphone designers or manufacturers: Apple A13 Bionic, Kirin 990 5G or MediaTek Dimensity 1000 which are also engraved in 7 nm EUV, waiting for mobile processors to switch to 5 nm next year.


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