2016 brought us the epic battle of Android manufacturers, scrambling for to sell off their latest and coolest devices. With these devices come an array of wildly different CPUs, each bringing different performance benefits. This article will pit all 4 of the top tier processors: Snapdragon 820, Helio X20, Kirin 950, Exynos8890, against each other to see who will take the performance crown.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
The processor integrates the “Kryo CPU”, which is Qualcomm’s first custom-designed 64-bit CPU. Kryo has four cores, each core supports up to 2.2GHz processing speed, and is manufactured using the latest 14 nanometer FinFET process technology. Snapdragon 820 integrated Adreno 530 GPU and Hexagon 680 DSP, they will work together to build a heterogeneous computing environment, allowing it to increase performance and energy efficiency. In terms of performance, Qualcomm stated the Kryo CPU performance and efficiency is twice that of the Snapdragon 810 CPU’s. The Adreno 530 GPU Adreno is also 40% faster and more efficient then the Adreno 430 (Snapdragon 810)
MediaTek Helio X20:
MediaTek’s latest flagship processor Helio X20 is the first 10-core processor, “3 Cluster” processor. This processor is featured in “Flagship Killer” phones such as the LeEco Le 2. The three-clusters of processors include a low-power 1.4GHz quad-core A53 processor, 2.0GHz quad-core mid performance A53 processor, and 2.5GHz dual-core A72 high performance processor. As for the GPU, X20 uses the Mali-T800 series clocked at a 700MHz speed. In short, this MediaTek Helio X20 is definitely a very interesting and worth exploring SoC.
Huawei Kirin 950
The Huawei Kirin 950 integrates 4x Cortex A53 @ 1.8 GHz and 4x Cortex A72 @ 2.3 GHz with a MaliT880 GPU clocked at 900MHz. It is manufactured using TSMC’s 16nm FF + technology with transistor density twice that of previous generation of products. According to Huawei, the manufacturing process along improves Kirin’s performance by 11% and provides 20% reduced power consumption. TSMC 16nm FF + is an enhanced version of the standard 16nm FinFET process.
Samsung’s confidence in their own processors has led to them abandoning Snapdragon 810 altogether. This trend continues with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 will be equipped with the latest Exynos 8890 processor. Samsung Exynos 8890 uses four independent 64-bit Mongoose (mongoose) CPU core, frequency up to 2.3GHz; paired with four Cortex-A53 core @ 1.56GHz. The processors also feature a HMP heterogeneous hybrid architecture with intelligent switching bringing about an overall performance increase of 30% over the Exynos 7420. In terms of Graphics processors, Exynos uses a Mali-T880MP12, which has a total of 12 cores – this is 3 more GPU than the Kirin 950. Exynos 8890 will still use Samsung’s own 14nm FinFET manufacturing process, with 3D transistors that greatly reduce the chip size (and increase performance and energy efficiency).
Comparing processors extremely difficult because of their different design philosophies and architecture means different processors perform better under different circumstances (eg gaming, web browsing, multitasking). One popular test of performance is the Antutu Benchmark, and the results are as follows:
It seems that the Snapdragon 820 takes the crown, with a score of 136383. The Exynos is right behind with 129665 whilst the Kirin 950 is much lower scoring at 97420 (Helios X20 is currently rumored to perform at 85000). This means according to Antutu, Exnyos and Snapdragon share the performance crown. What is not measured here is battery efficiency. The Exynos’s manufacturing process is superior to that of Snapdragon (Samsung’s unique manufacturing process allows the use 3D transistors). That said, Snapdragon and MediaTek as they are not brand specific, so we will see these two processors take up the most market share.