It had been widely reported that the new Samsung Galaxy S6 devices would not use the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and this was confirmed on Sunday, when Samsung announced that the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge would use its own internal Exynos processor built on a 14nm die process. The Snapdragon 810 processor is constructed on a 20nm die size; the smaller the die size, the lower the voltage needed to drive the chip and so the less power drawn. A side effect of the processor using less power is that the heat output is also less, which means the smartphone designer has fewer compromises when it comes to thinness. When asked about the decision not to use the Snapdragon 810 processor in the S6, Samsung’s Chief Executive Officer, J. K. Shin, said that his business is flexible and would use Qualcomm if their products were good enough. This is a way of saying that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 isn’t good enough for the S6.
Although both processors show similar performance, the Exynos 14nm processor in the S6 should use less battery and produce less heat compared with the Snapdragon. Given how the Galaxy S6 is the first flagship device from Samsung to have a non-user replaceable battery, this is clearly a consideration for Samsung: their boast was that they had not moved to a fixed battery until now because they were not confident in the battery life of previous models. Such is the confidence Samsung have in their in-house processor that not only does the Galaxy S6 have a sealed battery, but it’s smaller than the previous generation’s Galaxy S5. We’ll have a better idea about how the S6 compares with the competition once the device is launched, which is due mid-April for most carriers.
From a technical standpoint, Samsung do appear to have a technological lead over Qualcomm at this juncture thanks to their more advanced processor manufacturing abilities. The Exynos 7420 is comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 when it coms to performance and ought to use less power. We have covered how Samsung are working towards even smaller die sizes with 3.25nm being reported as realistic with current technologies and several years of development. Qualcomm’s roadmap includes reducing the die size but not to the degree that Samsung have disclosed, but I am mindful that there are System-on-Chip (SoC) manufacturers than Samsung and Qualcomm. Nvidia’s Tegra X1 has already recorded superb benchmark scores and MediaTek have made advances too, such as their recent quad core MT8173 processor, which halves the number of cores and should also reduce power consumption. There are many metrics to measure a processor too, even if power consumption is an important consideration. Nevertheless, Samsung appear to have won the mindset battle but we will have to wait and see how the devices fare in the hands of device reviewers and customers.
What do you think? Will Samsung’s more advanced processor help sway a decision of what flagship device to buy if you were in the market? Let us know in the comments below.