Regular readers will probably know that I’m not a big fan of benchmarking and using this as a means of comparison. It’s not that I don’t find the results interesting – because I do – but it’s more that the results of a device tested on a laboratory bench somewhere or a reviewers bedroom, is not necessarily a representation of how it will perform for any one particular customer in the hand. I don’t restart my device every time I take it out of my pocket, instead I let data and applications accumulate and I rarely reboot. I also make liberal use of the Power Saving mode, which underclocks the processor. It’s also to put things into perspective when it comes to benchmark results, too, and not to be too worried about the detail. I’ll come on to this point a little later in my article.
First, let’s get down to business: today’s article is about the showdown between two high-end processors. On one side we have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and on the other, the Samsung Exynos 7420. These two processors are as similar as they are different: both use a total of eight cores, four being higher performance Cortex-A57 cores and four being higher efficiency, but battery supping Cortex-A53 cores. However, the Exynos is built on a 14nm die size whereas the Snapdragon 810 is built on a 20nm die size. The smaller the die size, the lower the voltage required to drive the processor. Power is proportional to the square of the voltage, so all things being equal, the Exynos will use less power to achieve the same work as the Snapdragon. As the Exynos processor is physically smaller, this means electrons have less far to travel so we may also see an improvement in performance here, too. However, not all things are equal: there’s an element of tuning involved and the manufacturers can adjust how those eight cores are used.
By the numbers, then, in the AnTuTu test the Snapdragon 810, driving a 2K resolution display and running Android 5.0.2, scored a reported 61,499. The Exynos 7420 showed 60,978 with similar hardware. There’s less than a percent in it, which to my mind is effectively the same. Yes; Qualcomm fans will claim that the Snapdragon 810 is faster and as an overall it is, but running the same software the difference will not be visible. Here, it’s more relevant to put the results into the perspective of earlier generation processors: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805-powered Samsung Galaxy Note 4 scored 49,136 and the Snapdragon 801-powered Sony Xperia Z3 shows 42,334.
So; the Snapdragon 810 and Exynos 7420 are more powerful than the preceding generation of processor, which shouldn’t be surprising anybody. What’s of more interest to prospective buyers should be the power consumption and heat output of the processors and of course, the software. We’ve seen rumors that Samsung are completely reworking the TouchWiz interface for the 64-bit Exynos 7420 and this is a very good thing; after all it would be a mistake to lumber a very fast piece of hardware with a slow piece of software.