Early Snapdragon 845 benchmarks show promise


Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 SoC is the beating heart within just about every Android flagship phone on the market, but the drum beat of technology and commerce never stops. Indeed, the silicon design firm started dispensing pellets of information about the Snapdragon 845 back in December. The company recently held its technology open house and gave news outlets some hands-on time to run benchmarks on its Snapdragon 845 reference platform, a bulky handset with a 5.5" screen and 6 GB of system memory.

According to Anandtech's testing, future smartphone buyers can expect performance boosts of 17-44% in most CPU-bound tasks when compared to the Snapdragon 835. One floating-point physics simulation test even shows a large 60% bump. In more holistic benches, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 reference phone showed gains ranging from 8-20% in PCMark tests compared to existing 835-based phones. The reference kit showed gains of 44% in WebXPRT and 37% in the Speedometer 2.0 Javascript benchmark. The new chip also shows substantial gains around 14-31% in most GPU performance tests, showing particularly impressive leaps in the domains of texturing and ALU performance, along with reduced driver overhead.

CNet's Jessica Dolcourt came away impressed, noting performance upticks of at least 25% in eight of 12 tests. Sebastian Peak from PC Perspective saw single-threaded CPU speed gains around 25% and multi-threaded improvements closer to 35%.

The Snapdragon 845 SoC is built using Samsung's 10LPP process—an evolution from the previous-generation 10LPE node—so the majority of the SoC's improvements come from architectural changes rather than node-size advantages. The 845 is also Qualcomm's first chip using ARM's DynamIQ core arrangement, a more flexible setup than the old big.LITTLE clustering. The GPU is an Adreno 630 unit, an update from the old Adreno 540 pixel-pusher. The new chip also packs the improved X20 4G Gigabit LTE modem. Our preview from back in December has more information for those interested in learning more.

Overall, Qualcomm's next-generation platform handily beats its predecessor but still appears to take a back seat to Apple's latest and greatest in most tests. We should note that the Snapdragon 845 testing was performed on Qualcomm's home turf—that is, in an oversized phone chassis that may have better thermal characteristics than commercial products might end up with.

The silicon maker didn't openly advertise design wins for the Snapdragon 845, but we'd be surprised if the upcoming Mobile World Congress ended without someone showing off a handset powered by the new chip. In particular, the rumor mill predicts that Samsung will probably show off its Snapdragon 845-powered Galaxy S9 phones in Barcelona.

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