The new Galaxy S21 collection of units have been out commercially for every week now, and we’ve managed to get our fingers on two Galaxy S21 Ultras – one with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 SoC, and one with Samsung’s new Exynos 2100 SoC. Both chipsets this yr are extra related than ever, each now sporting related CPU configurations, and each being produced on a brand new Samsung 5nm (5LPE) course of node.

Ahead of our full gadget assessment of the Galaxy S21 Ultra (and the smaller Galaxy S21), as we speak we’re specializing in the primary take a look at outcomes of the brand new technology of SoCs, placing them by their paces, and pitting them towards one another within the new 2021 aggressive panorama.

The Snapdragon 888

Qualcomm Snapdragon Flagship SoCs 2020-2021
SoC Snapdragon 865

Snapdragon 888

CPU 1x Cortex-A77
@ 2.84GHz 1x512KB pL2

3x Cortex-A77
@ 2.42GHz 3x256KB pL2

4x Cortex-A55
@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

4MB sL3

1x Cortex-X1
@ 2.84GHz 1x1024KB pL2

3x Cortex-A78
@ 2.42GHz 3x512KB pL2

4x Cortex-A55
@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

4MB sL3

GPU Adreno 650 @ 587 MHz Adreno 660 @ 840MHz
DSP / NPU Hexagon 698

15 TOPS AI
(Total CPU+GPU+HVX+Tensor)

Hexagon 780

26 TOPS AI
(Total CPU+GPU+HVX+Tensor)

Memory
Controller
4x 16-bit CH

@ 2133MHz LPDDR4X / 33.4GB/s
or
@ 2750MHz LPDDR5  /  44.0GB/s

3MB system degree cache

4x 16-bit CH

@ 3200MHz LPDDR5  /  51.2GB/s

3MB system degree cache

ISP/Camera Dual 14-bit Spectra 480 ISP

1x 200MP or 64MP with ZSL
or
2x 25MP with ZSL

4K video & 64MP burst seize

Triple 14-bit Spectra 580 ISP

1x 200MP or 84MP with ZSL
or
64+25MP with ZSL
or
3x 28MP with ZSL

4K video & 64MP burst seize

Encode/
Decode
8K30 / 4K120 10-bit H.265

Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

720p960 infinite recording

8K30 / 4K120 10-bit H.265

Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

720p960 infinite recording

Integrated Modem none
(Paired with exterior X55 solely)

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 2500 Mbps
7x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM
UL = 316 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)
DL = 7000 Mbps
UL = 3000 Mbps

X60 built-in

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 2500 Mbps
7x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM
UL = 316 Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6 + mmWave)
DL = 7500 Mbps
UL = 3000 Mbps

Mfc. Process TSMC
7nm (N7P)
Samsung
5nm (5LPE)
     

Starting off with the brand new Snapdragon 888 SoC, Qualcomm’s new flagship mannequin makes iterative steps this technology, with the largest adjustments of the brand new design really being within the type of the brand new Hexagon 780 accelerator, which fuses collectively conventional scalar and vector DSP operations with tensor execution engines inside one single IP block.

The Snapdragon 888 vs The Exynos 2100: Cortex-X1 & 5nm

Of course, we’re additionally seeing upgrades elsewhere within the structure, with the Snapdragon 888 being among the many first SoCs to make use of Arm’s new Cortex-X1 CPU IP, promising massive efficiency features relative to final technology Cortex-A77 cores. The single X1 cores within the Snapdragon 888 clocks in at 2.84GHz – the identical because the earlier technology Snapdragon 865’s prime Cortex-A77 cores, and fewer than the three.1GHz and three.2GHz Snapdragon 865+ and just lately introduced Snapdragon 870 SoCs.

Alongside the X1, we discover three Cortex-A78 cores at 2.42GHz, once more the identical clocks because the earlier technology 865 SoCs, however this time round with double the L2 caches at 512KB.

The Cortex-A55 little cores stay equivalent this technology, clocking in at 1.8GHz.

Although we had been anticipating 8MB L3 cache flagship SoCs this yr, it does seem like Qualcomm opted to stay at 4MB for this technology – however at the least the corporate dons the X1 core with the utmost 1MB L2 cache configuration.

On the GPU aspect of issues, Qualcomm’s new Adreno 660 GPU now clocks in as much as a peak 840MHz – a whopping 43% greater frequency than the Snapdragon 865 GPU. The firm’s efficiency claims listed here are additionally astonishing, promising a +35% increase in efficiency. We’ll need to see how this all finally ends up by way of energy consumption and long-term efficiency within the later devoted GPU part.

What’s fairly totally different for the Snapdragon 888 this yr is that Qualcomm has moved from a TSMC N7P course of node to Samsung’s new 5LPE node – the commonly wildcard on this complete scenario as we haven’t had any prior expertise with this new 5nm node.

The Exynos 2100

Samsung Exynos SoCs Specifications
SoC

Exynos 990

Exynos 2100

CPU 2x Exynos M5
@ 2.73GHz 2MB sL2
3MB sL3

2x Cortex-A76
@ 2.50GHz 2x256KB pL2

4x Cortex-A55
@ 2.00GHz 4x64KB pL2

1MB sL3

1x Cortex-X1

@ 2.91GHz 1x512KB pL2

3x Cortex-A78

@ 2.81GHz 3x512KB pL2

4x Cortex-A55

@ 2.20GHz 4x64KB pL2

4MB sL3

GPU Mali G77MP11 @ 800 MHz Mali G78MP14 @ 854 MHz
Memory
Controller
4x 16-bit CH

@ 2750MHz LPDDR5  /  44.0GB/s

2MB System Cache

4x 16-bit CH

3200MHz LPDDR5  /  51.2GB/s

6MB System Cache

ISP Single: 108MP
Dual: 24.8MP+24.8MP
Single: 200MP
Dual: 32MP+32MP

(Up to quad simultaneous digital camera)

NPU Dual NPU + DSP + CPU + GPU
15 TOPs
Triple NPU + DSP + CPU + GPU
26 TOPs
Media 8K30 & 4K120 encode & decode
H.265/HEVC, H.264, VP9
8K30 & 4K120 encode &
8K60 decode

H.265/HEVC, H.264, VP9
AV1 Decode

Modem Exynos Modem External 

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 3000 Mbps
8x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM
UL = 422 Mbps
?x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6)
DL = 5100 Mbps

(5G NR mmWave)
DL = 7350 Mbps

Exynos Modem Integrated

(LTE Category 24/18)
DL = 3000 Mbps
8x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM
UL = 422 Mbps
4x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6)
DL = 5100 Mbps
UL = 1920Mbps

(5G NR mmWave)
DL = 7350 Mbps
UL = 3670 Mbps

Mfc. Process Samsung
7nm (7LPP)
Samsung
5nm (5LPE)

On the Samsung LSI aspect of issues, we discover the brand-new Exynos 2100. Unlike the Snapdragon 888’s extra incremental adjustments by way of SoC design, the brand new Exynos is a moderately massive departure for Samsung’s SoC division as that is the primary flagship design in a few years that now not makes use of Samsung’s personal in-house CPU microarchitecture, however moderately reverts again to utilizing Arm Cortex cores, which on this case can be the brand new Cortex-X1 and Cortex-A78 cores.

The new Galaxy S21 collection of units have been out commercially for every week now, and we’ve managed to get our fingers on two Galaxy S21 Ultras – one with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 SoC, and one with Samsung’s new Exynos 2100 SoC. Both chipsets this yr are extra related than ever, each now sporting related CPU configurations, and each being produced on a brand new Samsung 5nm (5LPE) course of node.

From a high-level, the CPU configuration of the Exynos 2100 seems nigh equivalent to that of the Snapdragon 888, as each are 1+3+4 designs with X1, A78 and A55 cores. The variations are within the particulars:

The X1 cores on the Exynos 2100 clock barely greater at as much as 2.91GHz, whereas the Cortex-A78 clock in considerably greater than the Snapdragon as they attain 2.81GHz. The Cortex-A55 cores are additionally fairly aggressive by way of frequency as they now attain 2.20GHz – so general throughout the board greater clocks than the Snapdragon variant.

Where the Exynos isn’t as aggressive although is in its cache configurations. Most importantly, the X1 cores right here solely characteristic 512KB of L2 cache, which is a bit bizarre given the all-out-performance philosophy of the brand new CPU. The Cortex-A78s additionally see the utilization of 512KB L2 caches, whereas the little A55 cores characteristic 64KB L2’s – lower than the Snapdragon counterparts.

Much just like the Snapdragon, the L3 cache additionally falls in at 4MB moderately than the 8MB we’d have hoped for this technology, nevertheless Samsung does shock us with the utilization of an estimated 6-8MB system degree cache, up from the 2MB design within the Exynos 990.

On the GPU aspect of issues, we see a Mali-G78MP14 at as much as 854MHz. That’s 27% extra cores and 6.7% greater frequency, and the corporate can be boasting large efficiency features because it touts a 40% generational enchancment.

Let them battle

In as we speak piece, we’ll be largely focusing round CPU and GPU efficiency, as an particularly attention-grabbing comparability can be to see how the 2 designs do towards one another, provided that they each now use Arm’s latest Cortex-X1 cores and each are sporting the identical manufacturing node.

The GPU comparisons can even be attention-grabbing – and perhaps fairly controversial, because the outcomes gained’t be what many individuals may have been anticipating.

While we’d have preferred to showcase AI efficiency of the 2 SoCs – sadly the software program scenario on the Galaxy S21’s proper now signifies that neither SoC are totally profiting from their new accelerators, in order that’s a subject to revisit in a number of months’ time as soon as the correct frameworks have been up to date by Samsung.