System Performance

System performance on the QRD865 was a bit of a tricky topic, as we’ve seen that the same chipset can differ quite a lot depending on the software implementation done by the vendor. For the performance preview this year, Qualcomm again integrated a “Performance” mode on the test devices, alongside the default scheduler and DVFS behaviour of the BSP delivered to vendors.

There’s a fine line between genuine “Performance” modes as implemented on commercial devices such as from Samsung and Huawei, which make tunings to the DVFS and schedulers which increase performance while remaining reasonable in their aggressiveness, and more absurd “cheating” performance modes such as implemented by OPPO for example, which simply ramp up the minimum frequencies of the chip.

Qualcomm’s performance mode on the QRD865 is walking this fine line – it’s extremely aggressive in that it’s ramping up the chipset to maximum frequency in ~30ms. It’s also having the little cores start at a notably higher frequency than in the default mode. Nevertheless, it’s still a legitimate operation mode, although I do not expect very many devices to be configured in this way.

The default mode on the other hand is quite similar to what we’ve seen on the Snapdragon 855 QRD last year, but the issue is that this was also rather conservative and many popular devices such as the Galaxy S10 were configured to be more aggressive. Whilst the default config of the QRD865 should be representative of most devices next year, I do expect many of them to do better than the figures represented by this config.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Web Browsing 2.0

Starting off with the web browsing test, we’re seeing the big difference in performance scaling between the two chipsets. The test here is mostly sensible to the performance scaling of the A55 cores. The QRD865 in the default more is more conservative than some existing S855 devices, which is why it performs worse in those situations. On the other hand, the performance results of the QRD865 here are also extremely aggressive and receives the best results out there amongst our current device range. I expect commercial devices to fall in somewhere between the two extremes.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Video Editing

The video editing test nowadays is no longer performance sensitive and most devices fall in the same result range.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Writing 2.0

The writing test is amongst the most important and representative of daily performance of a device, and here the QRD865 does well in both configurations. The Mate 30 Pro with the Kirin 990 is the only other competitive device at this performance level.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Photo Editing 2.0

The Photo Editing test makes use of RenderScript and GPU acceleration, and here it seems the new QRD865 makes some big improvements. Performance is a step-function higher than previous generation devices.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Data Manipulation

Finally, the data manipulation test oddly enough falls in middle of the pack for both performance modes. I’m not too sure as to why this is, but we’ve seen the test being quite sensible to scheduler or even OS configurations.

PCMark Work 2.0 - Performance

Generally, the QRD865 phone landed at the top of the rankings in PCMark.

Web Benchmarks

Speedometer 2.0 - OS WebView WebXPRT 3 - OS WebView JetStream 2 - OS Webview

The web benchmarks results presented here were somewhat disappointing. The QRD865 really didn’t manage to differentiate itself from the rest of the Android pack even though it was supposed to be roughly 20-25% ahead in theory. I’m not sure what the limitation here is, but the 5-10% increases are well below what we had hoped for. For now, it seems like the performance gap to Apple’s chips remains significant.

System Performance Conclusion

Overall, we expect system performance of Snapdragon 865 devices to be excellent. Commercial devices will likely differ somewhat in terms of their scores as I do not expect them to be configured exactly the same as the QRD865. I was rather disappointed with the web benchmarks as the improvements were quite meagre – in hindsight it might be a reason as to why Arm didn’t talk about them at all during the Cortex-A77 launch.

CPU Performance & Efficiency: SPEC2006 Machine Learning Inference Performance
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  • s.yu - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    There are countless shallow and useless arguments to be made from your standpoint, for example you could argue that turning system animations off "slows down" "real world experience", because without the animations filling in for the latency, "the average joe and jane" perceive "real world" lags/stutters which in reality take less time than playing the animation takes, i.e. is faster, not to mention a decrease to the load on the GPU.
  • Sam6536 - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    Where are rog phone 2 benchmarks?
    Not taking the most powerful android phone into consideration in this test isn't fair
  • joms_us - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    How the hell Apple A9 is faster than Ryzen or Skylake if A13 is pathetically slower in this comparison and not even close to double performance as show in SPEC.

    Makes me think if somebody is drinking Koolaid here?
  • diehardmacfan - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    ahhh yes, poo-poo an industry standard benchmark like SPEC for SoC bencharking in an article about an SoC, then link to a device performance test developed by AndroidAuthority.

    Andrei your patience with idiots is astounding.
  • Nicon0s - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    @diehardmacfan What exactly is wrong with Speed Test GX 2.0? And it wasn't developed by Android Authority.
    The SD 865 completed a bunch of real world CPU related tasks, faster than the A13. This makes this "industry standard benchmark like SPEC" quite irrelevant for somebody interesting to buying a smartphone because in actual usage the A13 doesn't present any real performance advantage.
    Also in the GPU test the SD 865 was only slightly behind even if it pushed more pixels.

    If I would only be interested in buying a smartphone in order to use it to run SPEC and GFXBench Aztec Ruins off-screen benchmark all day long than the iphone 11 would be my number one pick.

    For anything other than that I don't see any real and tangible performance advantage.
    This Anandtech performance analysis seems disconnected from the real world experience of using such high end devices. Android sites do a better job analyzing the experience and significance of the performance of these mobile SOC and what it actually means for smartphone users. For example XDA has a realy nice benchmark where they test the overall fluidity of using certain smartphones. This both tests the OS optimizations and SOC performance.
  • joms_us - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    Excellent point, I am sick and tired of this propaganda to uplift an Apple product just because it shines in one or two primitive and bias benchmarking tool when thousands of other apps say otherwise.
  • s.yu - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    May I interest you in some rhino horn powder claimed by thousands of traditional Chinese witch...I mean doctors to enlarge your penis?
  • s.yu - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    In short: Poor validity and poor reliability. There's nothing particularly useful about that test.
    It generates mixed, or rather obfuscated scores correlating to an unknown extent to UI design choice, certain drivers, and hardware performance.
    This is somewhat metaphysics, and has no place in science.
  • cha0z_ - Friday, December 27, 2019 - link

    That test is fun and great, but totally not representative of anything. Taking it serious is not serious. :)
  • MetaCube - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    How are you still not banned ?

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