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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  • joms_us - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    Ah poorman's attempt to hide the truth. I feel sorry for those buying a phone (even replacing a desktop) because they see it flying with colors in SPEC.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    You're just a blabbering idiot. You keep pulling things out your ass, nobody ever said A9 is faster than Ryzen or Skylake, I dare you find a quote or data that says that. The A13 was the first to *match* them.

    The test you quote isn't ST like the SPEC results, and it's not even a full CPU test as it has API components.
  • joms_us - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    Ahh the irony... Let's see who is the blabbering !d!ot here.

    You reminded us on who the IPC gorila is...

    There it shows A13 and even A9 stomping the latest and greatest Ryzen and Skylake processors

    But then when you compare the A13 versus the Android SoC in various apps and websites, it is the complete opposite.

    I respect you because you have an excellent knowledge in what you do but it comes down to the toilet drain once your critical thinking is subpar and you are shadowed with your ego that you think yours and only yours speak the truth. I would not hesitate to hire you as my design engineer really but you have to back your claims with facts. When you state one is the fastest (especially by huge margin), it has to reflect in any test that you throw at it.

    I would rest my case if you can convince Lisa or Bob that their processors are mediocre compared to Apple's latest SoC LOL.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    That tweet is about IPC of the microarchitectures, not absolute performance.

    You literally have absolutely not a single whim of understanding of what's going on here and keep making a complete utter fool of yourself repeating lies, all you see is a bar graph being bigger than the other and suddenly that's the your whole basis on the truth of the world.

    The actual engineers and architects in the industry very well know where they lie in relation to what's Apple's doing; I don't need to convince anybody.
  • joms_us - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    No, you just told the whole world, that the fastest chip on the planet is the Apple SoC. A chip with great IPC will give great performance result, right? Your graph is telling us, a 1Ghz A12x core is equivalent to a 2Ghz Ryzen core which is utter BS. When AMD or Intel announce that their next processor has 20% IPC improvement, it does show in any tool/benchmark or app you throw at it not the opposite.

    Your tests methodology/tools are completely flawed and outdated as they don't translate to real world results. They are great though if you are comparing two similar platforms.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    > No, you just told the whole world, that the fastest chip on the planet is the Apple SoC

    I did not. High IPC doesn't just mean it's the fastest overall. AMD and Intel still have a slight lead in over performance.

    > A chip with great IPC will give great performance result, right?

    As long as the clock-rate also is high enough, yes.

    > Your graph is telling us, a 1Ghz A12x core is equivalent to a 2Ghz Ryzen core

    That's exactly correct. Apple current has the highest IPC microarchitecture in the industry by a large margin.

    > which is utter BS.

    The difference between you and me is that I actually have a plethora of data to back this up, actual instruction counter data from the performance counters, actual tests tests that show that Apple's µarch is in fact 50% wider than anything else out there.

    You are doing absolutely nothing than spewing rubbish comments with absolutely zero understanding of the matter. You have absolutely nothing to back up your claims about flawed and outdated methodologies, while I have the actual companies who design these chips agreeing with the data I present.
  • arsjum - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link


    As a member of Anandtech staff, you should be better than this. This is not an XDA forum.

    Come on.
  • LordConrad - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    Now if Samsung could just increase the anemic L2 cache. I want 1MB per A7x core and 512KB per A5x core.
  • yankeeDDL - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    It is truly disappointing that Android HW needs to run on SoC with the performance of the iPhone 3-4 generations older.
    I really don't understand with all the demand there is, why nobody comes up with something at least within the range of Apple's SoC.
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    You mean 2 generations behind at most on SPEC. And while interesting technically, it remains debatable how much that actually matters in actual phone use (where having fast SSD, download speeds and a lot of memory can help more). As well as having ~20% better power efficiency of course.

    It would be relatively easy to quadruple L2 to 1MB, L3 to 8MB and system cache to 16MB and get ~20% performance gain on SPEC. The area would be much larger and hence the cost of the SoC which would add to the cost of phones. QC's competitors would be happy to increase their market share with far cheaper SoCs which are equally fast in real-world usage.

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