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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  • yankeeDDL - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    No, I was looking at the Web benchmarks. All of them are miserable compared even to the iPhone X.
    And Web browsing is certainly a key part of mobile experience.
  • joms_us - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    And yet in real world comparison, iPhone is faster only in handful of sites (excluding LOL) by millisec. Does that look miserable to you? =D
  • Nicon0s - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    Yes and have you actually seen an Android flagship that performs noticeably worse than an iphone(any iphone) in web browsing? Because I sure haven't.

    What I have seen is Android phones with better connection speed and better reception in general, especial in crowded places like concerts, stadiums, subways etc. In those places the performance from the iphone x was actually 0 in many instances because there was no signal. If we are talking about the mobile experience let's not ignore the Modem.
  • s.yu - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    "If we are talking about the mobile experience let's not ignore the Modem."
    And there are connectivity tests for that, although controlling variables in a connectivity test is almost impossible outside of lab conditions.
    Ultimately these are separate tests and test entirely different aspects. You're free to test both, but if you try to test them simultaneously outputting one single result, you will obtain one worthless data point.
  • Wilco1 - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    Synthetic browsing benchmarks depend highly on software implementation and tuning, so they are not useful to compare CPU performance.
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    A bit MEH...
  • Alistair - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    The Android fanatics are out tonight. I only buy Android phones, period. Clearly Apple's CPUs are miles ahead in performance. Anyone use the latest iPad Pro? It's faster than any Windows laptop I've bought or used personally. Boss gave us the latest and greatest dual core HP ultra slim laptop, and I immediately replaced it with a Ryzen 8 core computer and said "I don't use laptops for real work". We don't need benchmarks to tell us how fast Apple's CPUs are (though Andrei's benchmarks are perfectly valid), it is immediately apparent when comparing vs. similarly clocked Intel products. The reasons Ryzen and Intel seem great right now are high clocks and many cores. Run your 9900k in 2 core mode, at 2.6 Ghz and squirm at its low speed. That's what the iPhone uses, a low clocked dual core. Put 8 together, and run it at 4 Ghz, and you have a monster.
  • id4andrei - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    You're forgetting a stripped down mobile OS and relatively stripped down mobile apps that are part of the speed equation.
  • Alistair - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    that has nothing to do with it, that's what I'm saying, that's what Andrei is saying
  • Alistair - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    the other Andrei lol

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