GPU Performance & Power

On the GPU side of things, testing the QRD865 is a bit complicated as we simply didn’t have enough time to run the device through our usual test methodology where we stress both peak as well as sustained performance of the chip. Thus, the results we’re able to present today solely address the peak performance characteristics of the new Adreno 650 GPU.

Disclaimer On Power: As with the CPU results, the GPU power measurements on the QRD865 are not as high confidence as on a commercial device, and the preliminary power and efficiency figures posted below might differ in final devices.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Physics

The 3DMark Physics tests is a CPU-bound benchmark within a GPU power constrained scenario. The QRD865 here oddly enough doesn’t showcase major improvements compared to its predecessor, in some cases actually being slightly slower than the Pixel 4 XL and also falling behind the Kirin 990 powered Mate 30 Pro even though the new Snapdragon has a microarchitectural advantage. It seems the A77 does very little in terms of improving the bottlenecks of this test.

3DMark Sling Shot 3.1 Extreme Unlimited - Graphics

In the 3DMark Graphics test, the QRD865 results are more in line with what we expect of the GPU. Depending on which S855 you compare to, we’re seeing 15-22% improvements in the peak performance.

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - High - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen

In the GFXBench Aztec High benchmark, the improvement over the Snapdragon 855 is roughly 26%. There’s one apparent issue here when looking at the chart rankings; although there’s an improvement in the peak performance, the end result is that the QRD865 still isn’t able to reach the sustained performance of Apple’s latest A13 phones.

GFXBench Aztec High Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Warm N7P 26.14 3.83 6.82 fps/W
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Cold / Peak N7P 34.00 6.21 5.47 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Warm N7 19.32 3.81 5.07 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak N7 26.59 5.56 4.78 fps/W
QRD865 (Snapdragon 865) N7P 20.38 4.58 4.44 fps/W
Mate 30 Pro (Kirin 990 4G) N7 16.50 3.96 4.16 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) N7 16.17 4.69 3.44 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Exynos 9820) 8LPP 15.59 4.80 3.24 fps/W

Looking at the estimated power draw of the phone, it indeed does look like Qualcomm has been able to sustain the same power levels as the S855, but the improvements in performance and efficiency here aren’t enough to catch up to either the A12 or A13, with Apple being both ahead in terms of performance, power and efficiency.

GFXBench Aztec Ruins - Normal - Vulkan/Metal - Off-screen

GFXBench Aztec Normal Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Warm N7P 73.27 4.07 18.00 fps/W
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Cold / Peak N7P 91.62 6.08 15.06 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Warm N7 55.70 3.88 14.35 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak N7 76.00 5.59 13.59 fps/W
QRD865 (Snapdragon 865) N7P 53.65 4.65 11.53 fps/W
Mate 30 Pro (Kirin 990 4G) N7 41.68 4.01 10.39 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) N7 40.63 4.14 9.81 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Exynos 9820) 8LPP 40.18 4.62 8.69 fps/W

We’re seeing a similar scenario in the Normal variant of the Aztec test. Although the performance improvements here do match the promised figures, it’s not enough to catch up to Apple’s two latest SoC generations.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Off-screen

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Warm N7P 100.58 4.21 23.89 fps/W
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Cold / Peak N7P 123.54 6.04 20.45 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Warm N7 76.51 3.79 20.18 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak N7 103.83 5.98 17.36 fps/W
QRD865 (Snapdragon 865) N7P 89.38 5.17 17.28 fps/W
Mate 30 Pro (Kirin 990 4G) N7 75.69 5.04 15.01 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) N7 70.67 4.88 14.46 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Exynos 9820) 8LPP 68.87 5.10 13.48 fps/W
Galaxy S9+ (Snapdragon 845) 10LPP 61.16 5.01 11.99 fps/W
Mate 20 Pro (Kirin 980) N7 54.54 4.57 11.93 fps/W
Galaxy S9 (Exynos 9810) 10LPP 46.04 4.08 11.28 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Snapdragon 835) 10LPE 38.90 3.79 10.26 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Exynos 8895) 10LPE 42.49 7.35 5.78 fps/W

Even on the more traditional tests such as Manhattan 3.1, although again the Adreno 650 is able to showcase good improvements this generation, it seems that Qualcomm didn’t aim quite high enough.

GFXBench T-Rex 2.7 Off-screen

GFXBench T-Rex Offscreen Power Efficiency
(System Active Power)
  Mfc. Process FPS Avg. Power
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Warm N7P 289.03 4.78 60.46 fps/W
iPhone 11 Pro (A13) Cold / Peak N7P 328.90 5.93 55.46 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Warm N7 197.80 3.95 50.07 fps/W
iPhone XS (A12) Cold / Peak N7 271.86 6.10 44.56 fps/W
QRD865 (Snapdragon 865) N7P 206.07 4.70 43.84 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Snapdragon 855) N7 167.16 4.10 40.70 fps/W
Mate 30 Pro  (Kirin 990 4G) N7 152.27 4.34 35.08 fps/W
Galaxy S9+ (Snapdragon 845) 10LPP 150.40 4.42 34.00 fps/W
Galaxy 10+ (Exynos 9820) 8LPP 166.00 4.96 33.40fps/W
Galaxy S9 (Exynos 9810) 10LPP 141.91 4.34 32.67 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Snapdragon 835) 10LPE 108.20 3.45 31.31 fps/W
Mate 20 Pro (Kirin 980) N7 135.75 4.64 29.25 fps/W
Galaxy S8 (Exynos 8895) 10LPE 121.00 5.86 20.65 fps/W

Lastly, the T-Rex benchmark which is the least compute heavy workload tested here, and mostly is bottlenecked by texture and fillrate throughput, sees a 23% increase for the Snapdragon 865.

Overall GPU Conclusion – Good Improvements – Competitively Not Enough

Overall, we were able to verify the Snapdragon 865’s performance improvements and Qualcomm’s 25% claims seem to be largely accurate. The issue is that this doesn’t seem to be enough to keep up with the large improvements that Apple has been able to showcase over the last two generations.

During the chipset’s launch, Qualcomm was eager to mention that their product is able to showcase better long-term sustained performance than a competitor which “throttles within minutes”. While we don’t have confirmation as to whom exactly they were referring to, the data and narrative here only matches Apple’s device behaviour. Whilst we weren’t able to test the sustained performance of the QRD865 today, it unfortunately doesn’t really matter for Qualcomm as the Snapdragon 865 and Adreno 650’s peak performance falls in at a lower level than Apple’s A13 sustained performance.

Apple isn’t the only one Qualcomm has to worry about; the 25% performance increases this generation are within reach of Arm’s Mali-G77. In theory, Samsung’s Exynos 990 should be able to catch up with the Snapdragon 865. Qualcomm had been regarded as the mobile GPU leader over the last few years, but it’s clear that development has slowed down quite a lot recently, and the Adreno family has lost its crown.

Machine Learning Inference Performance Final Thoughts
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  • Alistair - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    go into your BIOS and run your Intel computer in dual core mode, 2.6Ghz, and come back and tell me it is fast...
  • id4andrei - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    The software running on these platforms in not identical. Some of it depends on CPU extensions that are not equivalent between platforms. A dual core 2.6 Ghz intel chip will run slower Win10 than an ipad pro would run ios. But you could find a Linux distribution and some oss apps that would run very fast on that 2.6 Ghz dual core intel.
  • Quantumz0d - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    LOL. You won the most stupid comment here congrats.

    "Android fanatics" so you are an Apple sheep I guess.

    Sandybridge OCed to 4GHz+ still keeps up with a 1080Ti without any issues. That shows how Intel milked and Ryzen caught up due to monopoly. And you are crippling an x86 LGA socket processor to 2.6GHz Dual core and compare with an iPad Pro ? In what usecase ? What is the ultimate goal here ? Lets disable all Lightning and Thunder cores and run 1 Lightning then (You cant do it anyways since Apple is the overlord here). What the actual fuck lmao. Also magically slapping in more A13 cores means x86 Intel and AMD are dead, haha you think this is making a sandwich at home ? I thinm you never heard of Sparc or IBM Power go and read snd get your mind blown on threads but do not compare that to x86 or Apple A series Alien technology please. An iOS cannot even process zip file extraction nor a config file for a VPN. That alone breaks the whole A series King to ashes as its not used in a real computer at all. A psuedo Filesystem and fake filemanager app doesn't make it a proper OS. Unfortunately Android is also following same.retarded path thanks to Apple disease at Google emulating by the abomination called Scoped Storage disaster.

    Let me tell you a secret the laptop you used all are garbage and they are cut down bottom barrel silicon from the failed Desktop chips and so on. The age of rPGA Intel is fucked (Last XM is 4930MX, a true binned Mobile Chip like K) Thanks to BGA greed of Apple infecting Intel for max profits and people to be subverted to use BGA / soldered trash throttling thin and light crappy planned obsolescence HW.

    Let us run a Cinebench on your beloved processor then or lets run a POVray or a H264 Transcoding. Well how about we game a PUBG and stream it at 1080P highest quality.

    This is the reason why I see x86 vs ARM talk irrelevant and often AT articles are quoted to prove the IPC and all SPEC scores but completely ignore scalability, compatibility, legacy code, HW market etc, when the compute workloads / OS / Software Code / HW which are entirely different world. Like comparing a Jet fighter to a Jet ski.
  • Alistair - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    Nice rant. Might want to read my comment before going off like a crazy person? I said I only buy Android phones... right there in the first sentence.

    Before you blindly state how amazing x86 CPUs are, as I said, run your Intel CPU in dual core mode at 2.6 Ghz and compare how slow it is vs. the A13 Apple chip that is also 2 power cores at a low frequency. That's what IPC is. I can't understand why people get so triggered about saying Apple has the highest IPC in the industry. It's a simple fact and I just have to assume you don't know what you are talking about. Andrei's articles always seem to attract the most illiterate part of the internet.
  • markol4 - Monday, December 23, 2019 - link

    A13 IPC is superior to Intel or AMD but Apple CPU core is huge in terms of transistors budget. IIRC in A11 times Apple CPU core had at least 2 times more transistors than x86 CPU core. Considering that there is no surprise that Apple has a higher IPC.
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    They might as well just make a chart and put "BUZZWORDS" on it at this point.

    That is what is so silly about current state of smart phones. So much they can cram into one..but rarely do they do..or if they do its crippled by terrible software.

    Google is already facing so much criticism of Google Photos bullshit, months in and they just say "we are aware of it". lol
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    I don't think i'll ever understand how Google can take a product, that works great, then release a dozen updates with release notes that "fixes bugs" and completely borks it for users. I mean what is the fucking incentive. Oh and because everything google is so entwined with other software, for whatever reason, it fucks up other things. So now you try to figure out what software is the original culprit or is it the others now. This shit never ends with google.
  • Nicon0s - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    Do you know what's amusing?
    The vast majority of people reading this article don't really understand what those numbers showed by the SPEC actually mean, what they represent for the functionality of the phone. Most only copy paste things form the article that they like, especially the parts where it's mentioned that the Qualcomm chips are "years" behind. So it doesn't matter how the phone runs and how fast it can execute real world tasks.

    One thing I don't understand is if I would buy a Galaxy S11+ instead of an iphone 11 Pro Max what will I be missing in terms of performance? What specific advantage would the A13 SOC give me because "it's years ahead" in performance?
  • cha0z_ - Friday, December 27, 2019 - link

    My second hand iphone 6s runs super smooth, including in heavy beautiful games - no fps drops or performance issues. Doing so on Galaxy s6 (the available competition model from the same year) is not possible.

    This is where the powerful SOC shines - years down the road where the phone stays relevant and a pleasure to use. Ofc you will not have to worry about that with your S11+ as samsung support their phones fully for only two years (3rd is security updates only). Really they drop the phone as full/serious support even before the first year drops - this is what happened with my note 9, no attention at all - just quick security updates and no interest beyond that. After all - they put the capable engineers to work only towards the new upcoming phones. Apple support FULLY their phones for 5-6 years + they released this summer a security update for iphone 5 and 4s - 2011 and 2012 model. Any android phone from those years receiving a security update?

    Also you can play full PC civilization 6 game on the iphone. No android port and not only because piracy, but because on later turns/bigger maps the android SOCs will choke and the wait time between turns - unbearable. I can list you also a lot more games exclusive to ios, a lot because of performance. Dead cells for example, keeping in touch with the devs - the mobile port dev team (it's outsourced) struggles BIG TIME with performance on android thus massively delaying it.
  • tranceazure1814 - Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - link

    So the main point that I want to know,is it worth upgrading to a Snapdragon 865 over a Snapdragon 855 and while we on the subject does the mi mix 3 5g has less LTE bands than the standard snapdragon 845 mi mix 3?

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