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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  • eastcoast_pete - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    Thanks Andrei! Amy chance to post the S855's QRD's figures also? These QRDs are "for example" demo units, and the final commercial handsets are often different (faster). Also, any word from QC on how much AI processing power will be needed to run 5G functionality? Huawei's Kirin 990 5G has twice the AI TOPs than their LTE version, and that seems to be due to their (integrated) 5G modem using about half the AI TOPs when actually working in 5G mode
  • eastcoast_pete - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    Any chance, of course. Edit function would be nice.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    I don't see the point in showing the QRD855 results, there's a large spectrum of S855 device results out there and likely we'll see the same with the S865. The QRD855 and QRD865 aren't exactly apples-to-apples configuration comparisons either so that comparison doesn't add any value.
  • ChitoManure - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    Because QRDs from qualcomm might have the simikar cooling system and the OEMs usually have better thermal design which is why they are faster..
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    None of the tests were made under thermal stress scenarios, the cooling isn't a limitation on the QRDs, the performance showcased is the best the chip can achieve.
  • Kishoreshack - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    Man the web benchmarks are DISAPPOINTING
    feel like buying a S10+ now
  • Kishoreshack - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    Just shows how Samsung does the best implementation of Qualcomm Soc's
    even last years Samsung 855 devices are able to out perform Snapdragon 865 in many benchmarks

    Can't wait for S11 now
  • Kishoreshack - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    Anyone even expected Qualcomm beating Apple in performance?
    You were dreaming then
    don't know whom to blame Arm or Qualcomm
    but the Android world is constantly receiving inferior chips
  • Karmena - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    IMHO all these SOCs are at the level that average Joe can do with any of these and the device will feel snappy and good. Now it comes down to the OS delivering the performance and features that users crave.
  • doungmli - Monday, December 16, 2019 - link

    the only benchmarks are the web, 3dmark and geekbench for the a13 chip the rest is in favor of the snapdragon. It should perhaps be remembered that this is a soc so cpu + isp + gpu + ... and when adding the snapdragon >>>> A13. just see the AI ​​markers which take into account the entire soc. For gfx bench it would be necessary to explain why so much difference whereas in the other benchmarks GPU there is not this difference but gfx bench is not outdated for more than a year for me it is no longer a reference. For web performance just see the speed tests on youtube to see that this score is not justified

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