Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: Benchmarking A Hot Rod Mobile Chip [Updated]

Saddling-Up Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 For A Flight Of Benchmarks

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Chip In System Stylized

Though the company has been evangelizing its next generation Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform for a while now, Qualcomm is lifting the veil today on the new SoC's benchmark performance profile. As we showed you back in December, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 is based on a bleeding-edge 10nm LPP FinFET manufacturing process with Samsung, and an entirely new architecture that promises significant gains in power efficiency and performance. Snapdragon 845 is a grounds-up silicon redesign from Qualcomm, targeted at a new breed of flagship smartphones and other premium mobile devices.

snapdragon 845 faster process

At the heart of the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform is the new Kyro 385 CPU, which features four high-performance cores operating at 2.8GHz and four efficiency cores that are dialed back to 1.7GHz, all of which should culminate in a claimed 25 percent uplift over the Snapdragon 835, in terms of general compute performance. Onboard you’ll also find 2MB of shared L3 cache along with 3MB of system cache.

Snapdragon 845 test device front
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Reference Prototype

Qualcomm's new Adreno 630 integrated GPU core is destined to make a big leap in performance over its predecessor as well, with up to a 30 percent increase in graphics throughput, allowing the Snapdragon 845 to become the first mobile platform to enable room-scale VR/AR experiences that support 6 degrees of freedom, along with simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM. It should also translate into superior overall gaming performance compared to the Snapdragon 835, which was employed in many of the top flagship Android phones launched during 2017.

Snapdragon 845 Test Device, Rear

Two of the first smartphones that will take advantage of the Snapdragon 845 include Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, which will make their world debut on February 25th. But until then, we have pulled some early benchmarks from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 platform reference device (see above), to give you a general idea of what kind of performance to expect from this upcoming wave of 2018 Android flagship phones.

Snapdragon 845 benchmarks versus user experience

Qualcomm's reference smartphone isn't exactly as polished as you'll see with final retail smartphones when they hit the market, but it definitely gets the job done and is intended to flesh out every single feature of this new mobile platform - so it's jammed-packed with all the bells and whistles. It also of course packs a Snapdragon 845 SoC, which in this case is paired with 6GB of RAM. In addition, this particular unit has 64GB of internal storage. To cap things off, the reference design is running Android 8.0 Oreo.

Of course, as Qualcomm notes in the slide above, benchmarks don't tell the whole story. It's what smartphone OEMs build with a powerful processing engine and mobile platform, along with the features and functionality they can enable with it. Regardless, we're sure many of you still want to know how this new hot rod chip handles in the turns, so let's get on with it, shall we?

Update - 2/12/2018, 5:00 PM - We are updating a few of our benchmark graphs with scores from the iPhone X and its A11 Bionic processor, as an additional reference point for a flagship Apple device. We don’t have results for every test because not all benchmarks are cross-platform compatible, nor do they present identical workloads across different mobile operating systems. As a result, we're including only those we feel present a level playing field. 

GeekBench 4.0
Synthetic CPU Testing

In our first test, Geekbench, we're stressing only CPU cores in a handset (not graphics), with both single and multi-threaded workloads. The test is comprised of encryption processing, image compression, HTML5 parsing, physics calculations, and other general purpose compute processing. 

Geekbench Snapdragon 845 Test2

Right out of the gate, the Snapdragon 845 is flexing its muscle, improving on the Snapdragon 835's numbers by roughly 30 percent. In multi-core testing, the Snapdragon 845 achieves about a 26 percent performance uplift compared to the Motorola Moto Z2 Force, which was last year's speed demon in the flagship Android smartphone class for this benchmark. Versus the iPhone X and its A11 Bionic processor, Apple's tight coupling of silicon platform with its iOS operating system shows its prowess as well. That said, the Snapdragon 845 remains competitive and brings the Android platform back on par for next generations devices, versus the best Apple has to offer currently.

Next up, we're using the JetStream benchmark for Javascript performance and RightWare’s Web Test 3.0 for comprehensive, mixed-media web performance analysis, including HTML5 rendering. Here we'll primarily determine how the the Snapdragon 845 SoC handles this workload, along with the Android Oreo operating system and Chrome web browser...

JetStream And Basemark Web 3.0
JavaScript and Browser Performance Testing

Snapdragon 845 JetStream

Basemark web 30 Snapdragon 845

Not surprisingly, the Snapdragon 845 runs away from the pack compared to the current crop of Android smartphones. The new chip easily tops the charts, which bodes well for overall browsing performance on this year's incoming class of flagship Android devices.

Futuremark PCMark For Android
General Purpose Pocket Computing Performance Metrics

Futuremark's PCMark for Android is an excellent suite of tests that we highly recommend for benchmarking performance of a handset with heavier-duty tasks for things like image and video editing, as well as lighter-duty workloads like email, and web browsing. When you see the test running live it's clear the scripted application tests are carefully selected and tuned to make use of the platforms involved in a very controlled way. 

PCMark Android Snapdragon 845

The story is no different with PCMark for Android, as the Snapdragon 845 dominates in photo editing and the Work 2.0 benchmark. We see somewhat of a regression in the Video Editing benchmark compared to the Snapdragon 835, but overall, the numbers so far are looking good for Qualcomm's new chip. Drivers and the OS are likely still being tuned, so it's possible the video editing numbers come back the other way, once retail smartphones ship. Note that the Video Editing test leaders are the highly-tuned Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, while the other devices fall behind Snapdragon 845.

Let's get our game on... 

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