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Which smartphone/tablet owns the fastest processor?

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Which smartphone/tablet owns the fastest processor?
Pretty much every new handset or tablet that comes out features a dual- or quad-core processor of some sort, and we're now well past the 1 GHz mark. With so many contenders, though, it's easy to lose track and become unaware of exactly which device features the fastest processor.

Of course, with the kind of pacing we enjoy in this industry, the fastest processor today is often seen as slow tomorrow, but still, it's always interesting to know who's currently on top of the game.

There are two main factors in determining the speed of a processor - its clock rate and number of cores. Since we've come to the conclusion that increasing the core count brings more speed boost than simply upping the frequency a bit, we'll be looking for the CPU which has the most cores, and highest clock speed. Please keep in mind that the theoretical speed of a processor does not translate into overall speed of the device that uses it. There have been many examples where a smartphone or tablet with a slower processor performs way better than a higher-spec'd competitor. With that out of the way, let the CPU party begin!




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posted on 10 Aug 2012, 08:35 17

1. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


Yeeeeeah! The Infinity wins! :3 Can't wait to get Jelly Bean!

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 08:38 7

2. 09wbd03516 (banned) (Posts: 140; Member since: 30 May 2012)


What about nexus7 PA ignore the nexus7?

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 08:43 12

5. Ray.S (Posts: 339; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


Sorry, the Nexus 7 didn't qualify in the Top 3, as it "only" has a quad-core 1.3 GHz CPU.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 08:39 9

3. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)


How about fastest dual core? because only dual cores in us

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 15:15 1

46. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


The S4 used on the One X usually out preforms the GS3 and other phones using it, but I still would say the GS3 is better than the ONEX

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 08:42 3

4. TheLibertine (Posts: 484; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


Isn't the Exynos Raster than Tegra 3 despite slightly lower clock speed?

And please make such a comparison with graphics performance - with the iPhone and iPad dominating.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 08:44 10

6. Ray.S (Posts: 339; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


It might very well be, but those things are hard to measure, so in this competition here we're just looking at the number of cores and clock rates of the processors.

posted on 11 Aug 2012, 07:13

56. mohdr (Posts: 4; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


ray ray ray come on !!! this is not fair and you know it.

what if i smoked your 7.2 L challenger by my 5.5 L E63 amg.

this does not mean your bigger engine is better.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 11:03 6

31. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


The T3 smoked the A5X in most benchmarks. Besides, I'd rather play on a tablet with a widescreen display than a boxier tablet. The iPad isn't bad though for iOS fans, I'll give you that. I've played with my friend's iPad 2. It's pretty nice. :)

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 08:51 3

8. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


But Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X and LG Optimus 4X HD use the same ARM's Cortex-A9 CPU architecture the performance difference becomes only because different SoC's can squeeze different amount of performance from the same CPU.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 16:30

47. Mario1017 (Posts: 336; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)


The Infinity also has the same architecture

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 08:53 10

9. kunyuk (Posts: 56; Member since: 29 Jun 2012)


What about Nokia 3310 PA?

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 09:03 11

11. Ray.S (Posts: 339; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


This venerable athlete was once on top of its game, but has been retired for quite some time now.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 09:28 8

18. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)


i think it could beat all those! it's even holds more hertz than the hammer of thor! lol

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 09:02 22

10. tedkord (Posts: 12199; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Actually, your analysis and reasoning are off. Simply increasing MHz or cores does not necessarily mean increased speed. There are to many factors to take into account. That's why in PC'S, a slower clocked quad core Intel Dandy Bridge is faster than a six core AMD at a higher frequency.

Internally, you can have the width and length of the pipeline in bits, cache size and speed, the speed of the bus, the number of calculations per clock cycle, etc...externally, the speed of the ram, how many background processes the system is also running, etc...

Now, if you're talking about processors all from the exact same family, then you can make some generalizations like in the article. If you have two Intel Sandy Bridges with the same number of cores, equal cache, etc...the more MHz, the faster.

I know this sounds nitpicky, but these sorts of misconceptions kept people from buying AMD Athlons back when they were spanking Pentiums with 20% higher clocks just because the Athlon said 1GHz, and the Pentium said 1.3GHz. (That plus the brand name. Lots of parallels to smartphones today in that analysis) People were paying more to get less. (More parallels)

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 09:11 10

13. tedkord (Posts: 12199; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


"Sandy Bridge". Goddamned incorrect.

posted on 11 Aug 2012, 12:26

57. roscuthiii (Posts: 2226; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


"Goddamned incorrect"? Heh... I think even your autocorrect got autocorrected. ;-p

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 09:37 4

20. NexusKoolaid (Posts: 481; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


To tedkord you listen. Know what he's talking about, he does.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 10:50 3

28. tedkord (Posts: 12199; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Yoda?

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 10:58

30. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


Lol, I thought this was pretty funny.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 09:44 13

23. doublehammer (Posts: 75; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


thanks for saving me some finger stress.

Seriously... WHAT? I'm sorry Ray, but you need to do a lot of research on chips before doing such a baseless comparison.

The exynos found in the SGS3 blows the snot out of the T3 chip at equal frequencies, lower frequencies, and even higher frequencies.

Under your assumptions backed up by no facts, a (if there was such a thing) quad core Pentium4 chip running at 3ghz would blow away a core2duo running at 2ghz. Which is simply not true. There are so many factors to take into consideration its not funny.. which is why we lean so heavily on benchmarks.

And the benchmarks show quite the opposite. the exynos 4412 obliterates the T3 in all shapes and forms. The ONLY chip that has posted a higher bench than the 4412 is the unreleased S4 "Pro" chip which barely aced it out because of its new GPU. Of course that will be tossed by the exynos 5250, but that is a different story for a different day.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 09:52 2

25. ObjectivismFTW (Posts: 211; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)


You have to remember, the Tegra 3 on the Infinity isn't the same one found on the One X, per say.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 11:49 2

36. doublehammer (Posts: 75; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


The T3 on the infinity is the full T3 that they use in higher end handsets/tablets, so it should be the exact same chip with a different clock. The T3 that they use in the Nexus 7 is slightly different to offset cost which comes with a slight performance decrease. I know they use the lower cost T3 chip on the lower end Asus Transformer models and the difference between the low and high end performance is substantial considering its relatively the same chip with minor modifications.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 12:27 3

42. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


the only real difference between the Tegra III that's in the Infinity and the Tegra III that's in the Prime is that the Infinity's SoC uses DDR3 RAM.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 16:59 4

48. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


why the thumbs down? i'm not wrong, you can look it up.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 19:33 1

52. doublehammer (Posts: 75; Member since: 07 Aug 2012)


I shall up-thumb you in defense of your correct assertions!

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 21:47 1

54. ObjectivismFTW (Posts: 211; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)


People thumbed down my comment as well =0

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 12:39 2

44. ObjectivismFTW (Posts: 211; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)


Yes and No. Firstly, it is not the "exact same" chip .. The Tegra 3 on the Infinity is the T33 models, opposed to the one on the One X(lol) -- the T30 model. The main differences are more memory bandwith (DDR 667 2.7 GB/s to DDR3-1600 6.4 GBs per second) , a higher-clock speed and a higher voltage that yields for a higher boost clock.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 09:51 3

24. ObjectivismFTW (Posts: 211; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)


I can see what your talking about tedkord. But you're forgetting that were talking about ARM CPUs here. You can't compare desktop CPUs to Mobile CPUs because so many variables differ, and so many inconsistencies arise. Remember, each CPU, first and foremost is constructed by ARM, and then tweaked to what ever liking the OEM desires. Different mobile factors like Cortexes put a sort of theoretical speed limit on how fast a CPU can be on that given cortex. Things like cache, DMIPS, Floating points, FSB speed, RAM speed and channels and pipelines only increase performance by the amount that a Cortex could yield. CPUs can only be that much faster than the other when they are burdened by the same theoretical speed limits. Even something like manufacturing process do not yield as many improvements on a Mobile CPU as opposed to a desktop CPU, because of transistor leakage. There are so many variables that decide the speed of a desktop CPU that simply aren't present, or do not make much a difference on a mobile CPU.

Ivy, Sandy and Bulldozer are seperated by so many different manufacturing specifics, it is easy to see why the latter CPU, well, sucks. Also factor in given motherboards, VRMs and all that. But CPUs like Exynos 4412 and Tegra 3(infinity) are based off the same Cortex(although Exynos' Bus width was increased from 64 to 128, mirroring Cortex A-15), and can only differ from each other speed-wise(excluding GPU) in so many ways. ARM is the key here, they have the hand in virtually all the CPUs, so they can set that theoretical speed limit. Any slight deviation from ARM's "rule book" can cause significant defects in performance because we are also dealing with many physical space confinements, although that is not the only reason why. We can talk about batteries, and how Desktop CPUs are given ample amounts of power and circuitry to complete their calculations, but that would only bloat things.

Only when we move to Cortex A-15 can we see the theoretical speed limit increase, and see Dual-Cores outclass Quad-Cores of the previous Cortex.

posted on 10 Aug 2012, 10:44 4

27. tedkord (Posts: 12199; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


I will readily admit my "expertise" lands more toward desktop processors. However, due to the fact that ARM cpu's are designed by ARM, but modified and built by others, I think there are significant differences. Just within the Cortex A9 line you can have processors based on 45, 40 or 32nm processes, which will affect mainly power requirements and speed ramping.

The exynos 4210 and Tegra 3 are both quad A9, iirc, but clock for clock the exynos smokes it. Or at least from the benchmarks I've seen.

But again, I put quotes around the world expertise in the first sentence because I am certainly no expert in core architecture. Our anything else, really. In fact, if the world were populated with people as smart as me, we'd all be living in caves still. We might not have even figured out the cave post yet.

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