Battle of the S8 chipsets: Snapdragon 835 vs Exynos 8895


As is the case for almost every of Samsung’s flagships, each of this year’s Galaxy S8 variants will come in two separate versions – one for the US and China, running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, and one for the rest of the world, powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 8895. This comes as a result of Qualcomm’s firm grasp on CDMA-related patents, which all but guarantees their near-monopoly in the States, forcing companies like Samsung to release modified versions of their devices compatible with local bands.

While the two chipsets have their differences, they are fairly minimal, and it’s fair to say the end user will probably never feel them. Furthermore, Samsung is unlikely to sell an underpowered version of its device in a given market, and will almost surely strive for equivalency across versions as a result. Still, while we’re waiting for the Galaxy S8, the best we can do is to compare the two chipsets, and see how they fare against each other, which will hopefully give us an idea of what the differences between versions might be:

Snapdragon 835Exynos 8895
CPU CoresKryo 280Custom + Cortex A53
CPU Configuration4 x 2.45 GHz
4 x 1.9 GHz
4 x 2.5 GHz
4 x 1.7 GHz
GPUAdreno 540Mali-G71 MP20
RAM2 x 32-bit LPDDR4X 1866MHzLPDDR4X
Camera16MP Dual, 32MP Single28MP+16MP Dual, 28MP Single
FlasheMMC 5.1 / UFS 2.1eMMC 5.1 / UFS 2.1
Video Recording4K @ 30FPS4K @ 120FPS
Video Playback4K UHD @ 60fps4K UHD @ 120fps
ModemLTE Cat. 16 4CA 1 Gbps down
LTE Cat. 13 2CA 150 Mbps up
LTE Cat. 16 5CA 1 Gbps down
LTE Cat. 13 2CA 150 Mbps up
ChargingQuick Charge 4.0, WiPowerSamsung Adaptive Fast Charge, Qi, PMA

CPU

The two processors are pretty similar, but their cores run at somewhat different clock speeds. 

First off, we have what is probably the most important component of a smartphone – its processor. Both Samsung and Qualcomm have upped their game since the last generation, offering an almost 30 percent increase in performance, along with a 40 percent reduction of power consumption. These, along with the processors' reduced physical size, are all a result of new 10 nm FinFET technologies, which let the manufacturers cram more power in less space. Both processors feature an octa-core architecture, with four high- and four low-powered cores which get switched on depending on processor load. While the two processors’ clock speeds are somewhat different, real-life usage benchmarks are yet to show which solution is the better one, though we predict performance will be near identical.

GPU

The Snapdragon offers a 25% improvement over previous chipsets, but the Exynos beats that quite easily.


In recent years, more and more pressure has been put upon chip makers to further develop not just the processors, but the GPUs, too – this largely comes from the emergence of mobile VR, which puts an immense strain upon the graphics capabilities of a phone. The Adreno 540, which is bundled into the Snapdragon 835, offers a 25 percent increase in power compared to its predecessor, the 530. The Exynos-powered version of the S8 will feature a Mali-G71 GPU instead, which will also come in an impressive 20-core configuration, with Samsung promising up to 60 percent improvement over previous GPUs. The clear winner here is Samsung’s chipset, though hopefully the real-world difference won’t be as huge as the number suggest.

Data speeds


Both new chipsets offer increased potential data speed – in fact, the numbers are exactly the same: up to 1 Gbps down and 150 Mbps up, though a major difference is that Exynos’ modem is also the first ever to offer 5-band carrier aggregation. Specifics on it are unclear, however, meaning we don’t yet know whether 5 bands are required to hit the maximum speed, or they are simply an optional feature. 

Audio, video, and cameras

The S8 doesn't make use use of either processor's full capabilities in the camera department.


According to leaked specs, the Galaxy S8 will feature a 12 MP dual camera on the back, and an 8 MP one on the front. This is a far cry from both of its chipsets’ capabilities, unfortunately – the Snapdragon 835 supports a dual-16 MP rear shooter, while the Exynos 8895 ups that with a 16 plus 28 MP configuration. Exynos-powered devices should also support 120 fps video playback, along with 4K recording, which puts the 835’s 60 fps playback to shame. Samsung’s chip also includes what the company calls a “Vision Processing Unit”, a technology designed to help analyze image data, and improve the phone’s video tracking and object recognition capabilities. As for audio, a comparison remains impossible for now, as the Exynos’ DSP hasn’t been detailed yet. the Snapdragon, on the other hand, offers reduced power consumption, including for always-on microphones, which are commonly used in virtual assistants.

Charging



Both of the chipsets powering the S8 will also feature some form of fast charging – for the international version, there’s Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charge, while the US gets Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0. The devices’ wireless charging technology will also be different, too, with Exynos-powered ones using the QI and PMA standards, while the Snapdragon 835 is locked to Qualcomm’s WiPower.

Security


As expected, both chipsets have advanced security features, the biggest of which is probably support for iris scanning technology. The S8 has been rumored for a while to include the feature, helping up mobile security. Snapdragon Security, a feature of the new 835 chipset, also promises automatic malware detection, along with transaction authentication for mobile payments. The Exynos 8895, meanwhile, has a “dedicated layer” for security, which will offer much of the same features, along with a hardware crypto accelerator and a flash memory protector.

Conclusion


While the different US and international variants of previous Samsung flagships haven’t differed that much in terms of specs, the Exynos-powered versions have consistently offered slightly better performance, and the S8 is not an exception in that regard. Of course, it’s doubtful Samsung will let international users get more features than US ones, so don’t get your hopes up for 120 fps video just yet. As for real-life performance, it’s worth noting again that nothing is set in stone just yet – there have been recorded instances of the same device using the same chipset on a different carrier having significantly different performance, so only time (and benchmarks) can tell which will be the best version of the Galaxy S8.

sources: Qualcomm, Samsung

Related phones

Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)
Galaxy S8+
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh(24h 3G talk time)

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47 Comments

1. Takeharu

Posts: 285; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Title says SD 820 instead of 835

25. sgodsell

Posts: 7191; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

All 8 cores on the SD 835 are kryo 280 custom cores vs the 8895 use 4 custom cores and the other 4 are regular cortex-A53 cores clocked lower. The real test comes in GPUs and Qualcomm has been the king with its GPU every year. But this year is looking up for the 8895, especially when it can sustain a 4k display at 120 fps. So it will be interesting to see how each will do in VR. The ram is interesting as well. It doesn't say how many channels the 8895 has. Plus we don't know the maximum ram speed. If the 8895 supports 4 channels with 2400 MHz ram. Then this would explain a lot.

2. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

The 8895 also supports ufs 2.1

5. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

And the 8895 supports Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) compliant Which probably isn't a difference now But in the future, when HSA is common, it should mean the 8895 can offload some more workloads to its GPU

3. IosDroid

Posts: 117; Member since: Dec 03, 2015

Kaloyan, to me it seems like there is a mixup in the charging types. Quickcharge should be with Qualcomm and Samsung Adaptive with Exynos.

4. Kaloyan.C

Posts: 22; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

Fixed, thanks!

7. manojmcn

Posts: 633; Member since: Jul 16, 2015

The tweet still says Snapdragon 820 vs Exynos 8895...

6. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

Wow 4k @120 fps hope it doesn't explodes this time.otherwise gta 5 mod will feature new samsung grenade 8

16. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Let's walk past explosions shall we? And move towards positive strides. If this new exynos can do videos 4k@120fps without sweat, Qualcomm has something to deal with.

18. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

For the sake of equality, they will surely keep video recording locked to 30 FPS on the Exynos 9 processor.

28. Macready

Posts: 1817; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

They didn't when the S4 came out.

33. UglyFrank

Posts: 2193; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

You mean the Note 3? S800 4K/Exynos 5420 no 4K The S4 couldn't do 4K

35. Macready

Posts: 1817; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

I'm talking about differences in video specs in general for both versions. The Exynos S4 could do 720p @ 120 fps, the Snapdragon couldn't.

8. saiki4116

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 31, 2011

LTE uses 180KHz sub carriers, with CA(Carrier Aggregation), these sub carriers need not be contagious, can be across which helps scheduler as well as improve throughput.

9. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

As if the GPU in the E8895 is actually going to be more powerful than the GPU in the SD835, hasn't happened yet and if it does I doubt those percentages that suggest the MP20 G71 will destroy the Adreno 540 is accurate to say the least.

10. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

Doesn't matter half baked samsung devices would still lag.

11. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

The 7420 had a faster GPU than the SD 810, and the exynos 5410 had a faster GPU than SD600. I have conclusive proof that the E8895 GPU will beat the Adreno 540 easily. In fact, I'm gonna write a blog post about it.

12. liberalsnowflake

Posts: 273; Member since: Feb 24, 2017

True on paper it was fast but was still shamelessly lagging on certain low demanding games.

47. alex3run

Posts: 715; Member since: May 18, 2014

The key word is "low demanding". Don't know exactly about E7420 vs SD810 but E5433 outperformed SD805 in games though the difference wasn't huge.

15. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I reckon 8895's GPU will be better in short term benchmarks, but the 835's will be better in long term benchmarks Time will tell Although we probably have to wait for the 835 phones since Samsung's tend to be unoptimized as they usually focus more on their Exynos models (which is understandable)

19. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

I don't think so. The benchmarks for the G71 MP8 on anandtech left me awestruck. If Samsung goes for an MP20 configuration at 10nm with low frequencies, it will beat the 835 in peak as well as sustained performance. Even if it throttles by 30-40%, it will be ahead. And that's assuming adreno 540 is super stable. The G71 is an absolute monster of a GPU. Check this out: http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph10871/Huawei_Mate_9-GPU-Basemark_ES31-Off.png

32. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Yikes, I hadn't seen that. Hopefully Xiaomi does their thing with their Pinecone SoC, because they have been making strides to include western LTE bands and I can't see them going backwards on that. Hopefully the Mi6 will include these, because at their prices, goodbye Qualcomm.

42. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Basemark ES 3.1 is a bit older, doesn't use tessellation GFXBench 4.0 Car Chase has tessellationhttp://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph10871/Huawei_Mate_9-GPU-GFXBench_Car_Chase-Off.png Still very impressive for a MP8, but it throttles in long term Manhattan 3.1 The Pixel gets 28.7 fps, only dropping a few fps The Mate 9 gets 17.9 fps https://gfxbench.com/compare.jsp?benchmark=gfx40&did1=36723173&os1=Android&api1=gl&hwtype1=GPU&hwname1=Qualcomm+Adreno+%28TM%29+530&D2=Huawei+Mate+9+%28MHA-xxx%29 The Adreno 540 should be super stable given te Adreno 530 is already, eventhough with its CPU is subpar in efficiency Obviously the MP20 will do far better than the MP8 due to lower clocks But I have doubts if it will be better than the 540's sustained performance since its a pretty big gap

22. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

E7420 had slightly slower GPU than SD810, E8890 has slower GPU than SD820/821, E9810 may be equal to the SD835.

24. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

E7420 had a faster GPU than 810: http://www.anandtech.com/show/9146/the-samsung-galaxy-s6-and-s6-edge-review/6 See it for yourself. About the 8890 vs 820, it was a dead heat. E8890 won some, S820 won the others: http://www.anandtech.com/show/10196/the-samsung-galaxy-s7-and-s7-edge-review-part-2/3 8895 will surely be faster than 835 based on the leaks.

34. UglyFrank

Posts: 2193; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

The problem with the GPUs in exynos is they can't handle the higher compute situations as well as the Snapdragons can.

36. Tyrion_Lannister unregistered

Exynos uses ARM's Mali GPUs. And yes, upto the last gen, they used midgard architecture which had really bad compute performance. But it should change with bifrost in the G71. I am one of the only users who use their GPUs for compute. My GTX 1060 has ran many a neural network simulations for deep learning. And never in the world would I do that on a phone, or even a laptop for that matter. P.S.: I know AMD GPUs have better compute. But for the moment the libraries I use only support CUDA, not OpenCL.

39. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

f**k paper facts, I'm talking IRL performance and Snapdragon has always performed better when gaming.

40. AStar

Posts: 7; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

IRL performance, you wouldn't notice any difference in 99% games on the play store.

41. Instigator

Posts: 39; Member since: Feb 11, 2017

Give up Arch, you've been schooled. Tyrion Lannister is always fair and provides real facts. No one is interested in what you want to believes, so please stick to facts.

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