Samsung's Exynos 990 already beats the A13 or Snapdragon 855 - a chipset comparison

Samsung's Exynos 990 already beats the A13 or Snapdragon 855 - a chipset comparison
Samsung just detailed its first Exynos 99x-series processor that is a step above the Exynos 9820 in the Galaxy S10 family, or even the 9825 in the Note 10 models. The 9820 was an odd 8nm bird that is slightly inferior to the Snapdragon 855 in the US versions of the S10 which is made with the first-gen 7nm process. The 9825 righted that wrong as it is made on the second-gen 7nm process that is also employed by Apple's newest A13.

The problem with the Galaxy S10 processor was that Samsung didn't have enough spring yield from its second-gen 7nm process made with the superior Extreme Ultra Violet (EUV) lithography to satisfy the demand, so it went with the middle ground 8nm Exynos 9820 abroad that is still made with the old fine metal mask process. This showed, both in benchmarks and in real world performance, especially when it comes to battery life, graphics and camera performance.

With the Note 10, however, the tables turned. The Exynos 9825 was the first mass-produced mobile chipset made with the latest second-gen 7nm method, and it scored impressive benchmarks. Apple's A13, however, landed with a 7nm EUV node, too, and started wiping the floor with every other Android out there, including Qualcomm's upgraded Snapdragon 855+.

This is why we decided to pit the two most important current mobile processors - Snapdragon 855 and Apple A13 - against Samsung's newest kid on the block, the Exynos 990. The Snapdragon and Apple's processor will be tiding us over at least until the spring, when the 990 and 865 enter retail devices.

Exynos 990 vs Apple A13 vs Snapdragon 855+ specs comparison


We are comparing the currently known Exynos 990 specs and features below for your viewing pleasure. For reference, we included the current Snapdragon 855 that is in most 2019 Android flagships already.



Will the Exynos 990 benchmarks be worthy of a Galaxy S11?


While we are still to see a device with Exynos 990 benchmarked, the sheer fact that it stays on the same production node as the Exynos 9825 shows that Samsung is gunning for other improvements than a mere performance/efficiency ratio upgrade.

The Exynos 990 does carry Samsung's newest 5th-gen Exynos M5 core as opposed to the M4 in 9825, and Mali-G77 GPU instead of G76, but these account for about 20% performance increase, says Samsung itself, graphics boost included. Surprisingly enough, Samsung's comparison is against the 8nm 9820, not the newer 9825, so the 990 benchmarks may not be all that impressive next to what your Note 10 can do right now.

Where the Exynos 990 stands out, however, is that it is the first mobile chipset with true DDR5 support, and the first announced with an option for integrating a 7nm mmWave 5G modem, the Exynos 5123. The modem itself is leaps and bounds above what anyone, including Qualcomm, is offering at the moment, with its peak 7Gbps download speeds, though we'd wager to guess that the upcoming Snapdragon 865 may catch up. 


For now, the Exynos 990 is shaping up to be a monster of a chipset with the best that the current 7nm node can offer. The only thing that puts its existence in the Galaxy S11 at stake is the production process, as next year we should be at 5nm already. 

Given that Apple has yet to make an A-series chip with the EUV method, and that even the latest Snapdragon 855+ is still on first-gen 7nm tech, the 5nm node may have to wait for the second half of 2020, and that may be perfectly fine, considering what the best of Exynos, Snapdragon, and especially the A-series, are currently benching. With the 7Gbps 5G modem integration and DDR5 support, however, the Exynos 990 is the best mobile chipset announced so far, at least on paper.

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13 Comments

1. shield

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 12, 2015

This CPU no for S11!

2. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The A14 is what it needs to beat. The A13 is a beast, but the iPhone needs more than 4 gigs of Ram. speed isn’t the issue, the reloads are.

4. JCASS889

Posts: 594; Member since: May 18, 2018

How is a current cpu going to beat a cpu that comes out in a year?

8. Subie

Posts: 2414; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

The Exynos 990 is also not current as it hasn't been released yet. What dj means is that it needs to compete with what the A14 "WILL" be because it will be powering next years Samsung flagships. This holds even more true if Samsung puts a 99x-series Soc in the Note next fall...

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Thank you sir.

3. Tizo101

Posts: 595; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

When writing articles for international readers maybe you should avoid using references like spring... Its not spring everywhere also maybe use both the matric system and whatever they us in America.

5. AbhiD

Posts: 851; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

An article with whole lot of "nothing". Not only it is devious of facts, but makes some nonsensical assumptions as well. When did 9825 perform better than 9820? Never! Refer to Gary Explains speedtests to see how 9825 has identical performance to 9820. Only gains Samsung extracted out of move from 8nm > 7nm were battery life ones, although it still fell short of SD855 battery life. And even the benchmark scores on both 9820 and 9825 were pretty much identical and despite being higher than SD855, when tested by Gary Explains and other youtubers, SD 855 came out on top in both CPU and GPU performance. So there isn't much to hope from 990 unless they have overhauled it from the ground up. Last 3 years have been disaster for Exynos.

6. Be_Mine

Posts: 299; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

I remember when Samsung Exynos Processor used to be more superior than the Snapdragon Processor. And Samsung had to clock it down to be on par with the Snapdragon variants. I wonder where it all all went wrong..! Even if Exynos variant are not faster than that of Snapdragon, if they at least have a better battery efficiency. It will be a bit understandable.

7. PartTimePhoner

Posts: 33; Member since: Jun 03, 2019

And well, neither of 9820 and 9825 acored higher than SD855 except for the single-core test

10. emcdonald75

Posts: 166; Member since: Nov 07, 2012

If Verizon is going to shut off its CDMA network and Sprint is currently being purchased by T-Mobile, is there a reason (besides some agreement) for Samsung to use Qualcomm chipsets and modems any longer? It is about time for Samsung to use its own chipsets and modems in the United States for better fine-tuning and optimization with Android.

11. Blazers

Posts: 760; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

We'll see how that Mali G77 performs. As of right now, the Adreno is superior.

12. geordie8t1

Posts: 307; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

I couldn't care less about these nerdy processor speeds, they mean absolute squat in real life, optimizations are where it's at, my flagship droid will always be superior to an IOS device even if it has a slower chipset, I mean its not like apple or android are running some super heavy programs, apps and games are it, and not very good ones most of the time, bring some console level games with graphics to boot, or proper editing programs and we will talk

13. Deadeye

Posts: 131; Member since: Jul 26, 2019

Just as I expected, Exynos 990 is not a flagship processor. No point in comparing these, wait for Exynos 9830.

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