MediaTek Helio X20 vs Snapdragon 810: leaked heat test results show a clear winner

MediaTek Helio X20 vs Snapdragon 810: leaked heat test results show a clear winner
A new leak allegedly originating from inside MediaTek research facilities indicates that the Helio X20 runs at lower temperatures compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. 

Before detailing how the two chips performed in the heat test, please note that this is not an official heat test coming from MediaTek itself, meaning that we cannot guarantee that the numbers are real.

MediaTek's Helio X20, the first mobile SoC to feature a 10-core CPU, is already shaping up to be the company's most ambitious effort in the mid-range and high-end segments of the smartphone market. 

Compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, the MediaTek Helio X20 specifications indicate that the chip isn't really aimed at flagship-level smartphones, but smartphone makers are allegedly already lining up to include the X20 in upcoming handsets

Helio X20 vs Snapdragon 810 heat test: alleged test conditions

The leaked slides claim that MediaTek's test involved a couple of dummy devices, one powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, and the other powered by the MediaTek Helio X20. These dummy devices allegedly ran Android 4.4 KitKat, and lacked cellular connectivity. 

The test is said to have consisted of three separate stages:

  • Stage 1: 10 minutes of casual Wi-Fi browsing
  • Stage 2: 10 minutes of Asphalt 8 (using the top quality graphics available)
  • Stage 3: 10 minutes of Modern Combat 5

Helio X20 vs Snapdragon 810 heat test: alleged results

The Snapdragon 810 and the Helio X20 started at about the same temperature, somewhere between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. At the 10 minute mark, both chips heated up to almost 30 degrees Celsius, although the Snapdragon 810 appeared to be a bit cooler. 

When browsing the web, the Snapdragon 810 is believed to have used its four ARM Cortex-A53 clocked 1.5GHz. According to the leaked slides, the Helio X20 relied on its four ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz, while also switching to its four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2GHz when more processing power was required by heavier sites.

At the end of the second stage, the Snapdragon 810 had allegedly heated all the way to about 38 degrees Celsius, while the Helio X20 was a bit cooler at 33 degrees Celsius. During the third stage, the Snapdragon 810 allegedly reached a maximum temperature of almost 45 degrees, while the Helio X20 only heated up to about 33 degrees.

The Snapdragon 810 appears to have switched to its four ARM Cortex-A57 cores clocked at 2GHz, while the MediaTek Helio X20 continued to use its four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2GHz. 

The third stage (Modern Combat 5) is where the two ARM Cortex-A72 cores integrated into the Helio X20 allegedly come into play. When MediaTek's chip detects a temperature that's above 33 degrees Celsius, it is said to switch to the two cores that use the new architecture. Since the Cortex-A72 cores pack more processing power than both the Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 cores, they should dissipate less heat at the same load. This could be the reason why we see the Snapdragon 810 reaching a maximum temperature of almost 45 degrees, while the Helio X20 only heated up to about 33 degrees.

Conclusions can't really be drawn

One thing that's totally missing from this test is a performance measurement. For instance, it would have been great to have a frame rate chart to go along the dissipated heat chart, since it wouldn't be much of an advantage if the Helio X20 maintained a lower temperature by sacrificing processing power. 

Another thing to note is that, towards the end of the test, the temperature of the Snapdragon 810 is recorded as dropping. This may seem odd, but it could well be explained by the throttling mechanism. All mobile chips reduce their top frequency when reaching dangerous temperatures in order to prevent damage. 

Even if this is a real heat test, there's not enough information included here to draw a conclusion, not even a very early one. However, with the Helio X20 estimated to reach the consumer market in Q1 2016, it will be a long time before conclusive tests can be performed.

Here are the alleged leaked slideshows:



1. torr310

Posts: 1719; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Or a clear loser

23. vincelongman

Posts: 5800; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

This was inevitable We need to see their X20 vs the best chips, e.g. Exynos 7420 or A8, not the 810, which is the worst in terms of heat

25. Simona unregistered

I can't belie e that this epic fail 810 is NOT still abandoned and still is in media .. Exactly It needs to be compared with Samsung's or apples(well Samsung's again)

26. Pulkit1990

Posts: 46; Member since: May 08, 2014

you don't know anything about A8 do you , it is designed by apple but manufactured by Samsung . Not to sound rude but samsung is just a glorified Foxconn for chips for apple .

31. may_czos

Posts: 957; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

A8 is manufactured by TSMC, Samsung is going to make A9.

29. jos_031

Posts: 62; Member since: Jun 12, 2012

Need to run the processor at full power and waste remaining 8 cores and enjoy low battery life. just live at a place above 33 degrees

2. yonith

Posts: 230; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

This bothers me. When will the phone manufacturers or phone devs just disable 2 of the damn A57 cores on the SD810 and release some benchmarks with temps?!?!

9. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

It's still sd810 even when you disable 2 cores, a power hungry soc relatively to performance. SD 808 would still give better performance and more efficiency,

36. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

But the GPU on the 810 is clearly better, hence why some people are calling for a disable of the cores on the 810 or sevvere underclock of the A57 cluter as being preferrable to the 808.

3. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Titled "Test results show a clear winner" Article says "conclusions can't really be drawn" Keep up the A+ work Phonearena.

6. mihai.a

Posts: 47; Member since: Apr 15, 2015

Hi Captain Doug, and thanks for the comment! As far as the leaked heat test is concerned, it clearly indicates that the Helio X20 runs at lower temperatures. Looking beyond the information provided in this leaked heat test, it's hard to draw a definitive conclusion. In other words, the test shows a clear winner, but we don't trust this test as being fully representative of the real-world performance. Hope that this clears out any confusions.

13. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

It's not really a matter of confusion. I'm just not a fan of click bait titles. The article itself was written well and I agree with your conclusion but the title leads you to believe one thing while the articles content backpedals. This is a tactic used by less reputable websites like Buzzfeed. I just hoped that Phonearena was above that. Addressing the caveat of the test (clear results but still just a rumor or take with a grain of salt) in the title prevents misleading your readers. edit: Thanks for trying to clear that up Mihai.a, I appreciate when an author remains involved in the discussion.

18. irfanil

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 14, 2013

I agree with you Captain_Doug. The title is misleading.

4. mostafawael.1998

Posts: 241; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

It is Q1 2016 not Q1 2015 If not Q4 already ...

5. sepultura

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 19, 2014

s810 bulok!

15. Tondern

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

Sandra Bullock is even hotter than the S810.

7. Guaire

Posts: 897; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

These guys claimed based on a leak* SD810 running cooler than SD801. Then based on another leak* they claimed SD815* running cooler than SD810. Now they got another leak* and they claimed Helio X20 running cooler than SD810. When it is sampled? First a leaker from Qualcomm feeded them and now another from Mediatek. What a coincidence.

32. may_czos

Posts: 957; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

SD815 doesn't exist and never will...

8. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

Yes S810 sucks, I hope this is not a marketing to sell substandard MediaTek chips.

10. dimas

Posts: 3434; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

10 cores? Are we going to use our phones to run servers or for video editing in the future?

12. Hitokage

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 01, 2015

Honestly, probably.

19. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

10 cores is not to top the benchmark it's for power efficiency, say mediatek...

11. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Mediatek > Qualcomm. Random fact: My i9000 heated up to 51°c before but it didn't even feel that bad.

27. Pulkit1990

Posts: 46; Member since: May 08, 2014

lol you just made me laugh so hard that my stomach hurts .

14. Mercedes-Benz

Posts: 403; Member since: Jan 18, 2015

I am thinking why mediatek needed 10 cores? Just have four cortex a53 and 2 cortex a72 and call it a day!

17. material

Posts: 80; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

Yeah , A57 didn't kick in !

33. MrET1

Posts: 110; Member since: Jan 29, 2015

A57 kicked in quite well, with the Exynos 5433/7410 and even better with the 7420. Qualcomm just messed it up.

21. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

if mediatek graph where it show 3 cluster is more efficient than just two is true then it justified. just call it a day? why should them?

22. MachDaddy

Posts: 52; Member since: Mar 06, 2013

Because you can't market an efficient hexa-core chip if you've already got octa-cores all over the place. No one gave Snapdragon 808 a chance because it had six cores, even though it seems to work well enough. We're all suckers for specs and 10 cores I'm sure isn't the last of it. One manufacturer will probably be promoting their 12 core chip by next year.

28. Mercedes-Benz

Posts: 403; Member since: Jan 18, 2015

Rather have 4 a72 cores over 2 a72 and 8 rubbish

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