Every year we get to see the fruit of hard labour on the semiconductor side from giants like Apple, Huawei, Qualcomm, and Samsung’s chip divisions. They pool in their vast number of engineering resources to the produce their best mobile SoCs yet and we are quite pleased with the results.
Currently, the most powerful chips belonging to all four manufacturers are the Snapdragon 845, Exynos 9810, A11 Bionic and Kirin 970. As we said earlier, we will be discussing news, leaks, and rumours of their better-performing iterations but for now let us take look at their size, specification and feature differences that make them the best at what they do when they are present inside smartphones.
Exynos 9810 vs Snapdragon 845 vs A11 Bionic vs Kirin 970: Size Comparison, Specs, Features
Due to complications with the 7nm FinFET architecture and cost constraints, Qualcomm and Samsung had to use the 10nm FinFET technology for its Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810, respectively, to achieve the delicate balance between performance and efficiency. Huawei and Apple will eventually move to the 7nm FinFET technology too, but TechInsights on this occasion has compared the sizes of all four chipsets, so here are the detailed results.
The Exynos 9810 measures the largest when compared to the remaining three SoCs; at 118.94mm2, it features the largest surface area. Here is something to note about a ‘system-on-a-chip’ and processors in general. The larger their surface area, the more transistors they will feature (given their fabrication process) and that immediately equals better performance and efficiency, though it will take up more space in the smartphone.
Very surprisingly, the A11 Bionic is the smallest out of all the four chipsets. It measures at 87.66mm2, while the Kirin 970 has a surface area of 96.72mm2, and the Snapdragon 845 having a size of 91mm2. However, it is important to note that apart from Apple’s A11 Bionic, the remaining three pieces of silicon all feature a cellular modem that is embedded within the chipset itself.
Apple does not fuse the modem with the chipset and relied on parts from Qualcomm and Intel when it was launching its iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. If the modem’s size was included with the surface area of the A11 Bionic then the results would have been significantly different.
In terms of performance, no Android-based chip has ever managed to best Apple’s high level of experience when it comes to fabless manufacturing. The A11 Bionic defeats the competition with a fair bit of margin plus a 10,000+ score obtained in Geekbench for the multi-core test results.
The Exynos 9810 is currently the most powerful chipset that has been manufactured for Android devices, though it is only found in the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus (review). Only this chipset comes close to the A11 Bionic, so perhaps with the official release of its successor, Samsung will come one step closer to achieving glory in benchmarking tests like Geekbench.
|Apple A11 Bionic||Huawei Kirin 970||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845||Samsung Exynos 9810|
|Process||10nm FinFET+ (TSMC)||10nm FinFET+ (TSMC)||10nm FinFET LPP (Samsung)||10nm FinFET LPP (Samsung)|
|CPU||Hexa Core (2x Monsoon @ 2.39GHz + 4x Mistral)||Octa-Core (4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.36GHz + 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.84GHz)||Octa-Core (4x Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.8GHz + 4x Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.8GHz)||Octa-Core (4x Exynos M3 @ 2.9GHz + 4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.9GHz)|
|CPU Architecture||ARM v8-A||ARM v8-A||ARM v8-A||ARM v8-A|
|GPU||Apple-Made Tri-Core GPU||Mali-G72 MP12 (850MHz)||Adreno 630||Mali-G72 MP18 (572MHz)|
|Storage||NVMe||UFS||UFS||UFS 2.1, SD 3.0|
|ISP||Custom||Dual-14 bit ISP||Dual-14 Bit Spectra ISP||Dual-ISP|
|DSP||Custom||Tensilica Vision P6||Hexagon 685||VPU|
|Radio||Non-Integrated (Intel XMM7480)||LTE Cat. 18, 5CA, 1.2Gbps DL; Cat. 13, 2CA, 150Mbps DL||X20 (LTE Cat. 18, 5CA, 1.2Gbps DL; Cat. 13, 2CA, 150Mbps DL)||Shannon (LTE Cat. 18, 6CA, 1.2Gbps DL; Cat. 18 2CA 200Mbps UL)|
|AI/ML Cores||Yes (Dual-Core Neural Engine based on Ceva DSP cores)||Yes (Kirin NPU)||Yes (Hexagon 685)||Yes (VPU)|
Exynos 9820 vs Snapdragon 855 vs A12 vs Kirin 980: Rumors, Specs, Features
Now that we are four months past 2018, there are better chips to look forward to. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 has been leaked several times, with rumours saying that it is going to be the first chipset to feature a 5G model and will be manufactured on the 7nm process. Samsung is not stopping in its tracks right now.
The company recently announced the Exynos 9610, which is geared towards bringing a smarter smartphone experience along with the added performance and efficiency in cheaper handsets. However, most of the talk is going to be shifted towards the Exynos 9820, which is said to be in development, possibly for the Galaxy S10, or Galaxy X according to rumors.
Huawei’s HiSilicon is reportedly shifting away from the dependency of Qualcomm by planning to release two-thirds of devices running the company’s own solutions, and this could increase further with the Kirin 980 release. There was a leak revealing the AI capabilities of the Kirin 670, and also showing that Huawei will start giving more attention to its lower bracket of handsets. There is not much known about the Apple A12 or the official name but we promise to tell you guys each and every bit of information when we stumble across it.
2018 is going to be a promising year for chipset manufacturers and we cannot wait to see what is in store in the remaining eight months.