A tale about how Qualcomm sent all competitors to the garden in 2018. Middle segment, with graphs and slides.
Before our research, let's try to formulate the very definition of 'mid-budget chipset', because everything is confused in the house of Qualcomms, Exynos and HiSilicons. The rather sprawling 'mid-budget' view includes chipsets that offer more than 4 cores, with gaming and no companion GPUs, and some cool and not-so-great modems. And at the same time, the manufacturer does not call these chipsets flagship.
To make cool processors in 2018, it is no longer enough to simply install new Cortex cores and accompany this with a transition to a finer technical process. Over the years, a 3G / 4G modem and Wi-Fi, auxiliary signal processors and sensor hubs, additional battery controllers (for accelerated charging) and system interfaces for connecting multiple cameras, GPS and GLONASS ( now this complex device is codenamed GNSS). All this was done to optimize power consumption and speed up the main functions of the smartphone. The number of transistors in the mobile chipset has grown and continues to grow like an avalanche, and the very possibility of placing 'many cores' in one place and the entire strapping is already a non-trivial task. It is logical that the winners are those companies that maintain a staff of hardware developers, and not just buy licenses from ARM. Recently, chipset manufacturers have been faced with a choice – to make just good, inexpensive processors or to try to compete in a mysterious new world of AI, which requires even more specialized devices and even more transistors. Did everyone succeed?
MediaTek Helio P22 and P60
According to the company itself, the letter 'P' in the chipset index is no less than 'Premium', and in some places even 'Premium Performance', 'premium performance'. From the very beginning of the formation of the Helio 'P' line, the company MediaTek has focused on competition with the 6xx series of Qualcomm, which has been discussed more than once. And in the end this fight is almost lost, but more on that in the 'Conclusions'.
At the moment, there is only one device with the Helio P22 chipset in Russian retail – this is Alcatel 5V, which they offer to buy for 11,000 rubles. All the trends in the field – a monoboro, 2 rear cameras and an elongated screen.
The Helio P22 chipset supports bokeh in hardware when installing any camera. A new system of electronic stabilization of the camera Rolling Shutter Compensation (RSC), implemented by two new ISP-processors and directly by the camera control unit (CCU), has been applied. The P22 crystal is equipped with an 8-core Cortex A-53 CPU (2 GHz, 12 nm) and an entry-class IMG PowerVR GE8320 graphics accelerator.
The older new chipset MediaTek Helio P60 is also not very popular. You can only meet him in different OPPOs (for example, in the OPPO F7 model for 23,000 rubles).
Like the Helio P22, the P60 chipset is made using the TFTC 12nm FinFET process technology. Like the younger version, the chipset is packed with hardware enhancements, a standard 8-core CPU (x4 A-53 + x4 A-73, 2 GHz) is complemented by an ARM Mali ™ G-72 MP3 GPU. From the diagram at the end of the article, it will be noticeable how such a solution is completely inferior to the SDM670 and 710, which does not in any way qualify for the definition of 'premium performance'. However, Helio P60 confidently fights against SDM625 / 630/632, and this should be the starting point when choosing a smartphone.
Samsung Exynos 7872 and 9610
In 2018, the company pleased us with two new chipsets for not the most expensive and not the most anemic smartphones. These are Exynos 7872 and 9610. Only a cryptozoologist can be entrusted with the explanation of Exynos chipsets' marking, I did not manage to find the logic when issuing the name. For example, where in the index '7872' you can see that YY belongs to the 5th series? The Exynos 7872 chipset is installed in Meizu M6s (you can read the review on Mobile-Review), prices for which start at 10,400 rubles.
The processor unit of the Exynos 7872 chipset consists of a bunch of two ARM Cortex A-73 and four A-53 cores, operating at frequencies of 2 and 1.5 GHz, respectively, with a 14 nm FinFET process technology. It's hard to come up with a more 'average' solution in 2018. ARM Mali ™ G-71 MP1 is used as a graphics accelerator. How Samsung manages to perform well with only one Mali graphics cluster is another question. Much more interesting is that Samsung does not refer to the mythical 'artificial intelligence' as an indicator of progress when using the camera, but declares the introduction of hardware support for WDR in the new chipset.
From this photo from Samsung's website, we must understand that WDR is a theme and HDR is no longer cake.
WDR in this case means taking a picture with a wide dynamic range in a different way than using HDR. The camera does not need to take two pictures, combining which, you can illuminate dark areas (for example), the picture is taken 'in one click of the camera'. What Samsung means by this is unclear, perhaps it means multisampling, which happens right during the shooting, pixel by pixel. The net performance of the chipset can be estimated below.
The Exynos 9610 chipset is positioned in the company as an advanced photo solution. Indicates the quality of the resulting images, which can be compared with the results of DSLR cameras. This is a rather loud statement that cannot be verified. Due to the lack of existence (?) Of smartphones with this 7-series chipset on board. Samsung confirms their words with a beautiful family photo, under which you can read: 'Image simulated for illustration.' The photo is really cute:
When the chipset was announced (March 2018), many media predicted its flagship future, apparently, they also did not understand from the '9610' numbers that this is the middle segment. As a result, the chipset seemed to hang in a space-time anomaly and did not get anywhere. Nevertheless, we will calculate its theoretical performance in the final comparison, based on open data: CPU x4 A-73 (2.3 GHz) + x4 A-53 (1.6 GHz) and GPU ARM Mali ™ G-72 MP3. with a 10 nm process technology.
Huawei HiSilicon Kirin
As is the case with budget chipsets, the manufacturer did not release a single 'middle peasant' in 2018, the company focuses exclusively on flagships.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, 670 and 710
We have already reviewed the new generation of mid-range Snapdragon processors, and the mysterious SDM710 is difficult to attribute to the middle segment. But it is necessary to tell about it.
The chipset is found in smartphones Xiaomi MI8 SE and Vivo Nex, which cost 24,700 and 45,000 rubles, respectively. The price hints that in front of us are not some cheap smartphones, but quite such 'my fish'. Vivo Nex and MI8 SE managed to get into the benchmark databases, and we will rely on their readings. Before us is an 8-core processor, filled with Kryo ™ 360 cores, and Adreno 616 is responsible for graphics processing. It was not possible to find out on the basis of which Cortex cores Kryo ™ 360 was built in SDM710, but almost for the first time in my life I managed to find “datasheet” information, in comparison with what exactly the chipset has a percentage increase in performance. The SDM710 is 35% better than last year's SDM660 in graphics rendering and 4K HDR playback, Qualcomm's official position.
The chipset includes the Qualcomm Aqstic audio playback and recording enhancement system. This is quite a physical device that is integrated into the chip of the chipset and pleases the user with good sound using a set of filters and amplifiers. For example, in SDM845 it is 'WCD934x', and it was not possible to find out which generation is installed in SDM710. It seems that the manufacturer thinks that we are not interested.
Competition between chipsets of the middle price segment in tests
Let the chipsets clash in a deadly battle!
The theoretical speeds of the modems of all participants.
Comparison of the performance of 1 CPU core of all participants.
Comparison of the performance of all CPU cores.
Comparison of GPU performance of all participants.
A few words in defense of the choice of tests
We are so arranged, friends, that we are ready to defend our choice of a smartphone to the last. Even when the entire monitor is already in tears and snot, and our hands ache from movements clenching our fingers into fists, we do not give up. In the comments under previous articles, there were innuendos when old processors were called fast and modern, and the test results were inadequate. But let me ask you a question, do you really need to know how many megabytes (942.9 MB / s) per second the SDM710 encrypts using the AES standard? Or at what speed (2.59 MB / s) does it compress using the LZMA (Lempel-Markov-Algorithm) algorithm, which is still used by the 7z archiver? Or maybe I wonder how many pictures per second the main camera takes (6.14 in the SDM710) using only one processor core? There are at least 54 such indicators in the Geekbench test. And they all meet the main request – to study the performance of the chipset in typical tasks. When the browser starts, the process of analyzing the HTML5 code begins – the faster it ends, the faster the WEB page will open, provided that it is already in RAM. Do we need to know this rate of analysis? Or will we put different chipsets under the same conditions and compare their total performance in the same typical tasks?
Stephen Mollenkopf (Qualcomm) and DJ Koch (Samsung). This is more correct
As all tests and objective reality show, Qualcomm chipsets in the middle price segment have trampled the whole clearing, and it is impossible to consider chipsets of other companies as their competitors. If only because one device with a Samsung Exynos chipset accounts for at least ten smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon inside. A huge number of smartphones with old Qualcomm chipsets, which are not inferior to the new ones MediaTek and Exynos, are not leaving the scene either. When it comes to gaming performance, the SDM710 is second to none.