The biggest rivalry of the smartphone processor industry Qualcomm and Apple have released their new smartphone socs to power the flagship smartphones of 2020. Both the smartphone chips are based on the 7-nm process technology. Apple announced the A13 Bionic chip on September 10, 2019, while Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 865 soc on December 4, 2019. The A13 Bionic chip is designed to power the iPhone 11 series and you will also find it in iPhone SE 2 launched in 2020. While Snapdragon 865 is going to power high-end Android smartphones of 2020 including Samsung S20, OnePlus 8, Xiaomi Mi 10, etc.
So What do you think, which one of the chipsets is more powerful? Let’s find it out.
Here we have done some performance and comparison tests which will clarify which is the most powerful chipset of 2020. So let’s get started.
Specifications: A13 Bionic Vs Snapdragon 865
Starting with the CPU the Apple A13 Bionic is a hexacore CPU with the two performance cores to tackle heavy computational tasks, and four efficiency cores take on everyday tasks. The two performance cores are clocked at 2.65 GHz. Whereas the Snapdragon 865 is an octa-core processor with 1+3+4 configuration the one prime core, three big cores, and four energy-efficient cores. The prime core is clocked at 2.84 GHz.
The Geekbench single-core score shows that being clocked at a higher frequency the Snapdragon 865 is still not able to beat the A13 Bionic in the single-core test.
However, in the multi-core test, the performance was comparable when an iPhone 11 Pro was tested against a Qualcomm reference device and the Qualcomm reference device was faster than the A13 Bionic. But when tested against Samsung’s S20 Plus or OnePlus 8, the Apple A13 Bionic was a clear cut winner in terms of CPU performance.
The test for Geekbench 5 and Geekbench 4.4 was run on OnePlus 8 for Snapdragon 865 and iPhone 11 Pro Max for A13 Bionic.
Geekbench Test: A13 Bionic vs Snapdragon 865
Coming to the GPU A13 includes Apple’s custom designed GPU: A new four core and lossless memory compression big gains in graphics performance to games, video, editing, and visually demanding apps. The A13 integrates an Apple-designed four-core graphics processing unit (GPU) with 20% faster graphics performance and 40% lower power consumption than the A12 Bionic.
Whereas Snapdragon 865 is powered with Adreno 650 GPU designed by Qualcomm which has the same architecture as that of Adreno 640 and 630. Adreno 650 has a 25% overall performance boost and 35% more efficient as compared to Adreno 640.
One thing unique with Snapdragon 865 is, Qualcomm is now offering the ability to download new GPU drivers from the google play store. So, from now you don’t have to wait for the carrier or the OEM.
3-D Mark Score: A13 Bionic vs Snapdragon 865
Comparing the two GPUs with each other you can see that Adreno 650 is better than Apple’s custom GPU in some respects. But both GPU’s are very good. There is hardly any frame drop while running heavy games like Pubg, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Asphalt, etc. The graphic rendering of both the GPUs is very good. The GPUs are made to give you beautiful visual experience will using these chips.
Apple uses an eight-core neural engine in A13 Bionic chip which is 20% more powerful and 15% power efficient than A12 Bionic.
Whereas Snapdragon 865 is powered with a Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine which has got 2X AI performance, and 4X tensor performance in the tensor processor in the DSP compared to Snapdragon 855. They have also included a sensor hub which is an always On-sensor hub that runs on very very low power.
Qualcomm has boosted the machine learning capabilities of the Snapdragon 865, you have got 15 tops (Tera operations per second) inside of the AI engine. Whereas the A13 Bionic is capable of only one trillion AI operations per second. This all shows that Qualcomm’s AI engine is far ahead of Apple’s Neural engine in AI and ML operations.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 comes with a Qualcomm designed X55 modem and its supports 5G modules. Whereas the A13 Bionic comes with an Intel’s XMM 7660 Modem which is limited to LTE. The biggest disadvantage with A13 Bionic is it does not support 5G. The X55 modem by Qualcomm is probably the best modem in the smartphone market right now. So Snapdragon 865 is clearcut winner in this respect.
Qualcomm’s new Spectra 480 ISP can process 2 Gigapixels of data per second, and process all the data with 16% more efficiency. The new Image signal processor has got 4K video capture @ 60fps, and at the same time you can take up to 64- megapixel photos while recording the video. It has also got 8K video recording @30fps, and an 8K decoder at 60fps to decode 8K content. It supports up to 200 megapixels of camera sensors. It can record a 4K video and apply portrait mode. It has got an unlimited (not limited to 5-10 seconds) 960fps slow-motion video recording at 720p.
Whereas Apple uses its custom-designed ISP and they do not share many details of its architecture but what you get within your new iPhone 11 is excellent Night Mode photos, detailed and sharp pictures, it does not support 8k videos, but you can surely shoot super steady 4K videos at 60FPS with HDR.
What you get with a Snapdragon 865 depends on how the company configures the hardware and software of the camera part of the smartphone. Smartphones like Google Pixel, Samsung S20, OnePlus 8 will surely give you tremendous photography experience. Whereas Apple iPhone is no way behind it gives you super-steady, natural and detailed photographs and super-steady 4K videos.
So Who is the Winner???
Cleary A13 Bionic is better in the CPU and GPU section of the chip but Snapdragon 865 is leading in NPU and Modem zone. Both the chips are really very good but as the Antutu V8 test suggests in an overall respect A13 Bionic is a bit better than the Snapdragon 865. But Qualcomm has significantly reduced the bridging gap that was there in the previous generation A12 Bionic and Snapdragon 855 chip this year with the Snapdragon 865 competing neck-to-neck with the Apple A13 Bionic.
Antutu Test: A13 Bionic vs Snapdragon 865
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