Huawei Kirin 980 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, the two smartphone socs that are used in flagship smartphones in 2019. Both are fabricated on 7nm TSMC process technology, in fact, Kirin 980 is the first 7nm soc introduced in 2018 by Huawei. Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 855, Today we will be comparing the CPU, GPU, NPU performance of the two socs using some benchmarks and fill find out which soc has an edge over the other. Let’s start with the specifications.
Both the processor are using ARM Cortex-A76 and ARM Cortex-A55 cores in their soc with different configurations. Snapdragon 855 is based on a 1+3+4 configuration. The “prime” core in the Snapdragon 855 boasts double the L2 cache and higher clock speed (2.84 GHz) than the three other big cores operating at 2.42 GHz, making it the heavy lifter when peak single-thread performance is required. While the Kirin 980 uses 2+2+4 configuration (big, middle, small), with two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.6 GHz for heavy processing, two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 1.92 GHz for multitasking, and four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz for energy-efficient processing in the background.
Both the chips have scored well in the Geekbench single-core, and multi-core scores, with the Snapdragon 855 having an edge over Kirin 980 due to the better optimization. You will also get a more sustained and consistent performance in the Snapdragon 855 as compared to Kirin 980 after long hours of usage.
Geekbench Test Scores
Snapdragon 855 uses its own designed Adreno 640 GPU, while Kirin 980 is powered with Mali-G76 MP10 (10 cores of ARM Mali-G76 GPU). Both of the processors feel great while playing heavy android games like PUBG, Call of Duty, Fortnite, etc. But after a couple or more hours of continuous gaming, you will notice a few drops of frames in the Kirin 980 while Snapdragon 855 works well during continuous long hours of gaming.
GfxBench Manhattan Scores
Certain benchmarks mentioned show that Snapdragon 855 (Adreno 640) GPU offers somewhat better performance than the Kirin 980 (Mali-G76 MP10), but both of them are actually very good and will give you decent gaming experience.
Both chips have scored well in the 3D-Mark tests which shows that image rendering and video rendering capabilities of these chips are quite impressive.
3-D Mark Test Scores
Both companies have significantly improved the AI capability of their SOCs. Improvement in AI or machine learning simply means an improvement in battery efficiency that means more battery, efficient face and object recognition, on-device voice transcription, superior image processing, and other “AI” applications.
Huawei uses a dual NPU in Kirin 980 which doubles the processor’s AI capability as compared to Kirin 970.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon has long supported machine learning tasks, via a heterogeneous mix of CPU, GPU, and DSP. Its DSP is designed for fast math and has introduced extensions for specific operations.
This generation, Qualcomm seems to have settled on the type of extra hardware it wants to boost machine learning performance. The introduction of a Tensor processor to the Hexagon 690 should really help to accelerate the Snapdragon 855’s performance in a range of applications.
Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 855: Which is faster and better?
And here are our thoughts on the benchmark results of the Kirin 980 vs Snapdragon 855 :
- The CPU performance of the Snapdragon 855 isn’t that much better than the Kirin 980. Both the processors use ARM Cortex-A76 and ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores, although Qualcomm customizes them better and both platforms have different core cluster configurations and clock speeds.
- Qualcomm’s custom Adreno 640 GPU in the Snapdragon 855 beats the ARM Mali-G76MP10 GPU in the Kirin 980 platform.
- Qualcomm claimed their new mobile platform offers a 2-fold improvement in AI versus the “competition,” which we assume is the Kirin 980. Despite not having a dedicated block for AI processing (what Huawei calls an “NPU”), Qualcomm’s improvements in compute across the board are significant.
Antutu Test Score
The Antutu scores show that on an Overall basis Snapdragon 855 is 20% more powerful and better than Kirin 980.