CPU Performance

LG's G2 features a quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC (MSM8974). For a quick refresher, Snapdragon 800 features four Krait 400 cores running at up to 2.3GHz courtesy of TSMC's 28nm HPM process. The 2.3GHz max clock speed comes at a surprisingly low voltage thanks to the low power HPM process. Gone are the days of 1.4V to hit near-2GHz frequencies it seems, instead 8974 will hit 2.3 GHz at around 1V. Krait 400 improves L2 access latencies over Krait 300 (which is at the heart of Snapdragon 600 and S4 Pro) and is optimized for higher frequency operation, but Krait 400 is otherwise architecturally similar to Krait 300. Make no mistake, MSM8974 is the new high-end, pushing Snapdragon 600 and S4 Pro parts further down into midrange category. There are other SoC level enhancements as well, including things like a new version of the Hexagon DSP and obviously Adreno 330 vs. Adreno 320 (which I'll get to later). We already ran through a performance preview of Snapdragon 800/MSM8974 using Qualcomm's 8974 Tablet Mobile Development Platform, but today we get to do the same with the G2.

Gallery: LG G2

LG was pretty eager to get us a G2 sample as early as possible, unfortunately that comes at the expense of software maturity. LG made it very clear to us that the International G2 sample (LG-D802) we received has nowhere near final software, and as a result may not deliver performance indicative of what we'll see when the device shows up later this month. This puts us in an interesting situation as we want to see how close shipping Snapdragon 800 devices come to the Snapdragon MDP/T we tested back in June. Software maturity aside, there's no skirting the fact that the G2 simply has a smaller chassis and perhaps lower thermal limits than the tablet MSM8974 MDP/T we tested previously.

 

The most interesting comparison points here will be to LG's Optimus G Pro which ships with a Snapdragon 600 (4 x Krait 300 running at 1.7GHz), the Exynos 5 Octa based Galaxy S 4 (SHVE300S) and to the MDP/T. As always, we'll start with a look at CPU performance.

The state of CPU performance testing under Android is unfortunately still quite broken. We're using a mix of browser based tests with Java & Native apps (AndEBench).

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 1.0 - Stock Browser

SunSpider has quickly become an exercise in browser optimization rather than platform performance. Qualcomm's browser optimizations are clearly good for showing off Snapdragon 800's potential, however the G2 doesn't appear to have the same optimizations in place (yet). Performance isn't bad, but it's merely on par with Snapdragon 600 and ARM's Cortex A15.

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark - 1.1

Kraken is an interesting test as it has (thus far) remained less of a browser optimization target. Kraken is also a physically larger and longer benchmark, which provides results that I tend to be a little happier with. The G2 once again falls short of Qualcomm's MDP/T, but given its early software I'm not too surprised. Performance is roughly on par with the Exynos 5 Octa, and slightly behind the very high clocked Snapdragon 600 in the nearly stock Moto X.

Google Octane Benchmark v1

Octane is the first benchmark where we see the Snapdragon 800 flex its potential. Here the G2 not only ties the Snapdragon 800 MDP/T, but it also roughly equals the performance of the Cortex A15 based Exynos 5 Octa. Ultimately that's the comparison that Qualcomm will be most interested in winning. If Snapdragon 800 can deliver better performance (or at least perf per watt) than the Cortex A15, it'll be a definite win for Qualcomm.

Browsermark 2.0

If Octane had the S800 in the proverbial passing lane, Browsermark 2.0 shows the G2 in the clear lead. Here LG was able to even outperform Qualcomm's own reference design by 16%. I suspect this has more to do with browser optimizations than anything else though, as the S600 based Optimus G Pro also does extremely well.

AndEBench - Java

AndEBench - Native

AndEBench provides us with very low level look at SoC performance. I'm not a huge fan of these types of tests, especially ones that aggregate a bunch of microbenchmarks and attempt to present a single performance number. AndEBench is unique (and useful) in that it presents performance in both native code and Dalvik interpreted states. The G2's native performance here is quite good, but it's actually equalled by the Galaxy S 4 GPe and not far ahead of the Optimus G Pro. I suspect we're once again seeing the limits of early software rather than a full understanding of Snapdragon 800's performance in a retail device. Dalvik performance is a bit worse. The relatively high ranking of the Google Play Edition devices points to software optimization being a culprit here.

Vellamo Benchmark - 2.0

Vellamo Benchmark - 2.0

Both Vellamo tests put the G2 on par with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 MDP/T.

 
Battery Life GPU Performance
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  • Impulses - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    I've got an EVO LTE but I'm on a similar boat, furthermore, this is the first tine in three years where I'm just not in a hurry to upgrade. Going to dual cores and 1GB of RAM was huge (EVO to EVO 3D), going from qHD to 720p and a much thinner device last year was also huge (not to mention ICS/JB)... Right now there's no hugely compelling hardware/software reason urging me to upgrade tho. I still might if this comes out as a Nexus 5 for $350 tho... Reply
  • RollingCamel - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    What about the audio codecs LG claimed support for? Did you try FLAC on it? Reply
  • maglito - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    FLAC has native support on every 4.X android device. Reply
  • shackanaw - Monday, September 09, 2013 - link

    He's referring to the 24-bit/192khz support and other improvements mentioned in the G2 hands on: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7205/hands-on-with-t...

    "LG has made audio in the line-out sense a priority for the G2. We’ve seen a lot of emphasis from other OEMs on speaker quality and stereo sound, with the G2 LG has put time into rewriting part of the ALSA stack and Android framework to support higher sampling and bit depth. The inability of the Android platform to support different sampling rates for different applications remains a big limitation for OEMs, one LG wrote around, and with the G2 up to 24 bit 192 kHz FLAC/WAV playback is supported in the stock player, and LG says it will make an API available for other apps to take advantage of this higher definition audio support to foster a better 24-bit ecosystem on Android.

    "I asked about what codec the G2 uses, and it turns out this is the latest Qualcomm WCD part, which I believe is WCD9320 for the MSM8974 platform. LG says that although the previous WCD9310 device had limitations, the WCD9320 platform offers considerably better audio performance and quality that enables them to expose these higher quality modes and get good output. The entire audio chain (software, hardware codec, and headphone amplifier) have been optimized for good quality and support for these higher bit depths, I’m told. I didn’t get a chance to listen to line out audio, but hopefully in testing this emphasis will play itself out."
    Reply
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    24bit playback is a gimmick since even the studio equipment, apparently, doesn't handle the full 24bit. Aside from that, you just don't need that much sample accuracy unless you're superman.
    http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    Reply
  • ssj3gohan - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Why are the iPhone raw triangle/fill rate tests so much better than any other phone, yet does it perform middle of the pack in gfxbench and such? I was under the impression that they basically had the best graphics solution around, paired with awesomely optimized software. Reply
  • et20 - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    Apparently they didn't optimize for gfxbench. Reply
  • UpSpin - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    The meaningless synthetic benchmarks always favored iOS. The reason many people think that iPhones are magnitudes more powerful than Android devices.
    The only meaningful benchmarks are normal 3D scenes.
    I don't understand why Anandtech still posts those meaningless benchmarks. Or can you read something out of them? NO! They are in no way a measurement for performance. They are basically useless. That's the reason we don't see them on desktop GPU comparisons.
    Reply
  • tuxRoller - Saturday, September 07, 2013 - link

    They give you a good idea of the device's capabilities in specific areas. Useful for doing a deep dive to determine what the make-up of the device is.
    For realworld use, you are absolutely right, and, imho, such synthetics only belong in articles where there are new components (like this one), but for the next snapdragon-800, I don't think those particular benchmarks need be run..
    Reply
  • Krysto - Sunday, September 08, 2013 - link

    Sunspider also seems pretty pointless at this point. Kraken and Octane seem to give more accurate results in terms of chip performance. Reply

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