Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7082/snapdragon-800-msm8974-performance-preview-qualcomm-mobile-development-tablet



We’ve written about Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) before, for those unfamiliar, this is Qualcomm’s new flagship SoC with four Krait 400 CPUs at up to 2.3 GHz, Adreno 330 graphics, and the latest modem IP block with Category 4 LTE. Qualcomm is finally ready to show off MSM8974 performance on final silicon and board support software, and invited us and a few other publications out to San Francisco for a day of benchmarking and poking around. We looked at MSM8974 on both the familiar MSM8974 MDP/T, a development tablet used both by Qualcomm and 3rd parties to develop drivers and platform support, and the MSM8974 MDP phone, both of which have been publicly announced for some time now.

The tablet MDP is what you’d expect, an engineering platform designed for Qualcomm and other third parties to use while developing software support for features. Subjectively it’s thinner and more svelte than the APQ8064 MDP/T we saw last year, but as always OEMs will have the final control over industrial design and what features they choose to expose. Display is 1080p on the tablet and 720p on the phone, a bit low considering the resolutions handset and tablet markers are going for (at least 1080p on phone and WQXGA on tablets) so keep that in mind when looking at on-screen results from benchmarks.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Mobile Development Platform Tablet
  MSM8974 MDP/T
SoC MSM8974 Snapdragon 800
CPU 4x Krait 400 at 2.3 GHz
GPU Adreno 330 at 450 MHz
RAM 2GB 2x32 LPDDR3 800 MHz
NAND 32 GB eMMC 4.5
Cameras 12 MP with flash (rear), 2 MP (front)
Display 11.6-inch 1080p
I/O USB 3.0, microHDMI, microSD, 3.5mm headset
OS Android 4.2

Snapdragon 800, nee MSM8974 is built on TSMC’s 28nm HPM (High Performance for Mobile) HK-MG, as opposed to 28nm LP polysilicon (low power). The result are higher clocks for CPU, from 1.5–1.7 GHz on Krait 200–300 which was 28nm LP, to 2.2–2.3 GHz on Krait 400 on 28nm HPM. The jump between Krait 200 and Krait 300 brought higher clocks and also a jump in IPC, this time around Krait 400 is essentially a Krait 300 implemented on 28nm HPM, which means some relayout. There’s also a faster L2 cache on Krait 400.

These are final clocks on MSM8974 – Krait 400 runs its four cores at up to 2.3 GHz, though some lots will come at 2.2 GHz. GPU on MSM8974 is Adreno 330 which runs at 450 MHz and brings some architectural improvements over Adreno 320.

On the video side, MSM8974 is capable of encoding UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) 30 FPS video at up to 120 Mbps H.264 High Profile, and is capable of playing back the same file. Qualcomm had a demo going showing this mirrored on the latest Sony 4K UHD TV as well over microHDMI. I recorded a video sample and took a copy for your perusal and onto YouTube. True to their word the video I grabbed is 120 Mbps and 3840 x 2160, framerate was just over 25 FPS but I'm not sure if the demo was setup for 30 FPS capture. MSM8974 has the hardware encoder for H.264 but not HEVC H.265, that's implemented in software. 

Snapdragon 800 should begin popping up in phones and tablets fall 2013. Anyhow let's take a look at MSM8974 performance. 



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). 

The key comparisons to look for are the Snapdragon 800 MDP/T vs. the Exynos 5 Octa (4 x ARM Cortex A15s) based Galaxy S 4 (SHVE300S), the Exynos 5 Dual (2 x ARM Cortex A15s) based Nexus 10 tablet and any of the Snapdragon 600 based smartphones (HTC One/T-Mobile Galaxy S 4) running two Krait 300s at 1.7/1.9GHz. 

Browsermark 2.0

Google Octane Benchmark v1

Mozilla Kraken Benchmark - 1.1

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 1.0 - Stock Browser

Krait 400 seems to do very well against ARM's Cortex A15, trading positions in terms of performance depending on the test. As these are browser based benchmarks there's a big software component to variability that prevents big conclusions from being made here, but it's clear that Snapdragon 800 is in a similar performance class to current Cortex A15 based designs.

Vellamo Benchmark - 2.0

Vellamo Benchmark - 2.0

AndEBench

AndEBench - Java

AndEBench - Native

The Java and Native client AndEBench tests echo what we've seen elsewhere: Snapdragon 800 can definitely be quicker than ARM's Cortex A15, and at least is in a similar class.



3DMark

3DMark for Android features the Ice Storm benchmark and uses OpenGL ES 2.0. Ice Storm is divided into two graphics tests and a physics test. The first graphics test is geometry heavy while the second test is more pixel shader intensive. The physics test, as you might guess, is CPU bound and multithreaded. The overall score takes into account both graphics and physics tests. The benchmark is rendered to an offscreen buffer at 720p/1080p and then scaled up to the native resolution of the device being tested. This is a very similar approach we've seen by game developers to avoid rendering at native resolution on some of the ultra high resolution tablets. The beauty of 3DMark's approach here is the fact that all results are comparable, regardless of a device's native resolution. The downside is we don't get a good idea of how some of the ultra high resolution tablets would behave with these workloads running at their native (> 1080p) resolutions.

For these benchmarks we stuck with the default presets (720p, normal quality).

Here the key comparisons are against the Adreno 320 based HTC One/SGS4 (T-Mobile) and the PowerVR SGX 544MP3 based SGS4 (SHEVE300S). The Nexus 10 is interesting but pretty much a blowout. Snapdragon 800 is clearly the new high-end Android tablet SoC of choice.

3DMark - Graphics

The overall graphics score from Adreno is amazing. We're looking at almost 2x the next fastest contender here, the Adreno 320 based Snapdragon 600.

Graphics Test 1

Ice Storm Graphics test 1 stresses the hardware’s ability to process lots of vertices while keeping the pixel load relatively light. Hardware on this level may have dedicated capacity for separate vertex and pixel processing. Stressing both capacities individually reveals the hardware’s limitations in both aspects.

In an average frame, 530,000 vertices are processed leading to 180,000 triangles rasterized either to the shadow map or to the screen. At the same time, 4.7 million pixels are processed per frame.

Pixel load is kept low by excluding expensive post processing steps, and by not rendering particle effects.

3DMark - Graphics Test 1

Graphics Test 2

Graphics test 2 stresses the hardware’s ability to process lots of pixels. It tests the ability to read textures, do per pixel computations and write to render targets.

On average, 12.6 million pixels are processed per frame. The additional pixel processing compared to Graphics test 1 comes from including particles and post processing effects such as bloom, streaks and motion blur.

In each frame, an average 75,000 vertices are processed. This number is considerably lower than in Graphics test 1 because shadows are not drawn and the processed geometry has a lower number of polygons.

3DMark - Graphics Test 2

3DMark - Ice Storm

The overall Ice Storm score shows a 71% improvement over Snapdragon 600, which is the closest competitor.

3DMark - Physics

The physics test takes multicore CPU performance into account, but even then the Snapdragon 800 remains ahead of the pack. The performance advantage over the lower clocked Snapdragon 600 shrinks to just 20%, which is a bit lower than clock speeds alone would normally tell us.

3DMark - Physics Test

 



GFXBench 2.7

GFXBench (formerly GLBenchmark) gives us some low level insight into Adreno 330. As usual, we'll start with the low level tests and move onto the game simulation benchmarks:

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Fill Test

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Fill Test (Offscreen 1080p)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput (Offscreen 1080p)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Fragment Lit

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Fragment Lit (Offscreen 1080p)

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Vertex Lit

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Triangle Throughput, Vertex Lit (Offscreen 1080p)

Low level geometry and fill rate metrics are dominated by Imagination Technologies. If we look at the simulated game benchmarks though, Snapdragon 800/Adreno 330 clearly pull ahead:

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Egypt HD

GLBenchmark 2.7 - Egypt HD (Offscreen 1080p)

The most impressive results come from one of our most stressful tests. On equal footing, Adreno 330 delivers 62.5% better performance than the iPad 4's PowerVR SGX 554MP4. Note that these are largely shader bound tests. Snapdragon 800 should have less memory bandwidth than Apple's A6X, which could make for some interesting comparisons at high resolutions in actual games.

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD

GLBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Offscreen 1080p)



Basemark X

Basemark X is a new addition to our mobile GPU benchmark suite. There are no low level tests here, just some game simulation tests run at both onscreen (device resolution) and offscreen (1080p, no vsync) settings. The scene complexity is far closer to GLBenchmark 2.7 than the new 3DMark Ice Storm benchmark, so frame rates are pretty low:

Basemark X - Off Screen

Once again we see absolutely tremendous increases in performance if we look at Basemark X. Adreno 330 improves performance over Adreno 320 by 95%, the advantage over PowerVR SGX 544MP3 is also quite impressive. Snapdragon 800 also holds a 41% performance advantage over Apple's A6X in the iPad 4 (PowerVR SGX 554M4).

Basemark X - On Screen

Epic Citadel

Epic's Citadel benchmark gives us a good indication of lighter workload, v-sync limited performance at native resolution. At 1080p, the Snapdragon 800 MDP/T offers over 50% better performance than the Snapdragon 600 based platforms. Granted we're comparing to smartphones here so there's some thermal advantage playing to the 800's favor.

Epic Citadel - Ultra High Quality, 100% Resolution



The Great Equalizer

We've been tracking mobile GPU progress compared to entry level (and older desktop) PC GPUs now that we have cross-platform 3D benchmarks that run under both Android and Windows 8/RT. The data below has been updated to include Snapdragon 800/Adreno 330. Adreno 330 definitely moves up the list, getting dangerously close to Kabini at times. It's still not at Ivy Bridge levels of GPU performance yet, but keep in mind we're talking about a platform with a much lower TDP.

GL/DXBenchmark 2.7 - T-Rex HD (Offscreen)

3DMark - Graphics

3DMark - Ice Storm

3DMark - Physics



Final Words

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 is quite possibly its most ambitious SoC to date. The goal? To drive absolute performance while maintaining power efficiency. While Snapdragon 600 was clearly about delivering evolutionary gains in performance, Snapdragon 800 intends to compete with ARM's Cortex A15 and Intel's Bay Trail platform. 

On the CPU performance front, Snapdragon 800's 2.3GHz Krait 400 cores do appear to hold their own quite well against ARM's Cortex A15. In some cases ARM holds the advantage, while in others the higher clocked Krait 400 takes the lead. We still have the question of power to answer, but Qualcomm bets it can deliver A15-like performance without A15-like power thanks to the 28nm HPM process at its foundry partners.

Qualcomm didn't have any power demos setup, so power analysis and battery life performance will have to come at a later date, but the claim is better performance at equivalent platform power as Snapdragon 600.

On the GPU side, we have a new king. Adreno 330 delivers huge performance improvements over Adreno 320 and everything else we've tested thus far. Snapdragon 800 is the new benchmark to beat. It's very clear to me why many tablet designs scheduled for later this year are based on Snapdragon 800 silicon.

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