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1.5GHz Dual-core Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 Runs the Full Benchmark Gamut, Impressive Even Without Their Next-gen GPU

The crew over at Anandtech got a hold of a developer unit from Qualcomm that runs their Snapdragon S4 processor, aka the Krait, and put it through a series of benchmarks. This is the MSM8960 chipset that is dual-core and clocked at 1.5GHz. So no, this isn’t the quad-core Krait that we will potentially see later this year, but none the less, you will likely be impressed since they have been designed for 28nm process. That essentially means that they will perform at incredibly high levels while consuming very little power when compared to other chipsets (current Tegra 3 is still 40nm). This is the future of processors even if this particular chipset is only dual-core. Don’t let the lack of “quad” attached fool you. 

One of the first benchmarks they ran was the a Linpack multi-threaded benchmark which may put your jaw to the floor. Yeah, it’s that impressive. The next closest device is the Qualcomm developer unit from last year that ran a Snapdragon S3. The Galaxy SII and DROID 4 (which is surprising) are the closest retail devices. And again remember, this is only a dual-core processor, yet it doubles the performance of every other dual-core device on the list.

The only area that the Snapdragon S4 did not blow minds was in GPU tests. Since it includes an Adreno 225 GPU rather than Qualcomm’s next-gen Adreno 300+, it’s not all that surprising that it didn’t blow away the iPhone 4S. The difference between the 225 and the 220 that you have seen in a number of Snapdragon S3 devices, is really just a speed bump. It still performs better than any other phone currently available, but it’s the next Krait releases that we will really see the GPU performance jump off the charts.

We are supposed to see phones with the Snapdragon S4s ship within the quarter. Rumors have it that the HTC Ville could be the first, a device that we are fully expecting to see at MWC in a week. Don’t think that because HTC has tossed a Tegra 3 into the Endeavor that they will abandon their lenghty partnership with Qualcomm. And don’t even think about snoozing on the Ville because it says “dual-core” if indeed it does have the S4 inside.

Via:  Anandtech

  • Serena D

    Would like to see a list of coming phones to the US that carry this chip- either rumored or confirmed list would do .

  • Greg

    The best feature of this chip are all the radios (including LTE) built into the SOC, a first from any chip maker. This should finally solve all the power sucking issues from the previous gen LTE. As far as I have heard Qualcomm is the only one company that will have LTE radios integrated into the SOC in consumers hand this year. Everyone else is looking at a late q4 or Q1 2013 release.

    • John

      Is the power consumption due to having a second chip, or just because operating an LTE antenna requires significant power? I always just assumed it was a combination of both. 

      • basically, there is an efficiency loss when ever you have celular radios not on the main chip, in this case with lte not yet integrated in the SOC 

  • N8shon

    I don’t know a lot about the CPU world, but it seems to be that the number of cores has nothing to do with actual performance numbers. I wish public perception would change in that regard. Mine sure has. 

    • Staticx57

      There are a number of cases where the number of cores increase performance. However it is still a fairly new concept in the smartphone world. And it is also hard to compare processors of difference generations and say that the number of cores is irrelevant when there is more to the story than just the number of cores.

      • Pegi18

        Agreed, i believe a single core will not be able to run more apps as opposed to multi-cores even if it performs better in single-thread only.

    • Striderevil

      Core on a GPU yes but a CPU definately makes a difference, also the architecture, A9 vs A15.

  • Larizard

    Not so informed about hardware and chips, but why is it that Apple focuses so much on the iPhone’s GPU while Android OEMs are okay putting old GPUs on their hansets (while putting so much emphasis on CPUs)? And then we wonder why iOS runs very smoothly and are okay with Android being laggy…

    Am I the only one seeing this? Why don’t we match the iPhone’s GPU prowess and make good use of 4.0’s hardware acceleration?

    • Mojus

      Simply because Apple owns the iOS. Android is by Google, the manufacturer can only make the phone and provide a modified interface. Understand that?

    • Striderevil

       You have to understand that Apple to maximize sales and minimize overhead basically manufactures the new ipad from an ipad2 with an additional GPU. The GPU on other devices such as tegra 3 runs 12 cores and for long it has been known that GPU’s have many cores so much so that it becomes pointless to point out how many cores are present. Apple using out dated tech and smart marketing techniques introduced the ipad with “quad core like graphics”. That is why nVidia challenged their claim that their chip out does the tegra 3. The tegra 3 is a Cortex-A9 Quad core CPU at 1.3Ghz each with a 12 core GPU and an extra smaller CPU to run smaller tasks when in low power mode and to lessen the stress of small calcs on the main cores. The ipad runs a Cortex-A9 dual core 1 Ghz with a GPU containing 4 cores to compensate for the increased video bandwidth needed to run their higher end display. They basically banked on the media hype surrounding the device and the naivety of their customers to blindly adopt any junk they role out so long as the carrot (“Quad core like graphics”) dangling in front of them looks good. They know that the average tech savy person or tech genius would not buy their crap but rather stick with what they have or go android. This however is not their main base of customers. Also understand that their ios is natively run on their device, they don’t allow flash and all their apps are built to run natively on their device which gives the seeming blazing fast feel when in reality its not really. many are not happy with the Android which open sources its content so much so that a load of bloat ware forces the person to root only to be exposed to unsafe apps and irregular updates. The biggest mistake Google made was to let their software customizable to the point where the manufacturer and then the service provider muddle it up. A lot of people are waiting for a Win mobile phone that supports the latest and not outdated hardware. At least then perhaps maybe natively non iOS devices can truly be embraced without all the accompanying bloatware.

  • df2rools

    snapdragon SoC’s looking interesting all of a sudden…

  • zepfloyd

    More importantly is Qualcomm’s announcement that the next generation (5th actually) modem radios are ready. Better LTE battery life for all.

  • Butters619

    It’s funny the the D4 outperformed the RAZR in both those tests

    • kixofmyg0t

      and everyones beloved “G-Nex” 

      Ur “ZOMG TEH NFC JEEZUZ PHONE!” gets outpaced by a slider….

      They just got SAMSUNG-ED!

      • snowblind64

        You have to take screen resolution into account. The Rezound is the phone that really loses. Same 720p screen resolution as the Nexus but way lower score.

  • Stephen D

    Don’t let the number of cores fool you. A dual core A15 is going to run circles around a quad core A9(like the Tegra 3.) It’s like Sandy Bridge vs. Bulldozer, i5 2500k vs the FX-8150. The FX-8150 has 8 cores, the 2500k has 4, and the 2500k performs leaps and bounds better. 

    • Don’t forget to throw multi-threading on the list, a multi-threaded dual core can match a quad core of the same architecture. 

      • Staticx57

         Maybe in practical performance but theoretical and specialized performance it cannot. You are thinking of hyperthreading as multithreading just refers to more than one thread which can be 2+ cores. But a quad core of the same architecture simply has twice as much compute resources.

  • Droidzilla

    I’ll be waiting to see how this stacks against the upcoming Exynos 4412 and the OMAP 5. It will probably be the same story told with A8 and A9 chips. nVidia comes to market first, but ends up being the lowest of the bunch. Qualcomm is second, but ends up only beating out nVidia. TI and Sammy via for first place, with Apple (via Samsung) having a competitive GPU.

    We’ll see, of course, but I put this up there with the Transformer Prime benchmarks. Comparing a quad core to a dual core is like bringing a supermodel to the Miss Special Needs pageant. You need to compare supermodels to other supermodels, and mo-mos to other mo-mos.

    • Staticx57

       To be honest, the OMAP4 is the weakest of the bunch (besides nvidia who is far behind) all things considered. Snapdragon S3 has to be clocked higher to match the Cortex A9, but it has a much faster GPU than OMAP.

      • Diablo81588

        How do you figure? Look at the GPU test. The Rezound is the slowest of all. The S3 not only has to be clocked higher to match A9 CPU performance, but apparently it suffers in the GPU department as well.

        • staticx57

          And look at the MDP MSM8660. That has the exact same CPU and GPU as the Rezound and tell me that is not just an HTC software issue. In fact read the source link, that is the only benchmark suite where the Rezound benches poorly. 

          • Diablo81588

            I wouldn’t really call that fair comparing a developer phone to a retail product. They probably have next to nothing running and can tweak the hell out of that thing to show off its performance. I think if they’re gonna compare phones they should all be retail products. Bloatware and all.

          • staticx57

            Who cares if it’s fair. There are kernels out there for the Rezound that both overclock the CPU and the GPU that would show any OMAP4 CPU the door.

          • TC Infantino

            I am very interested in where to find those kernels.  I have a Rezound and love tweeking this mother to the hilt.  Please post links if you have them.  Thanks in advance.

    • JaeLim

      No if you compare Exynos 4412 (which is still A9) against OMAP 5 and Krait series, Samsung lose. I think you meant the Exynos 5250, which is sammy version of A15 processor (along with the new gen ARM GPU).

      Also OMAP4 series was very disappointing in GPU performance. I hope TI address that issue in OMAP 5.

      • Droidzilla

        You are correct; I thought the 4412 was the A15 one.

      • jony

        But the thing is that the galaxy s III will probably have this exynos 4412 so it will be interesting to see how samsung will pull it off to outrun the dual core krait.

        • JaeLim

          Well that could’ve been true but since GS3 was delayed, who knows. I’m crossing my fingers for GS3 to have 5250.

  • Mike

    Lets see how it compares to the Apple A5x and Samsung’s possible quad core before we get too excited

    • cooksta32676

      My friend has had his a5 clocked at 1.8ghz for about 30 seconds messing around. It loads with that GPU, faster than you can blink. And sucks about 15% of the battery in 30 seconds flat. He only runs it at 900mhz typically.

    • Striderevil

       With the cortex A9 A5X? at 1 GHz, there is no comparison. It will be blown away period. Your comparing a next Gen A15 cortex dual core running at min 1.3+ Ghz.

  • Storm Jones

    This still isn’t going to make me like Snapdragon Processors, OMAP FTW!

    • KevinC

      hooray for opinions not based on technological fact!

    • Striderevil

       Exynos 5 even though it 32 nm HKMG runs at 2.0 Ghz and will bury the S4 since it comes with the Mali T604 GPU while the S4 is accompanied by an adreno 225 overclocked. We’ll probably have to wait and see in q4 or next year what the adreno 300 is capable of.