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Qualcomm Boasts Snapdragon Power Efficiency in New Video

By , Chris Angelini - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 10 comments

Less power to the people!

Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Power

The performance and functionality of smartphones continues to advance at a steady pace. But battery technology lags behind in comparison. We've spent some time talking to the folks at Leyden Energy about its Li-imide platform, and have some idea about what the future holds. However, there's no question that adding features to our handheld devices has to happen with a mind to their practical battery life.

A glance at capacity is one way to approximate a phone's ability to deliver one full day's endurance. Our in-depth explorations into platform power use prove that consumption is an equally influential variable, though. Even as Intel's engineering team talks up the efficiency of current-gen Atom SoCs, Qualcomm has far more experience in this space and also seems eager to address the power use of its Snapdragon SoCs in a public forum. 

In a blog post published this morning, Qualcomm included a video comparing the dual-core Snapdragon 400 (MSM8x30) at 1.2 GHz to an unnamed quad-core competitor at the same clock rate.

The video shows two phones hooked up to power supplies delivering a constant 3.7 V, bypassing the batteries. Via time lapse, you're shown the amperage each phone draws at idle, during a phone call, and without the display turned on. Naturally, the dual-core Snapdragon-based platform (we have to think of this as total platform power) pulls less current. As the competing phone's screen is turned off (with the call still in progress), we see it roughly matching the Qualcomm-powered device with its display still on. Screen-off, Qualcomm claims a similar efficiency advantage, percentage-wise.

Of course, we're missing some vital information from this experiment. Mainly, what's that phone sitting next to what appears to be HTC's One VX (incidentally, if that's the One VX, we're technically looking at an MSM8930)? Possible options include the 32 nm Samsung Exynos 4 Quad or 40 nm Nvidia Tegra 3, though both suffer inherent disadvantages in that they're manufactured using older process technology and don't include integrated cellular modems like the Qualcomm solution does. Looking at the same 28 nm class, however, it could also be a Cortex-A7-based MediaTek MT6589 device.

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  • 0 Hide
    edlivian , May 23, 2013 8:24 AM
    This doesn't seem to be a fair to comparison power of qualcomm dual core to a quad core.
    Let alone the fact there are 100's of other variables, like screen size, screen type, ram size, ram type, Wifi bands, bluetooth on/off, lte on or off.
    If qualcomm really wanted to do a fair apples to apples comparison they would compare snapdragon galaxy s4 to exynos galaxy s4.
  • 0 Hide
    edlivian , May 23, 2013 8:47 AM
    This doesn't seem to be a fair to comparison power of qualcomm dual core to a quad core.
    Let alone the fact there are 100's of other variables, like screen size, screen type, ram size, ram type, Wifi bands, bluetooth on/off, lte on or off.
    If qualcomm really wanted to do a fair apples to apples comparison they would compare snapdragon galaxy s4 to exynos galaxy s4.
  • 0 Hide
    Shankovich , May 23, 2013 8:52 AM
    Neat stuff. I really think that the war for battery life supremacy will be mostly a software battle until we get better battery power density. Competition is good! Keep it up guys :) 
  • Display all 10 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    jaber2 , May 23, 2013 9:01 AM
    While I will never be involved in choosing the processor for the next smart phone, if I was I would look at other benchmarks besides power consumption.
  • 1 Hide
    billyboy999 , May 23, 2013 9:26 AM
    I don't understand why it's relevant to compare a dual core to a quad core.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , May 23, 2013 10:57 AM
    I have an Optimus G with the S4 Pro quad, and I think it's already more powerful than what the mobile platforms need at the moment (i.e., where the software and apps are at in terms of capability). I'd gladly let the performance stagnate slightly if it means better power efficiency; I'd love a phone that can handle moderate-to-heavy usage and still retain a good 2 days worth of use on a charge. Then again, the major power draw on most phones is the screen, not the processor. But any gains in efficiency are good news.
    I'm really excited to see performance:p ower consumption of the "new" Snapdragon x00 line relative to the Tegra4 and 4i. Early benchmarks indicate that the 4/4i is a high-performer, but I'm still curious to see how it fares in actual products under actual usage conditions.
  • 3 Hide
    cknobman , May 23, 2013 11:21 AM
    Confused.
    How is that impressive if the competitor has a QUAD core vs their DUAL core.
    Is it not expected for a quad core to consume more than dual core???
  • 1 Hide
    danwat1234 , May 23, 2013 1:15 PM
    @cknobman &billyboy999, the extra cores in the quad core should shut down if the phone is otherwise idle but you are just using it for a phone conversation. So if the quad core stills takes a lot more power than the Snapdragon..

    It is interesting to compare the screen off talk power consumption of the mystery quad core (~.18A or .66 watts) and Snapdragon (~.11A or 0.4 watts) and then looking at phone reviews of talk time and battery capacity. Looks maybe like the Samsung GS4 is close to the .11A rating and the Samsung GS3 is close to the .18A rating.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/466794/20130511/samsung-galaxys4-snapdragon600-quadcore-battery-test-performance.htm
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , May 23, 2013 3:53 PM
    Its a quad vs. dual...LOL. Umm, you should be at half power.
    Looks like qualcomm sucks. If they doubled the cores and made quad vs. quad it would be .38 far worse than .33 right? Lies, lies and damned lies no?
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , May 23, 2013 3:56 PM
    One more note, not all chips use the same voltage. I'm not sure I've seen a worse comparison.
    We're faster, better, stronger compared to blah blah. Just believe it. :)  How dare you question my comparison :)