Results: GPU Core Benchmarks
For our GPU-based benchmarks, we are only looking at off-screen rendering performance to remove the influence of screen resolution on the results. This allows us to directly compare SoC performance, rather than overall product performance.
Futuremark has become a name synonymous with benchmarking, and the company's latest iteration of 3DMark offers three main graphical benchmarks: Ice Storm, Cloud Gate, and Fire Strike. Currently, the DirectX 9-level Ice Storm tests are cross-platform for Windows, Windows RT, Android, and iOS.
Ice Storm simulates the demands of OpenGL ES 2.0 games using shaders, particles, and physics via the company's in-house engine. Although it was just released in May of last year, the on-screen portions of Ice Storm have already been outpaced by modern mobile chipsets. Nvidia's Tegra 4 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 both easily max-out the Extreme version (1080p with high-quality textures). Ice Storm Unlimited, however, renders the scene off-screen at 720p and is still a good gauge of GPU-to-GPU performance.
The Adreno 420 in Snapdragon 805 demonstrates a mere 6% advantage over the 801's Adreno 330 and a more impressive 29% advantage over the 800's lower-clocked Adreno 330.
Compared to Apple’s dual-core A7 SoC, Qualcomm's quad-core Krait 450 extends the company's already-impressive lead in the threaded Physics test. Isolating rendering performance in the two graphics sub-tests, however, reveals a much smaller margin of victory. It's only 3% in the Graphics Score test and 7% in Graphics Test 2.
Basemark X 1.1
Based on the Unity 4.0 game engine, Rightware’s Basemark X is a cross-platform graphics benchmark for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 8. This test utilizes Unity’s modern features via the OpenGL ES 2.0 render path. Features like high poly count models, shaders with normal maps, complex LoD algorithms, and extensive per-pixel lighting (including directional and point light), along with a comprehensive set of post process, particle systems, and physics effects, test how a modern game might look and run. Basemark X is aggressive in that it still hasn't been maxed-out by the latest mobile SoCs.
The Adreno 420 engine shows off a more significant victory over its predecessor in this benchmark. Snapdragon 805 manages a 31% improvement over the 801 and a staggering 64% over the 800. These are the kind of gains we like to see from a new architecture. With future driver optimization, we could potentially see the 805 pull even further ahead.
In the High Quality test, the 805 outpaces both the 800/801 by about 60%. It also establishes a 37% advantage over the A7.
Kishonti GFXBench 3.0 is a cross-platform GPU benchmark supporting both the OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenGL ES 3.0 APIs. It comprises both “high-level” game-like scenarios, along with more “low-level” tests designed to measure specific subsystems.
Among the high-level tests are Manhattan and T-Rex. Manhattan is a modern, complex OpenGL ES 3.0-based scenario, while the OpenGL ES 2.0-level T-Rex is a holdover from GFXBench v2.7.
The low-level workloads include Fill, which measures fill rate by rendering four layers of compressed textures; Alpha Blending, a test that renders layers of semi-transparent quads using high-resolution, uncompressed textures; ALU, for measuring shader compute performance; and Driver Overhead, which measures the CPU overhead of the graphics driver and API by making a lot of draw calls and state changes.
See GFXBench 3.0: A Fresh Look At Mobile Benchmarking for a complete test-by-test breakdown of this benchmark.
It’s exciting to see Snapdragon 805 blow past both the 801 and the A7. Qualcomm's Adreno 420 also earns the honor of being the first mobile GPU able to run T-Rex at 1080p with playable frame rates.
In the more complex OpenGL ES 3.0-based Manhattan test, Snapdragon 805 yields an impressive 42% advantage over the 801 and 31% lead over the A7. This result suggests that modern gaming titles should enjoy a significant performance boost from the Adreno 420.
The Fill test conveys the full effect of the 805’s extra memory bandwidth, pulling textures from main memory and then writing finished pixels back to the video buffer. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 achieves more than twice the performance of the 801! I speculated that the company added some additional TMUs to better-utilize its more potent memory controller and texture cache back in the GPU section; I believe this chart confirms it.
The Snapdragon 805 again shows its texture mapping prowess, with an almost-40% gain in throughput over the 801.
Snapdragon 805’s advantage is less than 10% over the 801 in this shader compute performance test.
The 805 does no worse than the other Snapdragons when we isolate Driver Overhead, but it’s still the lowest-performing SoC family in this benchmark.