Snapdragon 810 Performance Preview

Results: GPU

3DMark (Anti-Detection)

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 2013, the on-screen portions of Ice Storm have already been outpaced by modern mobile chipsets, with Nvidia's Tegra 4 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 both easily maxing-out the Extreme version (1080p with high-quality textures). However, Ice Storm Unlimited, which renders the scene off-screen at 720p, is still a good gauge of GPU-to-GPU performance.

The Adreno 430 in the 810 posts a 36% higher graphics score than the 805, in line with Qualcomm's 30% estimate. However, there's a significant regression in the Physics score. As we discussed in our iPhone 6 review, Futuremark's investigation of Cyclone's Physics performance revealed that it has issues "dealing with non-sequential data structures with memory dependencies." Or in other words, Apple's memory controller is optimized for sequential rather than random access requests. It's possible that Snapdragon 810's memory controller has a similar preference for sequential data. Qualcomm's push into 4K video playback and recording as well as high resolution image processing would certainly benefit from a memory controller tuned for sequential access.

The Physics score may also be impacted by higher memory latency when dealing with random accesses with dependencies. Even if this were true however, it would not explain a 48% drop in performance on its own. More than likely, it's a combination of things.

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 to simulate how a modern game might look and run. Basemark X is an aggressive metric that still hasn’t been maxed out by the latest mobile SoCs.

The 810 doesn't seem to like Basemark X. It trails the 805 in both Dunes and Hangar at both Medium and High quality settings by as much as 20%. Considering how much faster Adreno 430 is in 3DMark and the other graphics tests we've run, I'm inclined to believe this is a software driver issue rather than hardware. The other possibility is thermal throttling, although I didn't notice excessive skin temperatures while running any of the benchmarks.

GFXBench 3.0 Corporate

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 test, while the OpenGL ES 2.0-level T-Rex is a holdover from GFXBench v2.7.

The low-level tests 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.

Qualcomm's 30% performance improvement estimate is proving to be pretty accurate. The Adreno 430 is 35% faster than Adreno 420 in Manhattan and 27% faster in T-Rex. It still can't touch the frame rates possible from Nvidia's year-old Kepler based GPU, though, and well, nobody's going to get anywhere close to the pixel shading prowess of the X1. Good grief! I'm very curious to find out how much power the X1 consumes.

The 810 is 9% slower than the 805 in the memory bandwidth limited Alpha Blending test, which agrees nicely with our multi-core STREAM results, where the 810 trailed by a similar amount. Moving to the ALU test, it looks like the Adreno 430 does indeed have additional shading assets based on its 68% performance improvement over the Adreno 420. Fill rate also improves putting the 810 second only to Nvidia's X1. Qualcomm also makes a noticeable gain in the driver overhead test.

Other than the suspected driver issue with Basemark X, the Adreno 430 delivers on its 30% performance increase prediction. If it's capable of sustaining these performance levels over time without throttling, then the 430 looks to be a substantial improvement over the temperature limited Adreno 420.

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  • realjjj
    In Geekbench your result is by far the highest in the database , something is off there, it's overclocked or you are testing in a fridge or you got some new revision.What's certain is that something is way off.
  • MobileEditor
    In Geekbench your result is by far the highest in the database , something is off there, it's overclocked or you are testing in a fridge or you got some new revision.What's certain is that something is way off.

    The 810 scores lower than both the Tegra K1 (Denver) and A8X in Geekbench single-core and 8% better than the A8X in multi-core. Looking at the table for the individual Integer test results shows that most of the 810's advantage is in the AES and SHA1 encryption tests, which AArch64 targets with new instructions, as I noted in the article.

    I used Geekbench 3 Pro v3.3.1 (as noted on the "Testing" page) and I definitely didn't test it in a fridge :) It was standing on a conference room table like shown in the picture on the "Testing" page.

    - Matt
  • MrCommunistGen
    "With only half as many cores, both A8X and Tegra K1 (Denver) see their IPC advantage diminish in the multi-core tests"

    A8X is a tri-core CPU.
  • airborn824
    This does not seem very promising at all. At this rate i am stuck with my S4 this year. I wont upgrade with such a small performance increase.
  • MobileEditor
    "With only half as many cores, both A8X and Tegra K1 (Denver) see their IPC advantage diminish in the multi-core tests" A8X is a tri-core CPU.

    Doh! I was still thinking A8. That's what happens when writing at 4am with no sleep. I'll fix that.

    - Matt
  • nebun
    tegra is a monster of a processor....nice numbers
  • nebun
    battery life?????
  • nebun
    how efficient is it?
  • MobileEditor
    how efficient is it?

    If you're referring to Tegra X1, Nvidia claims between 5W-10W depending on application (tablet or car). We can't verify these claims since there aren't any shipping products yet and nobody outside of Nvidia has even been able to touch it.

    For the 810, we weren't given enough time to test battery life. We need to wait until products ship. With the 810 moving to 20nm and the fact that the Krait CPUs were pushed to their max frequency, I wouldn't be surprised to see the 810 use less power than the 805 for average tablet workloads. The Adreno 430 might use a little more power than 420 though.

    - Matt
  • JeanLuc
    Are you checking to see if any of the devices are deliberately 'turboing/boosting' clockrates when certain benchmarks are run?
  • MobileEditor
    Are you checking to see if any of the devices are deliberately 'turboing/boosting' clockrates when certain benchmarks are run?

    The short answer is yes; there are several different ways we check for "cheating" or anomalous behavior. In addition to over and under clocking, with multi-processor SoCs we also look at how many cores are active.

    It usually takes us 3-4 days to benchmark a device, so with only one hour to work, and no other 810 devices for comparison, we weren't able to use all of our detection methods.

    - Matt
  • chaz9999
    The Galaxy S6 should be carrying a 14nm chip compared to the 810's 20nm which from a paper design standpoint should make it a worthy upgrade.
  • somebodyspecial
    NV needs to put out a few different tablet sizes with denver (or x1 since it's so close). Gaming oriented like before but a 13in, 10in, 7in, and also update shield handheld to x1. As long as they break even on them overall it gets their name more recognition as the "GAMING" devices to have on android. Then port like mad, since they've proven already they can do halflife 2, portal etc in 2 weeks and most of the time was spent on mapping the gamepad. With most games not selling more then 10mil (the biggest hits only get 20 and most are under 10mil by far) and mobile audience being so huge they need to port PC/console games that are the most popular from the last decade. By the time the get a modem in there they'll have a huge catalog to draw phones (guessing that will come from some kind of settlement in the suit with samsung for their cat10+cheap fabbing for years or something).

    Since porting takes so little time, it seems like a no brainer to port great stuff todays audience might never have even seen. At $5-10, just a few 100K of sales per game makes you a decent sum of cash (for devs) and users get a great deal on some of the greatest games (full, not microtransaction crap like usual on mobile) of recent times. Clearly NV's chips are good for gaming, but they are not taking full advantage of this yet. They should be making their OWN games in house too. Again, not to make profit just in the beginning (just breaking even is fine), but rather to push their hardware more and more as users realize you can get a great tablet that replaces your console too and when in a pinch for power links to your PC gpu if you have one (and 70% of us have NV now). At 600mil per year, surely dedicating 50mil for say 10-20x 2mil-5mil games would put out some decent stuff from a few small teams. Sell them direct through tegrazone and you can make your money back easily at $10 x 200K-400K copies. Worst case, allow others to use them after sales drop for tegra devices (make them available for PC, or worst case ALL android and profit for real then selling a million+). Just make them exclusive for a year or something then port to PC (how hard is that, punch a button in unreal engine 4 for PC?).

    I get that auto is huge, but great gaming will sell mobile devices from here on as we now have higher end tools (more versatile like unreal 4 etc) and powerful enough socs to push xbox360 etc quality stuff. Gaming is what sells discrete, it is the same for mobile high end stuff (and even low end at 14nm as gpus amp up for all to above K1 levels). Get with the game NV! The scores here show they have great gaming (well duh, it's discrete from desktop now along with drivers). Putting out a tablet and a few valve ports isn't enough. They need MORE devices and FAR MORE PORTS.

    Not impressed with S810 but I didn't expect to be with off the shelf IP. X1 will be no different on the cpu side but obviously will work for all I'm talking about above in great gaming models (NV just has to put out more sizes and a X1 handheld update). Checking tegrazone they are adding stuff, just not fast enough (KOTOR on there now etc). Snail Obox coming with K1 and will go x1 also they say so hopefully more gaming devices are coming with these socs, a bunch of Gameloft games are being optimized for it (and hopefully all tegra K1+ devices, not just obox).
  • daredevil01
    Well all I know is if the Galaxy S6 comes in an Exynos version, I'm most likely going to get that, based on numbers...
  • MarcCouture
    I wish the review had included Samsung's Exynos, I'm currently shopping for a new tablet to replace my Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (SM-T320) and I'm not sure what I want to buy this time around. I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer to see actual product reviews with new CPUs.