We got a unique opportunity last week to benchmark Qualcomm’s latest SoC using their reference platform MDP (mobile development platform). The Snapdragon 805 MDP itself is basically how Qualcomm launches a new SoC by releasing a reference platform to allow developers and manufacturers to see the maximum capability of the SoC and then to build their hardware or apps based upon those possibilities. The Snapdragon 805 itself is Qualcomm’s latest and greatest SoC and is what they believe to be the premier ‘built for 4K’ SoC that we’ll likely see in smartphones and tablets later this year.
We got a hands on with the Snapdragon 805 MDP itself and were able to check out the different features of the tablet itself as well as benchmark the tablet against the latest SoCs we have had available at our disposal. We ran all of the latest benchmarks and were able to get a pretty good idea of where it performs against other Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs as well as the latest SoCs from Intel and Nvidia.
For the Snapdragon 805 MDP tablet itself, we have a hands-on video that gives you an idea of what the tablet looks and feels like as well as what kind of connectivity it has. If you’re not particularly interested in watching the video you can see the images below the video or head over to Intrinsyc’s site and check out the tablet for yourself.
You can also get the various features and specifications of the Snapdragon 805 MDP in the images below provided to us by Qualcomm.
The tablet is powered by a 3400 mAh battery which is fairly small for a tablet, but the battery is also a lot less relevant in terms of size when looking at a development platform. Especially since this tablet comes with a dock that is powered and has a USB 3.0 and ethernet hub. It also has a multitude of microphones (7), gesture cameras (2) and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera and a 13 megapixel main camera. It also has a fingerprint sensor and stereo speakers in addition to the expected MicroUSB 3.0 connector and microHDMI connectors you saw in the photos and videos above. Don’t forget, it also supports MicroSD, meaning that you could get up to 128GB of additional storage to the already built-in 64GB of eMMC.
Moving on from the physical aspects of the Snapdragon 805 MDP itself, we are going to explore the internal Snapdragon 805 SoC’s performance capabilities with the tablet’s integrated 10″ 2560 x 1440 display. But first, you should know that the Snapdragon 805 SoC sports Qualcomm’s latest Krait 450 CPU which is clocked at up to 2.7 GHz and Qualcomm’s Adreno 420 which also happens to be their latest and fastest GPU. It also supports LP-DDR3, which is what’s being used in the Snapdragon 805 MDP with 3GB of LP-DDR3 RAM.
Do keep in mind that this Snapdragon 805 is an APQ8084 which means it is an applications processor only and is manufactured on the 28nm HPM process. We may eventually see a version of the 805 with a modem attached to it, but realistically Qualcomm has enough products coming down the pipeline like the 64-bit capable Snapdragon 808 and 810 that an integrated 805 doesn’t make much sense. The SoC is also capable of supporting image sensors of up to 55 megapixels and stereoscopic 3D, even though use of that is fairly uncommon. It also enables users to have 4K playback with H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC) in hardware as well as 4K capture with H.264 (AVC). The Snapdragon 805 doesn’t have an H.265 hardware encoder yet, but I would expect future SoCs to once the standard is nailed down.
We wanted to run more benchmarks, but not all benchmarks ran on all systems, so we narrowed it down to the benchmarks where we had the best amount of data.
3DMark Icestorm Unlimited
In 3DMark we weren’t surprised to see the results we got as most of the SoCs performed well within their expected figures. The Snapdragon came in with a score of 19,676 which was nearly matched by the Snapdragon 801, which peculiarly performed much better than expected until we remembered that HTC was boosting their smartphones’ performance in benchmarks. The Snapdragon 800 is much closer to where the 801 should have scored, which means that the 805 is a solid 20% faster in 3DMark than the Snapdragon 800.
GFX Bench 3.0 Manhattan Offscreen
In GFXBench 3.0 we tested the Manhattan Offscreen benchmark in order to properly measure the GPU performance across the Snapdragon 800, 801 and 805. Since the current software and hardware support scenarios are the way they are right now, we were only able to compare OpenGL ES 3.0 performance across Qualcomm’s platforms. Here we can see a more realistic Snapdragon 801 graphical performance number with it being slightly faster than the 800 but still nowhere near as fast as the 805. In this test, the Snapdragon 805 scored 1090 (17.6 FPS) while the Snapdragon 801 scored 684 (11 FPS) and the Snapdragon 800 scored 548 (8.8 FPS). So, in this benchmark the Snapdragon 805 is literally double the performance of the Snapdragon 800 in reference to OpenGL ES 3.0 performance, an impressive improvment.
In Vellamo, a Qualcomm HDML 5 and CPU benchmark, we saw pretty much the same trend as we did in the previous benchmarks with the exception of the Clovertrail+ HTML5 performance on the Dell Venue 8 which was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else’s. However, their overall CPU performance wasn’t so great and actually came in last. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to run this test on our Baytrail tablet since it was a Windows tablet and this is an Android benchmark. We also saw the Snapdragon 801 overperform again on the HTC One M8 with it outperforming the Snapdragon 805 in HTML5 even though we know that isn’t really the case. In the Metal CPU test, however, the Snapdragon 805 still took the performance crown.
We ran Geekbench 3 because it is one of the few cross platform benchmarks that tests overall CPU performance and here we saw more of the same, and really more of the expected. The Snapdragon 805 was the top of the pile while the Snapdragon 801 cheated again (see the asterisk) and as a result, didn’t really take the top spot. However, what was interesting was that the Tegra 4 moved up in the performance tables and the CPU performance was somewhere between a Snapdragon 800 and Snapdragon 801. But once again, the Snapdragon 805 was the undisputed king in our tests.
In Linpack for Android we were able to test the multi-core performance of these SoCs and once again since we didn’t have a Baytrail Android tablet we weren’t able to test Baytrail against the rest of the competition. But even here we saw the Snapdragon 805 do incredibly well. However, once again we appear to have the Snapdragon 801 coming in too high thanks to HTC’s Benchmark ‘optimizations’ aka cheating. The Snapdragon 801 should be much closer to the Snapdragon 800, not the Snapdragon 805.
The Snapdragon 805 came in with a max Linpack score of 773 MFLOPs while the Tegra 4 came in at 702 and the Snapdragon 801 with 682. The Snapdragon 800 came in at a much lower 417 and Clovertrail+ at 297. Even though, the Snapdragon 801 should be much closer to 417 than the current 682. In fact the HTC One with the Snapdragon 801, thanks to HTC’s cheating once came in at 1034 MFLOPs but it didn’t validate correctly so we didn’t count it. Overall, if you look at the Snapdragon 800 against the 805 you can see that Qualcomm gave it a pretty significant performance boost. But we will try to find another 801 device that isn’t boosting in the future to have proper benchmarks in the future.
Based on our benchmarks, there’s clearly no doubt that the Snapdragon 805 is the new king of the Qualcomm Snapdragon family of SoCs and the current crop of mobile SoCs as a whole. Obviously, these benchmarks need to be taken with a grain of salt because performance varies between device manufacturers and their system designs. The expectation for the Snapdragon 805 is that it will enable users to properly experience the full 4K experience end to end. In smartphones users likely won’t experience 4K on their devices directly, but they will still be capable of quality capture and playback. And in tablets, we will likely see 4K tablets with the Snapdragon 805 probably launching later this year.
The Snapdragon 805 is a great chip and we will have to wait until we see consumer devices in order to see real performance as well as battery life. As it stands right now, we weren’t given any figures on battery life, which should theoretically mean that we should expect the same level of power consumption as we saw from the Snapdragon 801. After all, this is still a 28nm chip and there is only so much that you can do to improve performance. We do know that the Snapdragon 805’s GPU, the Adreno 420 does have reduced power consumption but it is also a bigger more powerful GPU as well, so I wouldn’t expect much difference especially when driving higher resolution displays on the 805 compared to older SoCs.