Exynos vs Snapdragon SoCs: Reality is Starting to Catch Up With Samsung


    Samsung has traditionally released two versions of its flagship Galaxy S series of smartphones which many of us have been oblivious to. But that is starting to change with their S20 lineup, which has exhibited significant parity issues between the two versions (Exynos and Snapdragon).

    Samsung has managed to keep the fact that their in-house Exynos SoCs have been inferior to their Snapdragon counterparts relatively hidden. But the Exynos 990 might be the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Samsung Exynos 990 SoC
    Source: Samsung.com

    Having shut down their CPU development division in November 2019, they might be starting to see the writing on the wall. This is especially disappointing since we know that they managed to team up with AMD for their graphics solution which was promising to say the least. But that team-up will move forward just not with Samsung’s custom CPU for their SoC.

    Future Exynos and AMD partnership

    The Numbers Game

    Coming to the disaster that is this year’s Exynos which not only had lower performance numbers compared to the Snapdragon(SD) 865 to start with but thermal throttles like it’s no one’s business. This has basically boiled down to the Exynos chip losing up to 20% performance compared to the SD 865 after running repeated(4 runs) of synthetic benchmarks such as Geekbench and AnTuTu.

    Samsung Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 AnTuTu benchmarks
    source: Mrwhosetheboss

    Left: Exynos 990 , Right: Snapdragon 865

    Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra after the 1st run of AnTuTu Benchmark shown above. This translates to about a 10% performance difference. After the 4th run of AnTuTu which sees the gap widening to about 20% as shown in the image below

    Samsung Exynos 990 and Snapdragon 865 AnTuTu benchmarks after long usage
    source: Mrwhosetheboss

    left: Exynos, right: Snapdragon

    While the GPU on the Exynos seems comparable to the SD 865, thermal throttling has a more drastic effect on the GPU scores than the overall score as it plummets by a whopping 31%. Which is the kind of difference one expects from a mid-ranger and a flagship.

    This significant temperature difference causes this woeful performance differential as the SD 865 peaked at about 42°C whereas the Exynos chip peaked at 66°C after the 4 runs. Which is hot, really hot.

    To add insult to injury, the Exynos variant of the Galaxy S20 series retails for the about same if not more in most regions including India which is something Samsung really needs to reconsider especially since Samsung makes more money off their Exynos chips than if they used the Snapdragon chips as they don’t have to pay a cut to Qualcomm.

    Moving forward

    It is indeed a sad state of affairs for the consumers, as competition is what breeds innovation and drive down the price of new tech. Samsung having bowed out of the custom CPU game it only increases the monopoly of Snapdragon as it is one less competitor for them to look out for.

    But let’s hope Samsung learns their lesson for next year to maintain the parity between the two versions as consumers who get the short end of the stick by buying the Exynos version are definitely not pleased. This would continue to drive down sales leading the Exynos brand to diminish its value and finally closing down which would eventually lead the consumers to lose out

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