Independent testing confirms Snapdragon 810 SoC runs hot and throttles early, often and severely

By Shawn Knight
Apr 24, 2015
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  1. tests snapdragon qualcomm samsung smartphone cpu soc chip throttling exynos overheating snapdragon 810 galaxy s6 lg g flex 2 htc one m9 galaxy s6 edge 810 soc exynos 7420 arm cortex a53 arm cortex a57

    Samsung elected to skirt Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 SoC in favor of its in-house Exynos solution to power the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. The rumor mill claimed the chip ran too hot for Samsung’s liking, an accusation that has since been independently corroborated by Ars Technica.

    With help from the team at Primate Labs, the publication found that when running at its full potential in both the HTC One M9 and LG’s G Flex 2, the Snapdragon 810 is indeed faster than its predecessors, the Snapdragon 800, 801 and 805.

    That performance is short-lived, however, as throttling – a technique used by many smartphones and tablets to avoid overheating – occurs early and often due to the fact that the 810 does indeed run warm. But just how bad is it?

    tests snapdragon qualcomm samsung smartphone cpu soc chip throttling exynos overheating snapdragon 810 galaxy s6 lg g flex 2 htc one m9 galaxy s6 edge 810 soc exynos 7420 arm cortex a53 arm cortex a57

    This chart really drives home the point. In comparing the “.big” ARM Cortex A57 cores from the Exynos 7420 inside the Galaxy S6 to the Snapdragon 810’s “big” in the LG G Flex 2, the difference becomes painfully obvious (the gaps represent when the SoC switched to its “.LITTLE” ARM Cortex A53 cores).

    While both exhibited throttling, the 810 dropped down below 900MHz after just a few minutes of sustained workload and switched to the .LITTLE cores on a somewhat consistent basis. The Exynos, meanwhile, only touched the .LITTLE cores a few times and maintained much faster clock speeds throughout the 15-minute test period.

    All things considered, the data – which mirrors our own testing of the HTC One M9 and the LG G Flex 2 – proves that phones using the Snapdragon 810 are ultimately slower and have worse battery life. The heating issues are likely a result of using TSMC’s 20-nanometer manufacturing process (Samsung’s Exynos is built on the 14-nanometer process). It’s also possible that Samsung simply has more experience implementing Cortex CPU cores into its designs.

    Fortunately, Qualcomm’s next in line – the Snapdragon 820 – is expected to be built on the smaller and more efficient 14-nanometer process. Along with its custom-designed 64-bit “Kryo” architecture, it should alleviate the issues found in 810.

    Chart via Ars Technica

    Permalink to story.

  2. And while Android OEMs waste silicon and money making four- and eight-core CPUs where at least half of the processor cores go completely unused in the overwhelming majority of cases, dealing with yield, consumption and heat issues in the process, Apple is laughing that they Cyclone architecture still wipes the floor with A57 in single-thread performance.
    This MOAR CORES race with Android does nothing but make things worse for everyone (fabs lose money, OEMs develop inferior products, customers get worse performance), and it only exists due to the misinformation of a large portion of Android users. Since the vast majority of apps only use two threads or less, Apple's SoC having higher single-thread performance effectively provides higher performance than the quad-cores Android phones have. And since being a larger, wider core allows them to use lower frequencies, and by consequence quadratically lower voltages, coupled with the fact that they don't have useless excess silicon on the die, they have a 33% lower TDP. Apple is to ARM what Intel is to x86, yet some people are still uninformed enough to look at the spec sheet, see "1.4 GHz dual-core" and go "LOL Apple has 2012 hardware". We all learned how SO important frequencies are back in the Pentium 4/D days, didn't we? Also, the current situation with Core i5 vs. FX-8000 CPUs clearly shows how pointless it is to have many cores when the software cannot take advantage of them. I don't understand why so many Android users are incapable of applying the same concepts to their phone SoCs, and demand large, efficient 1.4 GHz dual-core CPUs as well instead of the four/eight small, inefficient, power-hungry cores we've been getting (half of which will be dead weight).
    Don't get me wrong, I would never trade my Moto G for an iPhone. But that doesn't change the fact that the quad-core processor in my smartphone is completely pointless, and I'd much rather have two A7 cores at 1.4/1.5 GHz than four A7 cores at 1.2 GHz. And if I were to get a flagship, I'd would pick and Android phone with an A8 SoC over any Snapdragon or Exynos any day, if such thing existed.
  3. soulsassassin

    soulsassassin TS Booster Posts: 68   +14

    I'm surprised no one mention this issue when they tested the M9 including all the big websites , internet reviews are becoming more and more misleading
    Chazz and hahahanoobs like this.
  4. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,600   +411

    Samsung wouldn't have dismissed it if it wasn't. And besides LG and HTC , who else is using it? That should have been a clear indication right there.
  5. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,600   +411

    I agree.

    Another example is (I'm not trying to start a war here) some sites didn't test performance below the VRR window (<40Hz) in a couple FreeSync monitor reviews. PCWorld is one and Guru3d is another. Guru3d actually used performance slides that came directly from AMD...
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
    soulsassassin likes this.
  6. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    Stick to Anandtech, they do the most comprehensive reviews I've found. (they do things like make sure their screen brightness is set to 200 nits instead of just 50%, since 50% is different from phone to phone.)
    From their M9 review
    They didn't compare to the S6 because the review was done before the S6 was available, but they do point out the throttling and overall disappointing performance of the 810.
  7. They make it sound like its tsmc's fault when its Qualcomm's...
  8. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    It doesn't sound like a fault design on Qualcomm's part, it sounds more like TSMC's dodgy 20nm manufacturing process.
  9. soulsassassin

    soulsassassin TS Booster Posts: 68   +14

    the most important thing to me on any phone review is the actual battery life with 100 percent of work load as heavy gaming and multitasking + thermal throttling and heat management of the device those are the real concerns with SOC's reaching beyond the 2ghz frequency and power hungry screens
  10. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Addict Posts: 289   +55

    At least unlike Intel and the P4 Prescott it won't end up in devices that sound like vacuum cleaners for many years until the motherboard fails. Even Dell who make really quiet towers could silence that beast.

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