|Snapdragon 835||Exynos 8895||Snapdragon 821||Exynos 8890|
|CPU Core||Semi-custom ARM Cortex||Custom + A53||Kryo||Custom + A53|
|CPU Config||4x 2.45GHz Kryo 280|
4x 1.9GHz Kryo 280
|4x 2.5GHz Samsung M2|
4x 1.7GHz Cortex-A53
|2x 2.35GHz Kryo|
2x 1.6GHz Kryo
|4x 2.3GHz Samsung M1
4x 1.6GHz Cortex-A53
|GPU||Adreno 540||Mali-G71 MP20||Adreno 530||Mali-T880 MP12|
|RAM||2x 32-bit LPDDR4X|
|LPDDR4X||2x 32-bit LPDDR4X|
|2x 32-bit LPDDR4
|Flash||eMMC 5.1/ UFS 2.1||eMMC 5.1 / UFS 2.0||eMMC 5.1/ UFS 2.0||eMMC 5.1 / UFS 2.0|
|Camera support||32MP single / 16MP dual||28MP single / 28MP + 16MP dual rear||28MP single / 14MP dual||24MP rear|
|Video capture||4K UHD @ 30fps||4K UHD @ 120fps||4K UHD @ 30fps||4K UHD @ 30fps|
|Video playback||4K UHD @ 60fps,|
10-bit H.264 (AVC),
H.265 (HEVC), VP9 codecs
|4K UHD @ 120fps,|
HEVC (H.265), H.264, VP9 codecs
|4K UHD @ 60fps,|
10-bit H.264 (AVC),
|4K UHD @ 60fps,
|Process||10nm FinFET||10nm FinFET||14nm FinFET||14nm FinFET|
In 2017 we’re back to a familiar battle of the octa-core processors, albeit with both Qualcomm and Samsung opting for custom CPU cores this time around. We can’t say for sure which will be faster without some hands-on time, but the two companies are touting similar performance and energy efficiency improvements over last year’s close fought battle.
The Snapdragon 835 is apparently offering around a 20 percent boost to performance over the 821, while Samsung touts up to a 27 percent improvement with its Exynos 8895 from the 8890. Both companies have moved over to new CPU designs this year, although Samsung’s naming convention and PR hints at a revision rather than a complete refresh. The Kryo 280 is a new semi-custom ARM design that Qualcomm is using for its performance and energy efficient cores, while Samsung is designing its own big core for use in a familiar big.LITTLE setup, having licensed ARM’s ARMv8 ISA (Instruction Set Architecture). We don’t know the exact changes and improvements made to the internals of these two chips, but it appears that improving power efficiency has been a key goal at both companies.
Why Samsung uses two different processorsFor starters, the Exynos chip is actually made by Samsung, the Snapdragon by Qualcomm. There's obvious cost savings involved in making your own chips, but a lot of it also has to do with markets and existing support. The Exynos chips usually make their way to Asia while Europe and North America get Snapdragon variants, although sometimes these things change. For example, the European Galaxy S3 was the Exynos variant and the Galaxy Note series brings Exynos chips to the US.
Part of the reason is to do with the supply chain. Samsung is easily the largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world by volume, and making chips to satisfy Samsung's demands could easily be the sole focus of a chip-maker. Likewise, dependency plays a part too: if there's problems at Qualcomm, Samsung can step in and equip a market with Exynos chips.
The split also allows Samsung to attack the market on two fronts and establish what works best and why. Not to mention that there is reportedly an existing contract between Samsung and Qualcomm that both sides are still committed to. In any case, it is unlikely that Samsung could produce enough Exynos chips for all of their devices even if they weren't tied to Qualcomm.