Samsung’s processor foundries missed one production cycle of the flagship Snapdragon 8-series processor but their new and superior extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography has won the hearts of Qualcomm’s management for Snapdragon 865.
Qualcomm just detailed its next high-end chipset during its annual event in Hawaii, and, together with Samsung’s newest kid on the block, the Exynos 990, there is every chance that those two top-shelf processors will end up powering Samsung’s high-end Galaxy S11 series in the spring.
As if to corroborate that notion, the Snapdragon 865 specs that Qualcomm just released to us, tip performance gains in comparison with Snapdragon 855+ that are commensurate with the move from the first generation of the 7nm process to Samsung’s second-gen lithography that Apple’s processor maker TSMC, for instance, is yet to master.
The Galaxy S11 will eventually thus have a chipset that is about 25% faster than the fastest Android chips at the moment, with the corresponding graphics subsystem gains. The big bump, however, is in the value-added features like multi-mode 5G, high-res camera support, or up to 144Hz display refresh rates. Here is a quick comparison table with all the known Snapdragon 865 features against the Exynos 990 and some other notables.
Snapdragon 865 and 855+ vs Exynos 990 vs Apple A13 specs comparison
We are comparing Galaxy S11’s Snapdragon 865 and Exynos 990 specs and features below for your viewing pleasure. For reference, we include the current Snapdragon 855+ and Apple A13 kings of the mobile processing hill.
||Snapdragon 865 (Galaxy S11)
||Exynos 990 (Galaxy S11)
||7nm (TSMC FF)
||7nm (TSMC N7P)
||1x Kryo 585 (custom A77) @2.84GHz
3x Kryo 585 @2.42GHz
|2x Exynos M5
2x Cortex A76
4x Cortex A55
|1x Kryo 485 Gold (custom Cortex-A76) @ 2.96GHz
3x Kryo 485 Gold (custom Cortex-A76) @ 2.42GHz
4x Kryo 485 Silver (custom Cortex-A55) @ 1.80GHz
|2x Lightning @2.66GHz
4x Thunder @1.7GHz
||Adreno 650 at 587MHz
||Apple custom quad-core
||X55 5G modem (add-on)
up to 7.5 Gbps over 5G, and 3 Gbps download speeds on LTE
Downloads up to 7.3Gbps (mmWave), 5.1Gbps (sub-6GHz), or 3Gbps (4G LTE), 8xCA
Uploads: up to 422 Mbps
|Snapdragon X24 LTE
Downloads: up to 2Gbps, 7xCA
Uploads: up to 316Mbps
X50 5G modem add-on
Downloads: up to 1.6Gbps, 7xCA
Uploads: up to 225Mbps
||Yes, Hexagon 698
||Yes, dual-core NPU
||Yes, Hexagon 690
||Yes, octa-core Neural Engine
4K HDR at 120fps
|8K HDR at 30fps
4K HDR at 120fps
||4K HDR at 60fps
||QHD+ @144Hz or [email protected] display refresh
up to 200MP single or 2x64MP dual camera
up to 16 GB DDR5
Bluetooth 5.1/10Gbps 60GHz Wi-fi
|UFS 3.0 storage support for up to 2.9GB/s speeds
Single-camera up to 108MP
up to 16 GB DDR5
120Hz display refresh rate
|8K 360 VR video playback
Always-on noise cancellation
Machine learning capable of 1 trillion operations per second
While a 25% performance gain is nothing to sniff at when compared to Snapdragon 855, the added value of today’s chipsets are not the clock speeds – they are high enough as it is – but rather the accompanying features and especially the modem integration. Qualcomm’s X55 modem supports anything from 5G down to 2G, but it is seemingly still an add-on rather than an integrated affair.
Based on the Snapdragon 865 and Exynos 990 specs alone, we can deduce that, yes, the Galaxy S11 might sport a 108MP camera indeed, have fast DDR5 memory, and a display refresh rate of at least 120Hz.
Moreover, Samsung’s finest for the spring season would be capable of smooth 8K video recording, and up to 7.5Gbps download speeds on mmWave networks like Verizon’s 5G. All specs that you don’t even have on your high-end laptop at home, and sound pretty crazy to have in your phone, but may very well become reality before February has rolled out in earnest.