Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and Mediatek Helio X30 are about to be released as prime candidates for the BEST SMARTPHONE CHIP OF 2017, but what really makes them different and how do they compare?
Follow me on this deep analysis on all the data on both chips, and which one you should likely get for your next BEAST SMARTPHONE!
A Brief History Of Qualcomm Snapdragon Or how we fell in love with little smartphone Dragons ?
Qualcomm is an American Semi-Conductor Company based in San Diego, California. It has become the leading Smartphone SoC(CPU+GPU+Modem+Board = System on Chip) supplier, thanks to their superior modems(X-series) and Adreno(bought from ATi Radeon early 2000s) GPUs.
Most notable chips include the mythical Snapdragon 800 and 801, which are widely used ’till this day, and after the fiasco with Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 615, they quickly recovered with a superb Snapdragon 820/821 and Snapdragon 625 chips to once again regain the market.
Snapdragon chips are widely regarded as the best you can get, thanks to good battery life, thermal management and performance, however, the company had a horrid time with the awful Snapdragon 810 and 615 chips that had overheating, battery and performance issues, proved that the company can do a bad chip.
Snapdragon 835 is the latest flagship chip and will debut with the Samsung S8 in the end of the month, and Qualcomm are aiming to smash all competition, thanks to the new Octa-Core architecture(4xKryo 280+4xA53 CPU cores), 10nm fabrication process and a 1Gbit+ LTE modem.
A Brief History of Meidatek Or how we all love an underdog story ?
Mediatek or MTK are a Taiwanese Semi-Conductor company, that is most famous with Chinese with Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, Meizu, Vivo and Oppo.
Mediatek’s goals were always to create the fastest chips that cost less than the competition, and it had a few winners over the years, like the famous Helio X10 and MT6752.
And it had a few winners over the years, like the famous Helio X10 and MT6752. MTK were the first to put out an Octa-Core/8 CPU Cores SoC(MT6592) and the first to do a Deca-Core/10 CPU Cores(Helio X20)
The much smaller financially competitor to Qualcomm has bad fame going on the web that their chips onsume much more power and have lots of issues when compared to Snapdragon chips.
That is not entirely true because MTK got their bad fame because lots of smaller Chinese companies with bad built quality and half-decent engineering have and still use MTK chips in their poor phones.
That is so because in order for MTK to prosper they cannot turn down an order, by any company. People with quality devices such as Xiaomi, Meizu, Vivo and Oppo who have MTK chips inside have little to no issues at all, which proves the stated above.
Helio X30 is a real attempt for Mediatek to get back to the high-end market, using the new A73 Cores for performance and the smallest A35 for efficiency, while packing iPhone 7’s PowerVR 7XT GPU, 10nm fabrication process and a much better modem.
Snapdragon 835 looks very impressive, as you can tell from the picture above, but some of you don’t really grasp what is all about, so let me briefly try to break the strongest points of the SoC down for you.
10nm Fabrication Process
10nm is the size of a single transistor and this is the latest and most expensive production technology available for chips of any kind, but what does it mean? Basically, it allows for engineers to put more transistors into a same-size chip, or the same amount of transistors on a smaller chip and transistor count is incredibly important for performance.
Just as a note, a single high-end smartphone chip today has 1 billion+ total transistors, Snapdragon 835 is expected to back close to 3 Billion transistors, just a fact the Intel i7 6700 Desktop CPU chip built in 14nm has ~1.8 Billion transistors!
GigaBit Mobile Internet
With the latest X16 LTE modem, Qualcomm are the only provider in the world that can let your phone(if supported by your carrier)download with speeds exceeding 100MB/sec!
4xKryo 280 + 4xA53 CPU Cores
Qulacomm uses custom versions of ARM’s best CPU cores and the Kryo 280 is based on the newest A72/A73 design, but with secret modifications to deliver the best performance, however most of the time you only need the phone for browsing, social media and youtube, and that’s where the new 4 A53 cores come to help.
Just as a fact A53 cores are around 4-5 times smaller than the big A72/Kryo 280, so they consume much less power but are powerful enough to run all daily activities, and that will help improve battery life and when more performance is needed (Gaming, Editing, Heavy Apps)the big Kryo 280 cores will kick in to make sure you never feel any lag! CPU performance is expected to increase by 20% from Snapdragon 820.
That is called BIG.little architecture(Big cores working with small cores on a single chip)
Just as a note, Snapdragon 810 was Qualcomm’s previous attempt at BIG.little architecture and that didn’t go so well, let’s hope they’ve learned their lesson, and that didn’t go so well, let’s hope they’ve learned their lesson.
Here are supposed leaked SD835 Geekbench scores:
Adreno 540 Graphics and VR
One of the strongest points in Snapdragon chips is 3D/Gaming performance, and that is all thanks to the probably best in-class Adreno graphics.
Adreno 540 looks to built on the excellent Adreno 530 from Snadpragon 820/821, while delivering 20-30% more performance on pretty much the same power-level.
Another important area that will benefit from Adreno 540 is VR gaming, as the Adreno 540 will be able to push 2K and 4K VR experience without much of an issue, something not possible with any other smartphone GPU!
Performance Increase Over Snapdragon 821
With Snapdragon 821 phones like OnePlus 3T and LeEco LePro 3 topping the Android charts at around 160,000 Antutu Points,
Snapdragon 835 is expected to be the first to break the 200,000 points line!
10nm Fabrication Process
This is the first year that MTK can compete with Qualcomm and Huawei, as all their previous generation chips were a nod behind(handicapped) when introduced (Helio X20 20nm compared to 16nm Snapdragon 820 and Kirin 950)
That also means that MTK will have no excuses when it comes to performance, thermals and battery life.
The Best CPU Architecture
MTK is going for just 2 big A73 Cores, but the frequency will be 2.8GHz, which is very important for single-threaded performance, you can see the benefits of A73 over previous generations below:
The Second Cluster is composed of 4xA53 Cores clocked high to 2.3GHz, which should save space on the chip(A53 core is about 4 times smaller than a A73 one), while compensating the performance.
The biggest and most genius design comes in the form of the smallest A35 cores clocked at 2GHz!
Those four cores can literally handle all social media and video with the best efficiency possible!
Here is a comparison with A53 cores, and how you’ll get better battery life!
PowerVR 7XT, a welcomed return to flagship-level Smartphone Graphics!
Thanks to their unique architecture PowerVR are still regarded by many as the best mobile graphics available, packing a more efficient rendering and lightning method than ARM’s Mali and Qualcomm’s Adreno the PowerVR 7XT architecture brings console-level graphics to the Smartphone market.
It’s no small coincidence that Apple have been using PowerVR chips in all their iPhones and iPads!
You can say all you want about iPhones, but as far as gaming is concerned, they are absolute beasts, and that’s all thanks to the PowerVR graphics!
Helio X30 Price
With costs rising to an extreme degree and next flagships like the Samsung S8 and iPhone 8 expected to cost as much as 1000$, we have to ask ourselves “is it really worth it”?
Samsung S8 Specs
Helio X30 probably won’t top the Antutu charts like Snapdragon 835, but will certainly probably exceed Snapdragon 821’s scores, which I think is more than enough reason to choose a Helio X30 powered phone like the Meizu Pro 7 just because you’ll get great performance, but Meizu Pro 7 will cost around 700$, that is 300$ less than S8 and iPhone 8!
Meizu Pro 7 Specs
I definitely believe that if you own a Snapdragon 821 device, you probably might skip getting a new phone, but a better camera and better efficiency might make you consider a Helio X30 device, and for all of you MTK fans rocking X20/27/27 chips, the X30 will certainly almost double the performance!
With Samsung S8 and Meizu Pro 7 coming in just a few weeks we can finally assess how both chips will perform, but is paying that big difference worth it?
I personally believe Helio X30 will be quite the Beast and won’t break a sweat in running anything thrown at it, but if VR and being top of the Benchmarks is your passion than you better start saving.