If you are into Samsung smartphones you might have been hit by a waft of a new mid-range Exynos - Exynos 7870, powering a few of Samsung’s budget and mid-range devices. If you didn’t, Exynos 7870 is the force behind some of Samsung’s latest smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy J6 and Samsung Galaxy On6. While these smartphones are not the powerhouse but are the top picks of 2018 for the Samsung fans, and hence we decided to give Exynos 7870 a more prolonged look.
So here we are, what better way to know more about a budget SoC than to compare it with the current best, the title which is currently held by none other than Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 - the very same chip that powers some astonishing and market breaking devices like the Redmi Note 5 Pro and Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1. So, here we cover the detailed comparison of Snapdragon 636 vs the Exynos 7870 and check how close is Exynos 7870 to the champion of the arena? Let’s find out.
Specifications Comparison of the Exynos 7870 and Snapdragon 636
Here is the side by side comparison of specifications and feature of the Exynos 7870 and Snapdragon 636
|Exynos 7870||Snapdragon 636|
|Series||Exynos 7||Snapdragon 600|
|Launch Date||Q1 2016||Q4 2017|
|CPU Bit Architecture||64-bit||64-bit|
|No. Of Cores||Octa-Core(8)||Octa-Core(8)|
|Core Configuration||8x Cortex A53 at 1.6 GHz||8x Kyro 260 t 1.8 GHz|
|Fabrication||14nm FinFET||14nm FinFET|
|GPU||Mali-T830 MP1||Adreno 509|
|Modem||LTE Cat. 6 2CA||X12 Modem, LTE Cat 12|
|Max Download Speed||300 Mbps||600 Mbps|
|Memory Type||Single Channel LPDDR3||Dual Channel LPDDR4|
|Storage||eMMC 5.1||eMMC 5.1|
|Fast Charging||No||Yes, QuickCharge 4.0|
|Dual Camera Support||Yes||Yes|
1. Architecture & Fabrication Comparison
So, let’s start with the silicon level comparison of Exynos 7870 and Snapdragon 636. The Samsung Exynos lineup has been there for quite some time now, being one of Samsung’s homegrown business, we expect a lot here. Unlike Samsung Displays and Memory chips which are top of the line, Exynos didn’t really ever give competition to the best of the fields - the place which has been solidly occupied by Qualcomm Snapdragon lineup, at least in the Android world. That said, Exynos has been improving albeit slowly.
Exynos 7870 is a SoC manufactured using Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process, which means It is power efficient and doesn’t compromise on performance. Snapdragon 636 (SD636) isn’t much different with the same 14nm FinFET manufacturing process. Both the SoCs uses ARM designs - Qualcomm sprinkling Its own magic sauce with Kryo cores in Snapdragon 636. Both the SoCs are 64-bit in architecture. The 14nm fabrication offers advantages such as less heating and minimal throttling.
So coming to the thick of things, both the SoCs are octa-core in nature with eight cores on the die, working alongside to pump in blazing fast performance at everything you do. Exynos 7870 is 8 identical ARM Cortex-A53 cores, each clocked at their base 1.6GHz. Nothing fancy. ARM Cortex cores have seen some time, and aren’t exactly superior in performance considering 2018 standards.
Snapdragon 636 beats everything else with 8 Kryo 260 cores onboard. Each operating at base 1.8GHz. We have discussed Kryo cores a lot but still, a refresher for you - Kryo 260 are essentially supercharged Cortex A53s with Qualcomm’s magic customizations to the original design yielding up to 40% increase in performance. So Exynos 7870 although being a budget SoC is not par in performance measures while Snapdragon 636 sits as the gold standard. Snapdragon 636 is an easy winner here in the comparison with Exynos 7870.
You know what GPUs are, don’t you? yeah, the chips that make the gameplay fluid and other graphics-intensive tasks go like breeze. GPUs have quietly taken a strong position in modern SoCs as they have gained importance not only due to an exponential increase in game quality but also due to the rising giant - Artificial Intelligence.
Exynos 7870 is backed by Mali-T830 MP1 which is really just an old, entry-level graphics processor with an operating frequency of 700MHz. It is decent for casual gaming but if you take gaming seriously, It’s not well equipped for that. Snapdragon 636, on the other hand, has Adreno 509 onboard, an incremental update over already amazing Adreno 508. Adreno 509 is ready for gaming whenever you like and however you like. Suffice to say, It is in an altogether different league than the Mali GPU on the Exynos 7870. So again, Snapdragon 636 takes the medal here on the GPU comparison.
Believe it or not, memory is the channel for your device to operate, Its not only about storage but RAM and Its efficiency. By memory we mostly mean RAM and It is definitely mean on the Snapdragon 636 with support for Dual-Channel LPDDR4/4X RAM up to 8GB, clocked at 1333MHz. Exynos 7870 again doesn’t show any real fight here with support for single channel LPDDR3 RAM up to 1866 MHz. There is no telling that LPDDR4/4X is quite an improvement over LPDDR3 single channel RAM. Snapdragon 636 sees major strides in memory comparison over Exynos 7870 in memory speeds whether it is read or write processes. So each process whether small or big can be seen to happen very quickly on the Snapdragon 636
Camera quality has taken quite the front seat in SoC organisation in recent years. Specialised circuitry known as Image Signal Processor (ISPs) have taken over image processing and manipulation tasks. ISPs have full control over image pipeline with the photo capturing from the sensor to digitalisation and then into memory.
Exynos 7870 packs Samsung’s custom ISP with support for upto 16MP sensors on front and back or even a dual sensor standard as 8MP + 8MP which is fair considering Its 2018 and everybody wants a dual sensor camera setup.
Qualcomm has been giving some significant efforts into Its ISPs with Spectra 160 ISP, which was once found in Snapdragon 800 lineup so you can expect flagship grade camera performance at budget prices. The max camera support resolution is 24MP. There is also Hexagon 680 DSP (Digital Signal Processor) for advanced signal processing which enables better sensing and more set of features. Again, we are taken aback by the difference in the performance comparison of Snapdragon 636’s image processing to that of Exynos 7870.
Since Exynos 7870 is almost 2 years old compared to recently launched Snapdragon 636 we don’t expect support for full-screen, 18:9 displays on Exynos 7870 and we are not surprised to see support for maximum WUXGA with a max resolution of 1920*1200. While Snapdragon 636 supports a full HD+ resolution at 18:9 aspect ratio, which is totally 2018 grade.
Exynos 7870 Specification
Connectivity gains far more important than ever with wireless technologies picking pace. Exynos 7870 supports LTE with Category 6 support offering max download speeds of 300Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50Mbps. Snapdragon 636 packs Qualcomm’s expertise in form of X12LTE Category 12 enabled modem with almost double the specs of Exynos 7870 with 600Mbps of download speeds and 100Mbps of upload speeds. What this translates to is blazing fast speeds over Wi-Fi and mobile data, almost double that of any smartphone running on Exynos 7870.
8. Fast Charging, Storage & More
We’ve pretty much settled for fast charging for never-ending batteries as the latter isn’t gonna be a reality anytime soon. Fast charging has graduated from being a nice add-on to a necessity. Exynos 7870 being almost a relic in today’s world lacks support for fast charging while Snapdragon 636 has support for QuickCharge 4.0. Both the devices support eMMC 5.1 storage.
It is the age of AI - SoCs are beginning to have on-die support for Machine Learning. Qualcomm has made significant strides into making Machine Learning accessible to even budget SoCs. Snapdragon 636 is an instance of that thinking with support for TensorFlow and Caffe - two of the most popular Machine Learning frameworks. Exynos 7870 sadly, being almost 2 years old shows no such support. Very easily, Snapdragon 636 is the next age processor compared to the Exynos 7870.
So, for the love of numbers - let’s compare these SoCs in terms of the scores they produce on popular benchmarking tools. Samsung Exynos 7870 scores ~48,000 on AnTuTu. Exynos 7870 also records 715 and 3617 on GeekBench 4 single core and multi-core tests.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 records staggering numbers in comparison to Exynos 7870. Snapdragon 636 records 113,000 on AnTuTu while we see scores of 1329, 4859 on GeekBench 4 single core and multi-core tests respectively. It's conspicuous that Snapdragon 636 beats Exynos 7870 by almost double, leaving the former in the dust.
Redmi Note 5 Pro Geekbench Score - Snapdragon 636
Conclusion: Exynos 7870 or Snapdragon 636, Which one is better?
So here we are at the end of comparison of Exynos 7870 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 636. We somewhat knew that Snapdragon 636 is gonna come out a winner in this detailed comparison but the difference is quite staggering here. The difference doesn’t mean that Exynos 7870 is bad, It is but you also have to consider the fact that Exynos 7870 is a 2016 based SoC while Snapdragon SoC launched in late 2017.
Exynos is a pretty decent lineup of SoCs but even after years, there are still a lot of questions in customers’ minds when picking up an Exynos based Samsung. Qualcomm still rules the mobile chip business and the fact that Samsung is still pushing a two-year-old Exynos 7870 in 2018 in Its smartphones brings out the fragility in Samsung’s commitment to the budget and mid-range space.
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