Kirin 970 records a higher CPU points in Geekbench 4.1 benchmark than the Snapdragon 835. However, the Adreno 540 GPU fps score in Gfxbench GPU test is above the Mali G72-MP12 on the Kirin 970. The overall performance of the Kirin 970 is higher than the Snapdragon 835 due to the integrated on-chip NPU. Read the story below.
Snapdragon 835 is a commercial high-end chipset designed by Qualcomm to ensure high performance and energy efficiency characteristics for various OEM’s flagship smartphones. On the other hand, HiSilicon Kirin 970 is Huawei’s high-end chipset built for its own flagship smartphone line-up. Now the OEM (Huawei) is open for making changes to the performance and energy characteristics of the chipset, as it will be optimized to its own software. In view of the above context, the post highlights the performance characteristics of each processor by pitting Kirin 970 Vs Snapdragon 835.
Table of Contents
1. Kirin 970 Houses More Transistors!
As per the design characteristics, both processors are built on 10nm process node. However, the Kirin 970 with a die size of 96.72mm2 integrates 5.5 billion transistors. From a layman point of view, more transistors mean more computing power. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip is designed to serve multiple smartphones of various sizes, hence it is intently kept restricted to die size of 72.30mm2integrating about 3.5 billion transistors.
2. Snapdragon 835 Has Better CPUs & Slightly Faster RAM!
As per the CPU-GPU-RAM configuration, custom-designed Kryo 280 CPU cores in Snapdragon 835 are more powerful than the ARM Cortex-A73 and Cortex-A53 cluster (big.LITTLE configured). History is evident that custom-designed CPUs are always better, as we have seen in Apple Ax Series of processors.
3. Snapdragon 835 Has Better Connectivity Features
Qualcomm is a major player in producing high-quality cellular modems, it have been a LTE modem supplier to Apple. The expertise on LTE modems gives Qualcomm an edge in integrating X16 LTE modem on it’s Snapdragon 835 mobile platform. Apart from the modem, Snapdragon 835 has better WiFi support, Bluetooth, etc.
4. Kirin 970 Has An Integrated NPU
Lately, a new trend of “Artificial Intelligence (AI)” has struck the mobile industry. SoC (mobile processor) vendors are racing together to bring AI capabilities in their chips. For those of you don’t know, AI is a computer/computing capability which can processes, learn, emulate information which are usually done by humans.
For instance, Image Recognition, Speech-to-Text conversion etc. NPU (neural processing unit) runs AI frameworks to enable applications such as face-unlock, depth photography, etc. These are in nascent stage, there are no much use-cases in smartphone industry. But having an inbuilt NPU/AI Processor can offer great pictures using computational photography and other applications.
The in-built NPU is the key difference between Kirin 970 and Snapdragon 835. However, Qualcomm reiterated its existing Hexagon DSP to enable few machine learning tasks, rather than adding additional transistors on the chip. The NPU in the Kirin 970 takes care of few tasks of the CPU and GPU to bring in energy efficiency and enable the device to run AI applications with an ease. The NPU on the chip has made the die size bigger to accommodate some transistors of the NPU.
5. Kirin 970 Is Powerful Than Snapdragon 835
As per the benchmarks, both processors nearly exhibit similar performance points. However, the NPU in the Kirin 970 brings improvement in the computing capability of the processor. Smartphones powered by these chips are similar in cost. Readers who wanted to understand the difference between the two can use the below key takeaways.
Kirin 970 Vs 835
As per the research, the Kirin 970 powered Smartphones are more “powerful” than Snapdragon 835 powered devices
However the “better” device out of both will come from the user’s preferences. Both chips are designed for flagship performance
Since AI applications for smartphones is in nascent stage, the NPU in Kirin 970 is not realized fully as of now
After settling on the chipset, the user can wisely select the device based on the OS / User Interface and Design / Aesthetics.
DC works as a technology analyst in a research and advisory firm specializing in automotive, energy, electronics, and semiconductors domain. When he's not working, he loves gaming on his modest pc build, loves sci-fi films, and big pop culture geek!