Exynos 2100 vs Snapdragon 888: The tables could finally be turning

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Last updated: January 14th, 2021 at 01:02 UTC+02:00

The new Exynos 2100 SoC that was officially introduced earlier today is a lot more than just a yearly refresh from Samsung. It represents a turning point for the company’s mobile chipset division, and numerous fans of the brand are eager to see how it will compete with Qualcomm’s solution this year.

Gone are the custom in-house Mongoose / M cores. The new 5nm-based chipset uses ARM CPU cores and graphics, and it’s the company’s first 5nm high-performance solution to boast integrated 5G connectivity. It will power the Galaxy S21 flagship series in most markets where the Snapdragon 888 solution won’t be used.

Now, as many of you know, Samsung’s Exynos chipsets have lagged behind Qualcomm’s mobile SoCs for years, and many customers from the Exynos camp have grown increasingly disconcerted with the fact that their flagships were equipped with inferior hardware every year. However, Samsung’s committed to improving the formula this year and the Exynos 2100 chipset is, or should be proof of that.

But how exactly does it compare with the Snapdragon 888? Can Samsung turn the tables on Qualcomm this year, and is it possible that Exynos customers will get the better flagship variant in 2021? We won’t know with certainty until the Galaxy S21 series hits the shelves, but until then, we can take a closer look at how these two flagship-grade mobile chipsets compare on paper.

Exynos 2100 vs Snapdragon 888: Full specs comparison

Both the Exynos 2100 and the Snapdragon 888 chipsets were manufactured by Samsung using a 5LPE (5nm Low Power Early) process but similarities don’t end here. Both solutions have a total of eight CPU cores and their arrangement is similar.

The Snapdragon 888 SoC has 1 Kryo 680 Prime (ARM Cortex-X1) core clocked at 2.84GHz, 3 Kryo 680 Gold (ARM Cortex-A78) high-performance cores @2.42GHz, and 4 Kryo 680 Silver (ARM Cortex-A55) cores operating at up to 1.8GHz.

Similarly, the Exynos 2100 SoC comprises a single ARM Cortex-X1 core (clocked at up to 2.9GHz), three Cortex-A78 cores, and four Cortex-A55 cores. But where the Snapdragon 888 features an Adreno 660 graphics chip, Samsung’s solution uses the Mali-G78 GPU.

Both chipsets support LPDDR5 RAM, and their image signal processors support camera resolutions of up to 200-megapixels. Likewise, both solutions have AI engines capable of precisely 26 TOPS (26 trillion operations per second).

It will be very interesting to see how the two chipsets perform and handle thermals in the real world given how similar they are on paper, but surprisingly enough, preliminary benchmark results are in favor of the Exynos 2100 solution.

Granted, synthetic benchmarks don’t usually reflect real-world usage but the figures are promising nonetheless. According to Geekbench, the Exynos 2100 chipset performs equally-well in single-core tests but outperforms the Snapdragon 888 SoC in multi-core tests.

Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 888
Process 5nm LPE EUV 5nm LPE EUV
CPU 1x 2.9GHz Cortex-X1 + 3x 2.8GHz Cortex-A78 + 4x 2.2GHz Cortex-A55 1x 2.84GHz Cortex-X1 based + 3x Cortex-A78 based + 4x Cortex-A55 based
GPU ARM Mali-G78 MP14 Adreno 660
Memory LPDDR5 (51.2GB/s) LPDDR4X & LPDDR5 (50GB/s)
Storage UFS 3.1, UFS 2.1 UFS 3.1, UFS 2.1
NPU Tri-core (26 TOPS) Hexagon 780 (26 TOPS)
ISP Up to 200MP, up to 6 sensors, 4 sensors simultaneously Up to 200MP, up to 6 sensors, 3 sensors simultaneously
Video Encode/Decode Up to 4K 120fps or 8K 30fps encode, up to 4K 120fps or 8K 60fps decode Up to 4K 120fps or 8K 30fps encode, up to 4K 120fps or 8K 30fps decode
Modem Fully-integrated 5G modem, mmWave (7.35Gbps), sub-6GHz (5.1Gbps), 4G LTE (3Gbps), 3G, 2G Integrated Snapdragon X60 5G modem, mmWave (7.5Gbps), sub-6GHz, 4G LTE (3Gbps), 3G, 2G
Phone Exynos 2100Galaxy S21Galaxy S21 PlusGalaxy S21 UltraSnapdragon 888
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