Want to know who wins when we pit the Google Tensor vs Snapdragon 888 series in a head-to-head processor showdown?
Google Tensor vs Snapdragon 888 Series: How the Pixel 6 Chip Fits
Google’s Pixel 6 series has just hit the market, and they’re the first phones to feature a custom SoC from Google called the Tensor. Catch apple? Are you really using the latest and greatest technology out there?
Google could have bought chipsets from its partner Qualcomm or even bought an Exynos model from its new friends at Samsung, but that wouldn’t have been that fun. Instead, the company worked with Samsung to develop its own chipset that uses a combination of shelf components and a little of its internal machine learning (ML) silicon.
The Tensor SoC looks a little different than other Android top-end chipsets available from 2021. Of course, we save benchmarks and any performance and battery ratings for our tests. But we already have a lot of information to dive into a paper-based comparison between the latest chipsets from Qualcomm (and Samsung too, since we’re at it). Let’s see how they compare in theory.
Google Tensor vs Snapdragon 888 series vs Exynos 2100
Although the next-generation SoCs from Qualcomm and Samsung is not far behind, the Google Tensor chip is said to compete with the current Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 series and Samsung Exynos 2100 flagship chipsets. So we’ll use them as a basis for our comparison.
Given the nature of their relationship, it’s not surprising that Google’s Tensor SoC relies heavily on Samsung’s technology in its latest Exynos processor. The modem is said to be borrowed from the Exynos 2100, for example. They share the same MaliG78 GPU, but with Google’s SoC with a 20-core version and the Exynos with 14-cores. The similarities are intended to extend to support for similar AV1 media decoding hardware.
We’ll have to see if the graphics performance is a few frames ahead or behind the graphics capabilities of the Snapdragon 888, but it should finish before the Pixel 6’s Exynos 2100. However, we anticipate that the chip’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) will provide even more competitive artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
Google’s 2 + 2 + 4 CPU configuration is a stranger design choice. It’s worth exploring a bit more, which we’ll get to later, but the highlight is that two powerful CortexX1 CPUs are supposed to give the Google Tensor SoC more growl. Single-threaded, but older CortexA76 cores can make the chip a weaker multitasker. It’s an interesting combination that goes back to Samsung’s unfortunate Mongoose CPU setups. However, there are unanswered questions about this design’s performance and thermal efficiency that Google has been trying to answer. beautiful.
On paper, the Google Tensor processor and Pixel 6 series seems very competitive with the Exynos 2100 and Snapdragon 888 series, which can be found in some of the best smartphones of 2021.
Understanding Google’s Tensor CPU Layout
Let’s get to the big question on every enthusiast’s lips: Why should Google choose the 2018 Arm CortexA76 CPU for a next-generation SoC? The answer lies in a compromise in terms of area, performance and heat.
We have unearthed a slide (shown below) from an earlier advertisement by Arm to help illustrate the key arguments. Okay, the scale in the table isn’t particularly accurate, but the bottom line is that the CortexA76 is smaller and less powerful than the newer CortexA77 and A78 given the same clock speed and manufacturing process (ISOComparison) 7nm, but Samsung has been working for some time with an arm on a 5nm CortexA76. If you want to pay, the CortexA77 is 17% larger than the A76 while the A78 is only 5% smaller than the A77. Consumption between A77 and A78 by 4, so the A76 remains the smallest and least powerful option.
The tradeoff is that the CortexA76 offers much lower peak performance. Comparing Arm’s numbers, the company saw a 20% microarchitecture gain between the A77 and A76 and another 7% in a similar process with the move to the A78. As a result, multithreaded tasks can be slower on the Pixel 6 than on its Snapdragon 888 competitors, although that depends a lot on the exact workload, of course. With two CortexX1 cores for heavy lifting, Google can be sure that their chip will deliver the right combination of maximum performance and efficiency.