In this article, we’ll be looking at Exynos 990 vs Snapdragon 865, two flagship SoCs of a bygone era

The Flagship market has been hotly contested for a long time now since the dawn of the smartphone era and Samsung has always been up there with the heavyweights. Samsung has been spitting out flagship after flagship year after year with their S and (now discontinued) Note series the favourite of many smartphone users.

Samsung has a tradition of producing two variants of their flagships with one powered by their own in house Exynos SoC and the other by a Snapdragon Flagship. The company prices both phones equally and this has led to users who perceive the Exynos variant to be inferior to feel shortchanged.

This is not just a Samsung issue. It is generally believed that other flagships from other companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, One Plus, Meizu etc. are all superior to the Exynos variant of the Samsung flagship.

So we are going to compare Exynos 990 vs Snapdragon 865 to see if the SD 865 is truly better. This is flagship grade so expect to see some mad specs here.

Exynos 990 vs Snapdragon 865

Exynos 990 vs Snapdragon 865

Read: Exynos Mongoose Custom Cores

Microarchitecture (CPU cores)

The Exynos 990 is an octacore SoC with a Dynamiq arrangement of 2+2+4. There are 2 M5 Lion cores clocked at 2.73GHz, 2 A76 cores clocked at 2.5GHz and 4 A55 cores with a speed of 2.0GHz.

The SD865 is also an octacore with a Dynamiq arrangement of 1+3+4. The SD865 has 1 Kryo 585 Prime (A77) core running at 2.84GHz, 3 Kryo 585 Gold (A77) cores clocked at 2.4GHz and 4 Kryo 585 Silver (A55) cores clocked at 1.8GHz.

For heavy tasks, the SD865 with its faster Kryo 585 custom Prime and Gold cores will leave the Exynos 990 behind. For lighter tasks though, the Exynos could do slightly better at lighter tasks.

*First point goes to SD865.

Instruction Set Architecture (ISA)

They are both on ARMv8.2-A

*so this is a tie.


They are both built on a 7nm process

*This is also a tie, but the SD865 could be said to be marginally cooler and more efficient.


The Exynos 990 ships with ARM’s Mali G77 MP11 while the SD865 comes with Adreno 650. This is a no contest. The Adreno 650 is better than the Mali G77 and the fact that Qualcomm encourages developers and modders to create software exclusively for their hardware gives them a very unfair advantage.



Both SoCs also ship with LPDDR5 RAMs but Exynos 990’s RAM module is clocked at 5.5GHz which is blazing fast when compared the SD865 whose RAM is clocked at 2750MHz.

*Points goes to Exynos 990.


The Exynos 990 supports UFS 3.0 which is very impressive but the SD865 supports UFS 3.1 which is better.

*Point to SD865.

Maximum display resolution

The Exynos 990 supports a better maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160p when compared to the 3840 x 2160p that the SD865 supports.


Exynos 990 uses an unnamed Exynos ISP while the SD865 comes with the flagship grade Spectra 480.

The Exynos 990 supports a maximum camera resolution of 108MP while the SD865 supports resolutions of up 200MP (which is crazy). The Exynos 990 can record 8K video at 30fps and 4K video at 120fps. The SD865 can match it by recording 8K video at 30fps but can only record 4K video at 60fps. Both SoCs play back 8K video at 30fps.

*This seems to be a tie for me but I would to hear your opinions in the comments.

Modems and connectivity

The Exynos 990 has onboard an Exynos 5123 modem which has uplink speeds of 422Mbps and downlink speeds of 3000Mbps. The SD865 uses Qualcomm’s X55 modem with uplink speeds of 316Mbps and downlink speeds of 2000Mbps.
Both SoCs have WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

*Point goes to Exynos 990.


On GeekBench, the Exynos 990 has scores of 939 (single core) and 2774 (multi core). The SD865 stays ahead with scores of 944 (single core) and 3502 (multi core).
When GPU scores are thrown into the mix on Antutu, the gap between both SoCS is widened further to 598159 (SD865) and 531671 (Exynos 990).

*SD865 is the clear winner in terms of performance.


Both SoCs were released last year with the SD865 being announced in December and the Exynos 990 showing up two months earlier in October.

Final say

It was close and Exynos 990 sure gave SD865 a run for its money but at the end, users do have a right to feel aggrieved as SD865 is the better CPU especially in terms of performance.

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