This year’s flagship battle on the Android side has already begun. It is Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Dimensity 9200 tonight.
Once upon a time, this wasn’t even a conversation at all. I mean, the only name one could mention in the Android flagship space besides Qualcomm was Samsung. This is barely 2 years ago in 2018 here when MediaTek’s best SoC was most probably the Helio P70 and Qualcomm had Snapdragon 835.
Today MediaTek is comfortably turning up tables in the flagship segment. Such growth and recovery in barely 4 years. It’s beyond impressive.
So the Dimensity 9200 builds on the success of the Dimensity 9000 and 9000+. It is MediaTek’s flagship SoC for 2023 flagship phones. We do know that at some point next year, a Dimensity 9200+ would appear but that’ll be later.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on the other hand is Qualcomm’s attempt to not only move away from the 8 Gen 1’s disaster, but also to consolidate on the 8+ Gen 1’s mild success.
They have since reverted from Samsung’s 4nm to TSMC’s N4P process for this one and so far things are looking up. But what everyone wants to know is which SoC is better.
Before I go on, I would like to say that I do not work at Qualcomm or MediaTek, neither do I work at AnTuTu or Geekbench. All I have is the data at my finger tips and I can interprete them quite well. That is exactly what I plan to do.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Dimensity 9200
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2:
- 1 Cortex X2 (3.2GHz)
- 4 Cortex A715 (2.8GHz)
- 3 Cortex A510 (2.0GHz)
- 1 Cortex X3 (3GHz)
- 3 Cortex A715 (2.85GHz)
- 4 Cortex A510 (1.8GHz)
The SD8 Gen2 is an Octa (8) core SoCs with 1 Cortex X3 (3.2GHz) core, 4 Cortex A715 (2.8GHz) cores and 3 Cortex A510 (2GHz). This is an entirely new CPU core configuration.
The Dimensity 9200 is also an 8 core SoC with 1 Cortex X3 (3GHz) core, 4 Cortex A715 (2.85GHz) cores and 3 Cortex A510 (1.8GHz). This uses a more traditional 1+3+4 CPU configuration.
When you look at this closely, you’ll see that the SD8 Gen2 is faster and has one extra big (A715) core.
This is important to note because when phones have to do heavy work like playing games or editing videos, it’s the big cores that come out to work.
The extra core advantage should give the SD8 Gen2 an advantage in heavy tasks that requires multi core CPU action.
For the light tasks, you can see that the SD8 Gen2 only has 3 small (A510) cores. The Dimensity 9200 has 4. The Dimensity 9200 has the advantage here, but those 3 Cortex A510s on the SD8 Gen2 are faster. This should go some way in leveling the playing field.
It is also key to note that light tasks such as social media, calls and lite games do not really require that much CPU power. So the three cores there should do okay.
- SD 8 Gen 2: Adreno 740
- Dimensity 9200: Immortalis
The GPU is also another important area to look at. Both SoC look really close in terms of GPU performance this year and MediaTek has closed the gap.
In fact, from my research, the Immortalis GPU on the Dimensity 9200 actually beat the Adreno 740 in a GPU test.
There’s a GPU test known as the 1080p Manhattan off screen test. Here are the scores as reported by Digital Chat station and Notebook check:
- 1st – Immortalis (228FPS)
- 2nd – Adreno 740 (217FPS)
- 3rd – A16 GPU 5-core (195FPS)
Now I would treat these results with a bit of caution. This is because in 2020, the Mali G76 MC4 beat the Adreno 618 in every benchmark test as well as raw specs.
Now whilst this was absolutely true, I didn’t factor in the fact that optimization usually trumps raw GPU power a lot of the time.
The Adreno 618 supported and ran games slightly better than the Mali G76 MC4 despite the fact that the G76 MC4 was the better GPU. The simple reason was that game developers optimized games better for the Adreno 618.
So that should be something that one should keep an eye open for. Software (app and game) developers are very much on Qualcomm’s side at the moment.
So whilst the SD8 Gen2 leads tentatively in the CPU dept, the D9200 leads in the GPU dept. Tentatively as well.
Architecture and Fab process
Both SoCs are built using ARMv9 instruction set architecture on an enhanced 5nm process (N4P).
This is very important to note, as this means that they’ll probably heat and consume battery at the same rate (efficiency).
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- RAM: LPDDR5x
- Speed: 4200MHz
- Bus: 4x 16-bit
- Max size: 24GB
- RAM: LPDDR5x
- Speed: 8533MHz
- Bus: 4x 16-bit
- Max size: 24GB
The memory supported by the SoC is very important because that’s where the CPU cores store data that they’re working on. Temporarily of course.
A slow memory or RAM would seriously hamper an SoC’s performance in the long run. As we can all clearly see, when it comes to RAM, the Dimensity 9200 brought a Gatling gun to sword fight.
Both SoCs use the same RAM type (LPDDR5x) and bus type but that’s where it ends. The D9200’s RAM is two times faster than that of the SD8 Gen2’s RAM.
Now that we have looked at all the performance specs and have examined them closely, let’s see how they translate to benchmark performance.
Now Geekbench is a test that only checks for CPU performance both individually (single core) and in a group (multi core).
SD 8 Gen 2
- Single core: 1,467
- Multi core: 4,763
- Single core: 1,292
- Multi core: 4,956
The SD8 Gen2 is 14% better than the Dimensity 9200 probably due to the fact that it has bigger cores.
But surprisingly, overall, in the multicore test, the Dimensity 9200 sneaks into the lead by 5% which isn’t much.
But a lead is a lead regardless.
On AnTuTu that tests both CPUs, GPUs and RAM performance…
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2: 1,171,539
- Dimensity 9200: 1,264,779
The Dimensity 9200 uses everything in it’s arsenal to win this easily by almost 100,000 points. That’s quite a lead.
So overall, when it comes to performance, the D9200 is better but always remember that Software support from developers is also very important. It would not be a surprise if they choose to side with Qualcomm.
If they do, MediaTek’s win here would not matter as much.
Over to multimedia…
It is not a surprise that MediaTek traditionally have been all about performance and scarcely pays attention to the other aspects of the SoC. This year however, MediaTek has decided to turn that narrative on it’s head.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 brought support for up to a maximum 320MP camera resolution. This beats out the 200MP support offered by Qualcomm.
This however, is purely specs padding as there are no 320MP cameras yet. So both SoCs will compete with 200MP cameras for the time being.
They are tied for storage support at UFS 4.0
They also both support max video resolutions of 8K at 30fps, although the SD8 Gen2 can play 8K video back at 60fps. The Dimensity 9200 cannot do that.
The SD8 Gen2 also supports displays of up to 2160p or 4K while the Dimensity 9200 maxes out at 1440p or QHD 2K.
Lastly let’s looks at connectivity
The SD8 Gen2 uses its own in house Snapdragon X70 5G modem while the D9200 uses MediaTek’s Helio M80 5G Modem.
Both modems offer nearly identical specifications such as 4G, 5G, WiFi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3, but MediaTek has not been transparent with it’s upload and download speeds so I’ll give it to Snapdragon here.
So let’s roll this over again and summarize
- Performance goes to Dimensity but developer support should go to Snapdragon
- Multimedia goes to Snapdragon
- Connectivity also goes to Snapdragon
According to Android Authority, MediaTek’s CEO has promised that unlike the Dimensity 9000, the Dimensity 9200 will be available for more phones outside of China and Asia. So they’re striking deals with companies to put Dimensity 9200 on their phones.
That not withstanding, most OEMs should still be willing to give Qualcomm another try. If they bungle this one, then they’ll only have themselves to blame. MediaTek are waiting to pounce.
I suspect that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 vs Dimensity 9200 debate may continue to rage for a while as there’s clearly no straight winner.
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