Yesterday, Qualcomm announced three new SoCs. Among them, the new Snapdragon 460 turns out to be a game-changer for the budget-friendly smartphones. It has the same GPU as SD 665 and the CPU performance is almost 70% more than the previous generation which is Snapdragon 450. It’s for the first time that we are seeing such a drastic improvement apart from Qualcomm’s 30% to 50% improvement between to generations. Previously, we did a comparison of Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 625. Let’s see how the new low-end SoC performs against the upper mid-end SoC of 2017 which is Snapdragon 660 in this Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 comparison:
Snapdragon 460 is the first low-end SoC released from Qualcomm this year (January 20). Since this is an era of AI, thus we see AI engine hitting the low-end category as well with the release of SD 460 along with WiFi 6, dual-frequency GNSS, and single-camera support up to 48MP. Such features are seen the first time in the SD 4-series.
Meanwhile, Snapdragon 660 is relatively an old SoC released on May 8, 2017. Back then, the integrated X12 LTE modem and use of QC 4.0 were the highlights with the introduction to NPE (Neural Processing Engine) as well. The SD was relatively known for its super clocked upper and lower cores, Spectra 160 ISP and the much improved Adreno 512 which was 30% better than Adreno 509.
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – Process Comparison
Snapdragon 460 because of its recent release features a much better Samsung 11nm process. We already know that budget-friendly smartphones featuring low-end SoCs have incredible battery life. However, with the much advance process in comparison to its previous generation (SD 450 was based on 14nm LPP process), the battery saving has been increased with 2x the overall performance. Qualcomm hasn’t made clear whether it’s LPP or FinFET. Judging their other SoCs based on 11nm process (SD 665 and 675), it might be LPP or a simple 11nm just like SD 662.
Snapdragon 660 because of releasing in mid-2017, almost 3 years back, is based on the 14nm LPP process similar to SD 625, SD 630, and SD 636.
Winner: Snapdragon 460
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – CPU Comparison
Previous SoCs from Snapdragon 4-series featured default ARM CPU configuration. However, that’s not the case with Snapdragon 460 as it proudly boasts about the customized Kryo 240 CPU configuration which is a game-changer. It’s an octa-core configuration but this time instead of all low-end cores we have a dual-cluster arrangement (4 + 4). SD 460 has four Cortex-A73 cores running @1.8GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores with an unknown frequency. Thanks to the introduction of Cortex-A73 which might be an old core but still much better than A53 core and the use of 11nm process, we witness an improvement of 70% increase in performance over the previous Snapdragon 450. We should also note that it’s also the first in the 4xx-series to support LPDDR3 up to 933 MHz and LPDDR4X up to 1866 MHz
Cortex A73 might be an old core and considered mid-end core if we were back in 2018 but after the arrival of Cortex A76 and A77, the performance can be considered as low-end in 2020 but still much better than those Cortex A53 SoCs. Yes, I mean the SD 625, 626, 630 and all the previous SoCs from 4xx-series.
On the other hand, Snapdragon 660 has almost the same octa-core design with the Kryo 260 CPU (4+4) design. SD 660 is known for its super clocked four customized Cortex-A73/Kryo 260 Gold cores running at a freaking @2.2GHz and four customized Cortex-A53/Kryo 260 Silver cores running @1.83GHz. Like said previously, at that time, this was considered mid-end performance with the 14nm LPP process.
So, which one to select (Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660) when it comes to CPU performance? It is Snapdragon 660. As you can see that even the frequency of the lower cores in SD 660 is higher than the frequency of upper cores in SD 460. Plus, Qualcomm states that the performance of the Kyro 260 (WITH THE STANDARD CLOCK SPEED) is almost 30% better than the previous Kyro 240. So with the core speed reaching 2.2GHz, we can expect the performance to be around 50% to 60% more than SD 460. However, we are not considering the process here. If we do consider it, then we might have a close call, but still Snapdragon 660 as the winner. It’s like SD 660 will have a much higher raw performance at the start but will decrease as heat dissipation increases over time.
It’s not about which one has higher frequency when you have a Process difference. Even SD 665 has lower frequency than SD660 but has higher CPU performance thanks to the 11nm LPP process.
Winner: Snapdragon 660
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – GPU Comparison
Moving to the GPU section, a much greater improvement is seen because Snapdragon 460 features Adreno 610 the same as from Snapdragon 665. Remember similar to the Cortex A73 use in CPU, the Adreno 610 is from 6xx series of Adreno GPU which is used in mid-end SoCs (6xx-series). However, this is the first time that we witness a GPU used in the 4xx series from the 6xx series. This enables the low-end smartphone users to enjoy the same gaming experience as they do on the Snapdragon 665 and other mid-end phones. The GPU performance is 60% better than the 2 years old SD 450 which used a much older Adreno 506 running at 600 MHz.
Snapdragon 660 uses Adreno 512. It’s the most powerful GPU in the Adreno 5xx series. Compared to SD 460’s Adreno 610, the GPU performance of SD 460 is around 30% better than Adreno 512. Another fact is that SD 665 also uses Adreno 610 and is the upgraded version of SD 660.
Winner: Snapdragon 460
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – AnTuTu Comparison
Snapdragon 660 has an AnTuTu v7 score of around 140,000 points on Xiaomi Mi Note 3. It’s ahead of SD 636 but not SD 665 and SD 670.
Meanwhile, the AnTuTu score of Snapdragon 460 has not been released. We expect it to be around 140,000 to 165,000 points because of the Cortex A73 core, Adreno 610, and 11nm process which has a great resemblance to SD 665 which has an AnTuTu score of 170,000+ points.
Winner: Snapdragon 460
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – AI Comparison
For the first time, Qualcomm introduces AI smart learning to the low-end category. Snapdragon 460 runs on AI Engine 3.0 of Qualcomm along with the Hexagon 683 as the DSP. It’s not as powerful as from SD 7 series but at least AI is enabled on such low-cost devices from now on. This means that we can see AI battery optimization, AI camera shot, and AI smart management on devices around $100 to $150.
Snapdragon 660 has Hexagon 680 as the DSP which is the same as SD 636. Thanks to the Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX), designed to support Caffe2 and Tensorflow for machine learning and image processing, it was one of the first steps in NPE (neural processing engine). Still, we don’t see any sign of AI capabilities in it. Its successor (SD 665) was the first AI-powered SoC in the 6xx series.
Winner: Snapdragon 460
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – Connectivity Comparison
2020 is the year when 5G will start commercializing. However, sadly, we don’t have that much 5G supported phones in the market. Leave the low-end and mid-end smartphones for now, because we don’t even have enough 5G phones in the upper mid-end and high-end category. If there are some then they are much expensive than the 4G variants. Thus, for a low-end SoC releasing at the start of 2020, we don’t witness 5G network support in Snapdragon 460. It’s fine because 5G isn’t widespread till now and the low-end phones don’t even need one in 2020 because of their price difference. So, we have an X11 LTE modem in SD 460 with download up to 390 Mbit/s and upload up to 150 Mbit/s. For a low-end X11 LTE modem is fine given the fact that SD 450 had its previous generation which was X9 LTE. Though, I would have appreciated X12 LTE modem which has double the download speed (600 Mbit/s). Moreover, though the modem isn’t that much of the highlight, other connectivity features are which includes the use of first-ever WiFi 6 standard support, FastConnect 6100, NAVIC, and dual-frequency GNSS for better GPS position.
Snapdragon 660 uses the X12 LTE modem with download up to 600 Mbit/s and upload up to 150 Mbit/s. As we can see that even the 3 years old SoC has better downloading speed on 4G networks than the newly released SD 460. Though SD 660 has a better modem we can consider it a tie considering other features that the SD 460 has.
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – Camera/ISP Comparison
Talking about the ISP, SD 660 has Spectra 160 along with Dual ISPs supporting dual camera up to 16MP and a single camera up to 48MP, as well 25MP. This is the only difference between SD 636 and SD 660 which have the same ISP. Meanwhile, SD 460 has Spectra 340 which is one of the latest ISPs before Spectra 380 and 480. It’s even better than most ISPs from 6xx-series and even 7xx-series. Why? Because it has single camera support up to 48MP and dual camera support up to 16MP. Though the pixel count is similar to SD660’s Spectra 160 but it has better low-light capturing speed and better results.
Winner: Snapdragon 460
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – Price Comparison
Since Snapdragon 460 is a low-end SoC it will be featured inside upcoming phones such as Redmi 9, Realme C3 and so on. So, the phone bearing this SoC will be priced around $100 to $150 and even $200 depending on the brand and other features of the phone. The news hints that the SoC will be available in late 2020. But I believe that we might see at least one phone featuring it in mid-2020.
Meanwhile, Snapdragon 660 at the time of its use in Redmi Note 5 Pro and other phones were priced around $160 to $230. However, we won’t see any new releases with SD 660 because it’s around 2 to 3 years old. The phones featuring SD 660 might be available as used pricing all below $100. Since SD 660 is not available these days, we should consider this a tie as there’s nothing to compare.
Ending this Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 SoCs comparison, to be honest, the 3-year gap between both these SoCs marks the pace of progress moving from 14nm to 11nm, Adreno 512 to Adreno 610 in the low-end category. Snapdragon 460 is the winner here because of a much better process, better GPU performance, AI-enabled, better DSP and ISP, and advanced connectivity features such as WiFi 6. The performance difference isn’t that much because of the higher cores frequency of SD 660. Though, if we do not consider the process, the CPU section (Kyro 260) of SD 660 is much better (around 50%) than Kyro 240 of SD 460. However, to consider the performance we have to combine the process, the CPU, the GPU, and the DSP as well.
Qualcomm smartly utilizes old but mid-end GPU and Cortex A73 CPU from the 6 series and merges them with the 11nm process and AI engine for the best low-end SoC to date.
Snapdragon 460 vs Snapdragon 660 – Higher Frequency Doesn’t Mean Better Performance
Snapdragon 460 is the winner here because of a much better process, better GPU performance, AI-enabled, better DSP and ISP, and advanced connectivity features such as WiFi 6. The performance difference isn't that much because of the higher cores frequency of SD 660. Though, if we do not consider the process, the CPU section (Kyro 260) of SD 660 is much better (around 50%) than Kyro 240 of SD 460. However, to consider the performance we have to combine the process, the CPU, the GPU, and the DSP as well.
Reader Rating2 Votes
SD 460 Over SD 660
Better GPU (Adreno 610)
WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, FastConnect 6100, NAVIC, dual-frequency GNSS