Qualcomm recently announced the Snapdragon 855 Plus as the upgraded version of SD 855 with some overclocking and higher frequency. Meanwhile, Kirin 980 was announced at the end of 2018 and Exynos 9820 just after it. All three are high-performance SoCs. Snapdragon 855 Plus has not featured in any smartphone at the moment. Meanwhile, Kirin 980 has been used in Mate 20, P30/Pro, and so on. Exynos 9820 has been featured inside Samsung Galaxy S10/S10 Plus. Let’s compare all three SoCs in this Snapdragon 855 Plus vs Kirin 980 vs Exynos 9820 comparison.
Snapdragon 855 Plus inherits the same octa-core (1+3+4) layout and 7nm process from the Snapdragon 855. It has a large core Kryo 485 Gold (A76) @2.96GHz, three medium-core Kryo 485 Gold (A76) @2.42GHz, and four small-core Kryo 485 Silver (A55) @1.80GHz. As you can see, Snapdragon 855+ large core speeds up to 2.96 GHz (4% overclock), while the small core and the medium core remain unchanged.
Meanwhile, Huawei Kirin 980, at the time of release, was way ahead of SD 845 and other SoCs in 2018. It was the first SoC to use a 7nm process manufacturing. Even Samsung Exynos 9820 which released latter had an 8nm process. Kirin 980 uses octa-core design (2+2+4). Getting in details, it as 2 high cores Cortex-A76 at 2.6GHz, 2 medium cores Cortex-A76 at 1.92GHz and 4 low cores Cortex-A55 at 1.8GHz. Even though the process is the same and Kirin 980 has two high cores instead of one, still Snapdragon 855 Plus is ahead because of higher frequency of one higher and three middle cores. More the CPU isn’t customized like SD 855 and Exynos 9820 leaving it to the default configuration.
That leaves us to Samsung Exynos 9820 which is a higher process of 8nm (lower the better) and octa-core design (2+2+4). It’s is based on the 4th generation’s custom CPUs. This includes an innovative tri-cluster architecture delivers a premium processing power. The CPU consists of two custom cores for ultimate processing power, two Cortex-A75 cores for optimal performance, and four Cortex-A55 cores for greater efficiency. Even if Exynos 9820 has a custom CPU, Kirin 980 takes the benefit of a better 7nm process and ranks higher than it in CPU performance.
CPU Performance: SD 855 Plus > Kirin 980 > Exynos 9820
The new Qualcomm Adreno 640 GPU present in the Snapdragon 855 Plus is the highlight of this SoC. Though the CPU was only 4% overclocked compared to SD 855, the GPU frequency has increased from 585MHz to 672MHz, overclocking it to15%.
Equipped with Mali-G76 MP12 GPU, the Exynos 9820 delivers one of the ultimate gaming experience. The GPU features wider execution engines with double the number of lanes, resulting in better performance and efficiency for graphics. Of course, this version is above the Mali-G76 MP10 GPU includes in the Kirin 980, although it has improved performance by 46% compared to previous generations. Better frequency and process is the reason. So previously, when we compared SD 855 with these two, SD 855 was the winner, and with the Plus version around things just got better for Qualcomm.
GPU Performance: SD 855 > Exynos 9820 > Kirin 980
The three new processors are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Samsung and Qualcomm are taking advantage of network connectivity with the 2Gbps LTE chips for better connectivity than the Kirin 980 which has 1.4Gbps connection speed. The Snapdragon 855 Plus supports 4G Gigabit connectivity through an integrated Opteron X24 LTE modem. This can be compared to the Exynos 9820 which integrated modem supports LTE Category 20 to offer downlink great speed with 8x carrier aggregation (CA). But the Kirin 980, the first to support LTE Cat.21, has a low connection speed.
Multimedia support is also prominent in the new generation of chips, being compatible with HDR and content up to 8K resolution but those are included only in the Exynos 9820 and Snapdragon 855. The Kirin 980 is again sidelined with video capture and playback only in 4K. The Snapdragon 855 is also compatible with H.265 and VP9 for better performance.
Also, the only compatible with the 5G network connection is the Snapdragon 855 Plus but there is no out-of-the-box 5G chip on the market yet, a feature which is the most expected in the 2019 smartphone model. However, the new connectivity technology can still be supported through external modems.
The Kirin 980 has the fourth-generation ISP and utilizes a multi-pass noise reduction to capture quality images and preserve important details. This ISP also has a dedicated video pipeline to effectively improve video clarity and reduce shooting delays by 33%. The Exynos 9820’s advanced ISP supports up to five sensors, including an IR sensor, to enable flexible multi-camera solutions. For the last, but not less important, the new Qualcomm Spectra 380 ISP integrates a large number of hardware-accelerated computer vision (CV) capabilities, enabling the world’s first CV-ISP to support state-of-the-art computational photography and video capture.
In this comparison of the Snapdragon 855 Plus vs Kirin 980 vs Exynos 9820, the Snapdragon 855 Plus is the winner. When we compared these two SoCs with SD 855, it was a close call, however, the SD 855 Plus takes advantage of the increased high core frequency of the CPU as well as the improved 672MHz Adreno 640. The SoC which was already better than these just becomes the best with these two improvements. However, the price of this SoC will truly define its value. Since only the frequency has been increased this time, it will have a slightly high price than SD 855, unless Qualcomm and smartphone manufacturer such as Samsung gets greedy. 😉
For Kirin 980 and Exynos 9820, we believe it’s a tie between them because Kirin 980 has better CPU performance and process, meanwhile, Exynos 9820 has better GPU performance and other specs.
We will add the Antutu benchmark performance of SD 855 Plus once a phone featuring it releases. Previously, in a comparison of AnTuTu benchmark score, the Snapdragon 855 was the winner with a score of 343051, followed by Exynos 9820 (325067) and Kirin 980 (309425), respectively. We expect a score around 370,000+ points for SD 855 Plus with the current improvements.
Hope you liked our SoC comparison. Any questions? Let us know in the comments!