Exynos 7904: Why it’s No Better than Snapdragon 636

by Joel 0

 

Over the past few years, Samsung has solidified its position as a chipset manufacturer with its ARM-based Exynos series chipsets. These processors take on the big players like Qualcomm and MediaTek, even in the mid-range market. Earlier this week, Samsung released its brand new Exynos 7 series 7904 processor. So, let’s take a closer look at where this processor stands among the competition.

exynos-9825

Before we move on to the actual specifications of the processor, first let’s agree that Samsung has a messed up processor nomenclature. You can’t really make out where each processor stands in the lineup just by looking at their names. Unfortunately, this is a trend among various semiconductor companies. Both Qualcomm (I have tried to explain their mid-range chipsets here) and Intel have been criticized for their naming scheme and I guess, we can’t do much about it at the moment.

One thing we know for sure is that the new Exynos chipset is tailored for the Indian market. According to recent information, the new Samsung Galaxy M20 will most likely carry this chipset. However, we don’t know whether we’ll see this chip outside of India. 

 

Exynos 7904 has a weaker CPU than the 7885

Coming back to the Exynos 7904, it should be seen inside mid-range smartphones from Samsung. It features 2 x ARM Cortex-A73 high-end cores clocked at 1.8GHz for heavy duty tasks and 6 x ARM Cortex-A53 power efficient cores clocked at 1.6GHz for basic activities. Seeing this specs sheet, we can say that the 7904 is not really built for power-hungry applications.

The A73 cores should be able to handle most moderate to high intensive tasks, but it will start to struggle if you try to multi-task. Even the Mali-G71MP2 GPU doesn’t instill confidence in its graphics processing capabilities. It might have a large core (similar to the 1.2GHz Mali-G71 MP1 on the Exynos 7885) but don’t expect it to handle heavy games like a Qualcomm SD660.

Samsung Exynos logo

Honestly, when you look at the specs, the Exynos 7904 naming doesn’t look very appropriate. This might be a personal opinion, but the new Exynos chipset feels like an extension of the Exynos 7885 rather than a brand new chip. Here’s why:

 

 

Exynos 7904 vs Exynos 7885

Features Exynos 7904 Exynos 7885
Node 14nm 14nm
CPU 2 X A73 @ 1.8GHz

6 x A53 @ 1.6GHz

2 x A73 @ 2.2GHz

6 x A53 @ 1.6Hz

GPU Mali-G71 MP2 Mali-G71 MP2
RAM / Storage   LPDDR4X / eMMC LPDDR4X / eMMC
Camera Rear – 32MP + Front – 32MP

Dual 16+16

Triple Cam Support

Rear – 21.7MP + Front – 21.7MP

Dual 16+16

Video 4K @ 30fps

FHD @ 120fps

4K @ 30fps

FHD @ 120fps

Modem Cat 12 (3xCA) / 13

600Mbps Download

150Mbps Upload

Cat 12 (3xCA) / 13

600Mbps Download

150Mbps Upload

 

There is one particular area where the Exynos 7904 is better than the 7885 — ISP. The new chip upgrades its ISP adding support for 32MP + 32MP (Front+Rear) or Dual 16MP + 16MP or triple cameras. Yes, the new chipset boasts of being capable enough to handle three cameras at the back. The third camera can reportedly function as a wide angle sensor or a bokeh sensor.

Now that we’ve established the Exynos 7904 is better than the 7885 only in some aspects, let’s take a look at where it stands among its competition.

 

 

Exynos 7904 vs Snapdragon 636 vs Snapdragon 632

At present, the Snapdragon 636 is considered as the standard mid-range offering from Qualcomm. The SD630/632 are lower mid-range offerings while the SD670/710 are for upper mid-rangers.

Considering its specs, the Exynos 7904 would be better placed between the Snapdragon 636 and the Snapdragon 632. Snapdragon 636 is more powerful with its 4 x  Cortex A73 Kryo cores. Even the Adreno 509 GPU and support for UFS storage gives it an edge over the new Exynos chip. 

 

Snapdragon 636 Exynos 7904 Snapdragon 632
14nm 14nm 14nm
4 x Kryo 260G (A73) @ 1.8GHz

4 x Kryo 260S (A53) @ 1.8GHz

2 X A73 @ 1.8GHz

6 x A53 @ 1.6GHz

4 x Kryo 250G (A73) @ 1.8GHz

4 x Kryo 250S (A53) @ 1.8GHz

Adreno 509 Mali-G71 MP2 Adreno 506
LPDDR4X / UFS LPDDR4X / eMMC LPDDR3 / eMMC
24MP Single

Dual 16+16MP

Rear – 32MP + Front – 32MP

Dual 16+16MP

Triple Cam Support

24MP Single

Dual 13+13MP

4K @ 30fps

FHD @ 120fps

4K @ 30fps

FHD @ 120fps

4K @ 30fps

FHD @ 120fps

X12 LTE

Cat 12 (3xCA) / 13

600Mbps Download

150Mbps Upload

Cat 12 (3xCA) / 13

600Mbps Download

150Mbps Upload

X9 LTE

Cat 7 (3xCA) / 13

300Mbps Download

150Mbps Upload

When compared to the SD632, the Exynos 7904 should be close to its performance. But even here, the Qualcomm chip should have an edge. The SD632 has four performance cores while the Exynos chip has just two.  However, overall, when you look at CPU and GPU together, the Exynos 7904 should go head to head with this Qualcomm chip on paper. But there are a few areas where the Exynos model is clearly better. For example, the chip supports LPDDR4X and Cat 12 / 13 (downloads/uploads). Even the ISP is better than the SD632. So, the Exynos 7904 should ideally be placed between the SD636 and SD632.

 

exynos-7904-processor-featured

Latest rumors suggest that the Galaxy M20, which is expected to feature the Exynos 7904 will be sold somewhere around $180. At this price, the new chip would offer pretty good value to customers.

But in general comparison, it’s still a lower mid-range processor. In terms of performance, both the Snapdragon 636 and Snapdragon 660 should do much better than the new Exynos model.