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Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200 vs Dimensity 9000: Next-gen SoC showdown

The 2022 flagship SoC landscape is shaping up to be more diverse than ever.
By
January 18, 2022
Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200 logos
Qualcomm
Samsung

With Samsung finally lifting the lid on the Exynos 2200, we now have a complete picture of how next-gen mobile processors stack up against one another. Samsung’s flagship chipset joins Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Mediatek’s Dimensity 9000 as the premium-tier chipsets that will power high-profile smartphone releases throughout 2022.

Unfortunately, Samsung has only released partial specifications for the Exynos 2200 for now. More information will no doubt become available as we approach the launch of its Galaxy S22 flagship series and we’ll be updating this article as we learn more. For now, let’s look at an on-paper Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200 vs Dimensity 9000 comparison.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200 vs Dimensity 9000 specs

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1Samsung Exynos 2200Mediatek Dimensity 9000
CPU
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
1x Cortex-X2 @ 3GHz
3x Cortex-A710 @ 2.5GHz
4x Cortex-A510 @ 1.8GHz
Samsung Exynos 2200
1x Cortex-X2
3x Cortex-A710
4x Cortex-A510
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
1x Cortex-X2 @ 3.05GHz
3x Cortex-A710 @ 2.85GHz
4x Cortex-A510 @ 1.8GHz
GPU
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Adreno
Samsung Exynos 2200
Xclipse 920
AMD RDNA2 cores
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
Arm Mali-G710 MC10
Display
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
144Hz at QHD+
60Hz at 4K
Samsung Exynos 2200
144Hz at QHD+
120Hz at 4K
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
180Hz at FHD+
Machine learning
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Hexagon
Samsung Exynos 2200
Dual-core NPU + DSP
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
APU 5.0
six cores
Modem
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
10Gbps download (mmWave)
Sub-6GHz speed unknown

3GPP Release 16 5G
Samsung Exynos 2200
7.35Gbps download
(mmWave)
5.1Gbps download
(sub-6GHz)

3GPP Release 16 5G
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
7Gbps download (sub6GHz)

3GPP Release 16 5G
Camera
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
200MP single
64MP+36MP dual
36MP+36MP+36MP triple
8K/30fps HDR recording
Samsung Exynos 2200
200MP single
64MP+36MP dual
8K/30fps, 4K/120fps, 4K HDR recording
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
320MP single
32MP+32MP+32MP triple
8K/24fps recording
4K HDR Video
Video playback
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
8K
H.264, H.265, VP9 decode
Samsung Exynos 2200
8K
AV1, H.264, H.265, VP9 decode
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
8K
AV1, H.264, H.265, VP9 decode
RAM
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
LPDDR5
Samsung Exynos 2200
LPDDR5
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
LPDDR5X
Connectivity
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6E
Samsung Exynos 2200

Mediatek Dimensity 9000
Bluetooth 5.3
Wi-Fi 6E
Process
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
4nm Samsung
Samsung Exynos 2200
4nm Samsung
Mediatek Dimensity 9000
4nm TSMC

The spec table above gives us a good overview of the core feature differences between the three chipsets. But let’s dive into a few more of the specifics.

Next-gen CPU and GPU performance

As you’ve probably stopped, all three of the next-gen mobile processors heading our way features Arm’s latest off-the-shelf CPU cores based on the Armv9 architecture. Specifically, these are the powerhouse Arm Cortex-X2, mid-tier Cortex-A710, and power-efficient Cortex-A510. The exception from recent chipset announcements is the Google Tensor, which uses the previous-gen Cortex-X1, A78, and A55 cores based on the Armv8 architecture in a more experimental 2+2+4 configuration.

Read more: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Google Tensor

Given the latest Snapdragon, Exynos, and Dimensity all use the same CPU cores and 1+3+4 layout, we’re expecting a similar level of performance. We may see a couple of benchmark percentage points between them due to clock speed and cache differences, particularly as Mediatek uses the superior TSMC 4nm manufacturing process rather than Samsung 4nm. But the core experiences will likely feel almost identical between all three — barring any glaring overheating or throttling issues, of course. It is also worth noting that Mediatek supports slightly faster LPDDR5X RAM than its competitors, although it will be down to partner devices to make use of this little extra potential.

Far more meaningful differences are to be found in the graphics department. Mediatek’s Dimensity 9000 is the most well-known quantity, opting for an Arm Mali-G710 MC10 GPU that promises a 35% performance boost over last gen’s Snapdragon 888. We know less than ever about Qualcomm’s latest Adreno GPU as the company has dropped the numbering from its naming convention. All we know is that it boasts 30% faster rendering than its previous generation, which should make it a close-run contest between these two.

GPU features and capabilities are set to diverge more than ever this generation, with Samsung introducing hardware-backed ray tracing.

Samsung’s Exynos 2200 potentially offers the most radical change to mobile graphics in generations. The Xclipse 920 GPU sports the same AMD RDNA2 architecture powering the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles and high-end PC graphics cards. In a major first for mobile, hardware-based ray tracing also finds its way into the Exynos 2200 GPU, which will certainly be more potent than Mediatek’s software support. However, we’d need games to leverage this technology too.

Read more: Everything you need to know about smartphone chipsets

However, we still have no indication about the performance or power consumption that RDNA2 offers in a low-power mobile form factor. The core count and clock speeds are notably paired down compared to console equivalents and we should keep performance expectations in check as a result. If you’ve been following the rumor mill, the Xclipse 920 is struggling with thermal performance at its intended 1.9GHz clock speed, forcing Samsung to lower it to 1.29GHz. If true, this will limit its performance and could see the chipset land further down the benchmark rankings than initially hoped.

While we should take rumors with a big pinch of salt, this may explain why Samsung canceled its original launch event without notice and has been very quiet on the performance front.

Features for flagship phones

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 close up
Qualcomm

While a gaming revolution would be exhilarating, the core smartphone experience is equally dependant on imaging, machine learning, and networking smarts. The Exynos 2200, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and Dimensity 9000 are all very robust in these areas too.

For starters, all three boast competitive camera packages. The chips all sport very high-resolution image sensors, simultaneous dual- and triple-camera support, and 8K video recording. However, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is the only one to offer 8K HDR recording and routes an impressive 240 shot burst mode, but it remains a hold-out against AV1 decoder support for video playback.

All three companies also tout enhanced image processing capabilities, tying their AI capabilities closer to the imaging pipeline than ever before. Mediatek notes that this will enable video bokeh and improved noise reduction, while Qualcomm bigs up its burst-mode HDR and night shooting capabilities. While there are key differences in chipset capabilities, the camera components and software features that smartphone manufacturers pick for their products are likely to be the more significant differentiators.

AI and imaging remain key focuses for all next-gen SoCs.

Speaking of AI performance, all three make some big claims this generation too. Qualcomm has doubled the tensor performance inside its Hexagon DSP, which will produce a significant boost for some workloads. Samsung touts a similar 2x gain in machine learning performance over its previous generation chip. Still, Mediatek’s Dimensity 9000 is the boldest of the bunch with a 4x performance and 4x energy efficiency boost over its last-generation chip.

Where this leaves all these chips in the grand scheme of things is anyone’s guess, as so much machine learning performance is task dependant. But the key takeaway is that all of these chipsets are looking to be on the bleeding edge of mobile AI performance.

Explained: The difference between machine learning and artificial intelligence

One more often overlooked feature that may yield some more unique new use cases this generation is security. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 boasts an all-new Trust Management Engine compliant with Android Ready SE. Similarly, the Exynos 2200 comes with an Integrated Secure Element able to verify Root of Trust and verify data held in secure domains. More secure platforms could soon double up as your car keys, driver’s license, and other forms of identification.

Next-generation connectivity, for some

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE front panel on rocks
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Similarly, you’ll find familiar 5G specifications amongst all three of these chipsets. 3GPP Release 16 5G compliance is now the norm, as are download speeds in excess of 7Gbps. Qualcomm and Samsung both claim they can hit 10Gbps downloads, but this requires more specific data aggregation scenarios to achieve. For instance, Samsung does this while leveraging a simultaneous 4G and 5G connection, a situation that won’t exist once networks transition to 5G standalone in the future.

Mediatek is still missing a 5G mmWave capabile flagship chip, for now.

Perhaps the most crucial difference between these chips is that Mediatek is the only one not to offer 5G mmWave support, limiting the chipset’s appeal in the US and some other markets.

We don’t yet know what the Exynos 2200 supports in terms of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But given the last-gen specs, we can expect Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 at a minimum, which is everything you’ll need for a high-end wireless experience at the moment anyway. Both Mediatek and Qualcomm support Wi-Fi 6E while the former also offers Bluetooth 5.3 support.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200 vs Dimensity 9000: The early verdict

The 2022 flagship SoC landscape is shaping up to be more diverse than ever, particularly when it comes to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200 in the upcoming Galaxy S22 series. There’s plenty to be excited about with cutting-edge graphics developments in the Exynos 2200, a highly competitive offering from Mediatek, and Snapdragon doubling down on imaging. However, rumblings from the rumor mill suggest that there may be a few performance and battery-life caveats to go along with all this new technology. We’ll have to wait and see.

The proof of all this potential will be found in how smartphone manufacturers leverage these capabilities for their devices. We’ll be checking back in on all these chipsets once consumer smartphones launch in the first months of 2022.