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Tested: Everything you need to know about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
The Samsung Galaxy S24 series sports a new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy processor to provide blazing-fast performance for apps, games, and the phone’s new Galaxy AI features. Much like last year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy that powered the Galaxy S23 range, the new phones include an “optimized” version of Qualcomm’s latest processor — the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
Unfortunately, neither Qualcomm nor Samsung has detailed the low-level specifics of those optimizations. We checked the clock speeds on the Galaxy S24 Ultra and found that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy has a higher maximum clock at 3.4GHz, up from 3.3GHz, for its big Cortex-X4 core. We couldn’t detect any other changes, the Cortex-A720 clusters offer 2.96GHz and 3.15GHz peaks, while the two small Cortex-A520 cores reach 2.26GHz. We see those same metrics on the 8 Gen 3-powered ASUS ROG Phone 8 and OPPO Find X7 Ultra I have in hand.
In a nutshell, the “for Galaxy” branding offers 98MHz worth of extra single-core CPU power but doesn’t adjust the peak clocks of any other CPUs compared to the off-the-shelf Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. The Adreno 750 GPU can hit a 1GHz peak clock in the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but other phones don’t report this for us to compare. Either way, there doesn’t appear to be a huge difference.
Qualcomm’s literature notes a 20% boost to CPU, 26% faster graphics, and 42% greater NPU abilities compared to the previous generation 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy model. For a comparison point, Qualcomm estimates moving from a standard 8 Gen 2 to Gen 3 can hit up to 30% faster for the CPU and 25% for the GPU. Given the 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy was already sped up, it looks like the most significant gains this year will be found in the GPU department.
We ran the Galaxy S24 Ultra through our usual suite of benchmarks and found that those claims stack up quite well. The phone handily outperforms 2023’s Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra across all our tests.
However, Apple’s A17 Pro SoC inside the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max outscores the Galaxy S24 Ultra in GeekBench 6’s CPU test. However, the aforementioned clock speed uplift is enough to push Samsung’s flagship out ahead of regular 8 Gen 3 Android phones, such as the mightly ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro. PCMark also shows that Samsung’s optimizations pay dividends for common daily workloads.
On the graphics side, the Galaxy S24 Ultra sits right in the mix with other 8 Gen 3 phones, suggesting no noticeable boost in performance here. Unfortunately, Samsung’s revamped cooling system isn’t enough to see it maximize the 8 Gen 3’s graphics capabilities for long in our stress tests. The phone throttles back after just the first run, falling further and faster than rival Android flagships, and performance isn’t as steady as last year’s S23 Ultra in the more demanding tests. It’s also a little warmer than the competition, hitting around 42.5 °C in our stress tests, although that’s nowhere near as hot as the 55.1 °C peak we saw the ROG Phone 8 Pro hit in order to sustain peak performance in X-Mode. The 8 Gen 3 appears a little too hot to run at full tilt for long.
Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy scores small wins, but not enough to change the daily experience.
Traditional performance metrics aside, the NPU statistic is also important. The NPU is responsible for running the new on-device Galaxy AI features that make the Galaxy S24 series so intriguing. As we’ve discussed, running AI on-device is preferable to cloud computing where possible. It’s faster, more secure, and not dependent on your network connection, but you need the hardware chops to make it work. The 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy provides that extra muscle.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy is paired with other Qualcomm staples, such as its FastConnect 7800 connectivity suite that supports Wi-Fi 7 for blazing fast downloads and Bluetooth LE Audio. However, you’ll find these capabilities on other Android smartphones as well, including those powered by the regular 8 Gen 3.
Of course, not every Galaxy S24 customer will receive a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy processor onboard. Global versions of the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24 Plus come equipped with an Exynos 2400 for Galaxy. Samsung has divulged even fewer details about its new Exynos chip, let alone the implications of the “for Galaxy” suffix. I imagine it’s a marketing ploy to ensure its global devices don’t feel any less premium. Based on the benchmarks above, the Exynos 2400 for Galaxy is not quite as capable as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy, which gives global consumers something extra to think about if they’re craving maximum performance from their next smartphone.