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Apple A9 vs. Qualcomm Snapdragon 820: Two Top SoC Chips Compared

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Apple and Qualcomm are the two most renowned companies when it comes to chip production.

The Cupertino-based iPhone maker has been on top of its game since 2010, coming in with some of the best Ax processors such as the A8s and A9s used on today’s iPhones and iPads. On the other hand, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets dominate the Android world.

The latest of Apple’s productions is the A9 and with this chip, this company made huge strides to leave behind Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810. It is the chip you will find in the latest iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, but it seems Qualcomm is ready to take on Apple with its new Snapdragon 820 chipset that is expected to power the upcoming Android phones.

While the battle between Qualcomm and Apple is heating, Samsung seems to be also taking things serious as it recently announced a new SoC in the shape of Exynos 8890. This chip will be installed in the company’s 2016 Galaxy models though this will have to wait for confirmation from the company. Samsung has in the past rolled out Galaxy versions with an Exynos chip and the same model with a Snapdragon chipset, but the two are usually availed in different markets.

As of now, it is might be a little tricky to put the Snapdragon 820 head to head with the A9 for obvious reasons (the former is not yet available on any device). Qualcomm, however, said that the first phone to rock this new chip will be unveiled in early 2016. Nonetheless, here are some notable details about these two chipsets.

Speed

The move towards embracing the 64-bit architecture in mobile phones began in the iPhone 5S back in 2013. Qualcomm saw the good in this platform, and when it released the previous Snapdragon 810, it scrapped its custom cores for ARM-based off-the-shelf cores. Due to Qualcomm’s less familiarity with this territory, the 810 has had lots of criticism thanks to the less optimization it received.

This time round, Qualcomm will go for its own Kryo – a custom 64-bit solution for the company that will carry a quad-core design boasting a speed of 2.2GHz. According to the chip maker, this chip will be twice faster than the previous one in addition to being 30% more energy efficient. The 810 was plagued with overheating issues thanks to its 20nm node that was used but this time round, Qualcomm has gone for a more efficient 14nm node built by Samsung in a bid to curb the overheating issue.

As far as the A9 is concerned, this chip is a dual-core based on the ARMv8 architecture. The chip is clocked at a speed of 1.85GHz and according to the iPhone maker; this chip is 70% faster than its predecessor. Samsung and Taiwan’s TSMC were at the center of the A9’s production where the former handled the chip at the 14nm process while the latter took care of the 16nm process.

Graphics

Most of thetoday’s smartphones come with 4K capabilities. The Snapdragon 810 came in with abilities to capture as well as streaming 4K videos. The new Snapdragon 820 will be equipped with the latest Adreno 530 GPU,which the company claims will achieve graphical performance that is 40% more than the previous Adreno 430 as well as use 40% less power.

On the other hand, the A9 features a six-core PowerVR GT7600 graphics unit that the company claims to be 90% faster than the iPhone 6. Benchmark tests performed on this device show that it has 25% faster graphics performance when compared to other latest devices such as Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.

The A9 also brings the ability to capture 4K videos to users of iPhone 6S.

Bottom line

It is only time that will tell how good the new Snapdragon 820 stacks up against the A9. Samsung dropped the 810, which suggested that this chipset had a share of its issues, but the new 820 chip promises quite a lot.

The differences between the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and Apple’s A9 will probably be very insignificant. In the end, the type of phone that houses the new chipset is likely to be the major difference in this case.