Ruminations on various benchmarks for the OMAP 3600s, Hummingbird, and Snapdragon
The following is by Sean the Electrofreak, ABT Guest Contributor. As with everything that we publish at AlienBabelTech, the opinions expressed are solely those of the individual writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and the opinions of the rest of the ABT staff.
I’ve been thinking about some of the performance benchmarks I’ve been seeing on AndroidAndMe.
CPU performance from the new TI OMAP 3640 (yes, they’re wrong again, its 3640 for the 1 GHz SoC, 3630 is the 720 MHz one) is surprisingly good on Quadrant, the benchmarking tool that Taylor is using. In fact, as you can see from the Shadow benchmarks in the first article, it is shown outperforming the Galaxy S, which initially led me to believe that it was running Android 2.2 (which you may know can easily triple CPU performance). However, I’ve been assured that this is not the case, and the 3rd article seems to indicate as such, given that those benchmarks were obtained using a Droid 2 running 2.1.
Now, the OMAP 3600 series is simply a 45 nm version of the 3400 series we see in the original Droid, upclocked accordingly due to the reduced heat and improved efficiency of the smaller feature size.
If you need convincing, see TI’s own documentation: http://focus.ti.com/pdfs/wtbu/omap3_pb_swpt024b.pdf
So essentially the OMAP 3640 is the same CPU as what is contained in the original Droid but clocked up to 1 GHz. Why then is it benchmarking nearly twice as fast clock-for-clock (resulting in a nearly 4x improvement), even when still running 2.1? My guess is that the answer lies in memory bandwidth, and that evidence exists within some of the results from the graphics benchmarks.
We can see from the 3rd article that the Droid 2’s GPU performs almost twice as fast as the one in the original Droid. We know that the GPU in both devices are the same model, a PowerVR SGX 530, except that the Droid 2’s SGX 530 is, as is the rest of the SoC, on the 45 nm feature size. This means that it can be clocked considerably faster. It would be easy to assume that this is reason for the doubled performance, but that’s not necessarily the case. The original Droid’s SGX 530 runs at 110 MHz, substantially less than its standard clock speed of 200 MHz. This downclocking is likely due to the memory bandwidth limitations I discussed in my Hummingbird vs Snapdragon article, where the Droid original was running LPDDR1 memory at a fairly low bandwidth that didn’t allow for the GPU to function at stock speed. If those limitations were removed by adding LPDDR2 memory, the GPU could then be upclocked again (likely to around 200 MHz) to draw even with the new memory bandwidth limit, which is probably just about twice what it was with LPDDR1.
So what does this have to do with CPU performance? Well, it’s possible that the CPU was also being limited by LPDDR1 memory, and that the 65 nm Snapdragons that are also tied down to LPDDR1 memory share the same problem. The faster LPDDR2 memory could allow for much faster performance.
Lastly, since we know from the second article at the top that the Galaxy S performs so well with its GPU, why is it lacking in CPU performance, only barely edging past the 1 GHz Snapdragon?
It could be that the answer lies in the secret that Samsung is using to achieve those ridiculously fast GPU speeds. Even with LPDDR2 memory, I can’t see any way that the GPU could achieve 90 Mtps; the required memory bandwidth is too high. One possibility is the addition of a dedicated high-speed GPU memory cache, allowing the GPU access to memory tailored to handle its high-bandwidth needs. With this solution to memory bandwidth issues, Samsung may have decided that higher speed memory was unnecessary, and stuck with a slower solution that remains limited in the same manner as the current-gen Snapdragon.
Lets recap: TI probably dealt with the limitations to its GPU by dropping in higher speed system RAM, thus boosting overall system bandwidth to nearly double GPU and CPU performance together.
Samsung may have dealt with limitations to the GPU by adding dedicated video memory that boosted GPU performance several times, but leaving CPU performance unaffected.
This, I think, is the best explanation to what I’ve seen so far. It’s very possible that I’m entirely wrong and something else is at play here, but that’s what I’ve got.
This comment is really wrong
>> So essentially the OMAP 3640 is the same CPU as what is contained in the original Droid but clocked up to 1 GHz
You really don’t know what you are saying. The OMAP3630 can run at 1Ghz, also the bus speed has been increased significantly along with the SGX core frequency, with more hardware improvements than 3430, 3630 eats alive a 3430 by a big margin, also the 1Ghz Snapdragon stays behind by significant margin too (How do I know? Well let’s say… I work at TI 😉 so the Droid X is extremely powerful not comparable with the first Droid.
First off i want to thank Electrofreak for his articles i have been searching long time fore any kind of valid or more in depth info for smartphone hardware.I read a lot of articles for pc hardware and reading from you’re articles i was quite surprised to see that this SoCs are left quite bandwith starved (the absolute opposite for pc hardware as memory has very little impact most of the times on overall performance).So when i first saw moto shadow to do so good on the quadrant benchmark i was quite surprised.I initially thought that motorola put OMAP 4 but then it was shown that it was actually OMAP 3640.After reading this article i does make sense,even with LPDDR2 it would have been quite hard to achieve 90 MT/s,so instead it seams that sammy just put dedicated GPU memory while motorola were clever to decide to put faster memory simply because it bogs down both the CPU and GPU.
And thanks again i just get very interested in smartphone hardware,its just amazing how much power and features you can put in you’re pocket.Smartphones are really the swiss knife of technology these days
halconX, I appreciate your contribution, this is exactly the kind of info I’ve been looking for. I was basing that comment upon study I’ve made of the differences between the product brochures on TI’s webpages, which don’t go into a lot of detail.
I was aware the SGX core frequency was increased; this is due to the fact that the core was reduced to the 45 nm feature size as well. The paragraph after the one you quoted from states as much. What I would like to know is exactly how much it was increased to, since I assume Motorola kept the GPU clocked to match available memory bandwidth (which, as I theorize, was likely increased dramatically by a shift from LPDDR to LPDDR2 memory).
I would encourage you to go back and read all of what I wrote, and please share anything you can with us. Thanks!
The reason for why the Droid X is benchmarking higher has been determined; check out the following benchmark test on AndroidAndMe: http://androidandme.com/2010/07/news/droid-x-vs-galaxy-s-and-more-with-quadrant-professional/
Ultimately, what puts the Droid X ahead is significantly higher performance in the I/O test, but this appears to be due to a bug in the Galaxy S firmware that is hampering I/O performance. Some open source developers have found a fix that puts the Galaxy S and it’s Hummingbird back in the lead: http://android.modaco.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=313365&view=findpost&p=1344806
At the same time as I love a physical keyboard, after dealing with the Samsung Captivate for approximately 15 minutes, it’s laborious to head back. At the moment I’m debating whether or not to go to Verizon for the Droid X, move to Sprint for the EVO, or stick with AT&T for the Captivate…choices, decisions.
Hi Everyone! I’m brand new. To the group. Not the world 😉
I came across this page and it seems like you are the only ones who know what you are really talking about. Heck, Verizon doesn’t even know what version of Bluetooth their phones have. “They say things like – What do you mean 2.0 or 2.1; EDR? I’m sure it does.” No offense to a Verizon tech or sales person who knows what they ARE doing!
Ok. So in simple terminology can someone rate the current prcoessing speeds, (Sep 1, 2010) in order from Fastest to Slowest for the following phones – So, I can make a decision without trying to figure out this technological genius Feel free to chime in with any opinions regarding bluetooth compatibility, simple quality issues, camera quality. I do really want a phone that can take a photo at a concert and not be completely blury when I load it on my computer.
Ok….Here are the phones:
Verizon’s HTC Incredible: Qualcomm® QSD8650, 1Ghz Snapdragon Processor w/ Android 2.1
Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G: 1 GHZ Snapdragon Processor w/ Android 2.2*
Sprint’s Samsung Epic 4G: 1GHz Hummingbird Cortex A8 processor
w/ Android 2.2*
Verizon’s Motorola DROID X: 1GHz TI OMAP processor w/ Android 2.1
Verizon’s Motorola DROID II (2): TI OMAP 1GHz w/ Dedicated GPU
w/ Android 2.2*
* Allegedly, these phones shipped or have been updated to Android 2.2. They may not have. Just going by what the company website and CNET is saying.
I currently am trying to decide between the Droid II and HTC Incredible.
I know the Epic and EVO are most likely incredible phones. However, the EVO is almost impossible to find and is still holding strong at $199.99. The Epic, has already dropped to $199.99 from $249.99 in 1 day. The Incredible is $79.99 and the Droid II is $99.99. I honestly thought I would jump on the Epic bandwagon, as I’ve always had Samsung Phones in the past (like old school phones) and never understood Motorola’s Interface. Well, that has all changed with Android phones.
The 4G concept is also inticing; however, I live in Orlando and haven’t been put on the list for 4G yet, by Sprint. Plus, RoadRunner Lightening is launching and will be getting speeds of 40,000 kbps with boosts up to 50,000 kbps (download). Around 2500 kbps – 5000 kbps upload. Right now, RR Turbo gives me 20000-30000 kbps download and 1800-2100 kbps upload. So, replacing that with a Wireless 4G Network is probably not the smartest thing to do for someone who watches streaming netflix and huluplus all the time. (Sorry for the tangent). Plus, I have a 4G Sprint Sierra Wirelesss Mobile HotSpot just sitting in my closet, brand new, never opened, waiting for the launch.
Back to phones:
For the past 15 days, I’ve been miserable withe Samsung Intercept, a hold-over phone for the launch of the Epic. Well, if they are anything alike – I don’t think I want any part of the Samsung Android Revolution. I’m sure the Intercept has a subpar processor and has only a 3.2 MP camera. However, it is so slow and unresponsive. The list of applications, under the Settings>Applications menu, takes 30 seconds to populate the icons associated with the 20 or so Applications installed. The Droid X, I played with in the Verizon store was instantaneous. Plus, the Samsung Intercept is the first phone I’ve ever owned that does not sync with my Ford Focus (2008) with all current updates and upgrades. It also will not sync with my MacBook Pro Bluetooth to send or receive photos, music, etc.
On a final note. I could care less if it has an external physical QWERTY keyboard, doesn’t have one – it makes no difference. I usually use the touchscreen. However, if it only has a touchscreen – It has to have SWYPE.
Therefore, any advice as to purchase decisions based on your experiences as a group of tech specialists – is greatly appreciated! I apologize in advance fo my long post and all the questions. I trust you all more than I trust any mainstream website review or product page.
Thanks in Advance!!!!
Mike A.K.A McGeezy
Very interesting post. Bookmarked.
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