The mid-range SoCs of the present time are so powerful that they can be compared with some of the recent flagship ones. One such mid-range SoC is the Kirin 820 5G. With the launch of the Honor 30s, the company showcased its new mid-range SoC with it, i.e. the Kirin 820 5G. Before that, the Snapdragon 765G was the only one who was providing excellent performance, and 5G connectivity in a budget. But now Huawei has also jumped in the game of budget 5G SoCs.
But 5G is still in its development stage, and there are so many people preferring to have a 4G SoC with flagship specifications. And for those, the Kirin 980 and Exynos 980 could be suitable options. Both the SoCs have an excellent track record of powering some of the popular smartphones of the industry. But is it right to go with any of these instead of Kirin 820 5G? We will answer that question today by comparing the Kirin 820 5G with the Kirin 980 and Exynos 980. So let’s get started.
Manufacturing Process and CPU Performance
Both the Kirin products are using the 7nm fabrication in their hardware, whereas the Exynos 980 has the 8nm fabrication. Hence the Exynos 980 is expected to be a bit behind both the Kirin competitors in terms of power management.
Coming to the CPU, the Kirin 820 has a 1+3+4 type of cores’ configuration. In which there is one top-performing Cortex-A76 core at 2.36GHz, three Cortex-A76 mid-performing cores at 2.22GHz, and four Cortex-A55 efficiency cores at 1.84GHz.
On the other hand, Kirin 980 has a 2+2+4 type of tri-cluster design. In the particular order, these cores are based on Cortex-A76, Cortex-A76 and Cortex-A55 micro-architectures with clock speeds of 2.6GHz, 1.92GHz, and 1.8GHz respectively.
The Exynos 980 is the only one here that has a dual-cluster design. It also the only one here which has Cortex-A77 performance cores. There are two Cortex-A77 based performance cores at 2.2GHz, and six Cortex-A55 based efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.
It is good to see a mid-range SoC have Cortex-A77 CPU cores. But the number of cores in the performance section are less in the Exynos 980 and its a dual-cluster CPU as well. Hence the CPU of Exynos 980 is not on par with any of the Kirin.
GPU & Gaming Performance
The Kirin 820 comes with the new mid-range GPU lineup from ARM, i.e. the Mali-G57 series. It has the Mali-G57 MP6 GPU which is a 6-core tuned version of the G57 series. This GPU is based on ARM’s new Valhall architecture which promises up to 30% better performance density over the previous generation of Mali-G52 GPUs.
The Kirin 980 has the Mali-G76 MP10 GPU, which is a 10-core GPU from the same company, i.e. ARM. This GPU works on the company’s older Bifrost architecture over which the Mali-G52 was also based. But its hardware includes more cores and better clock speed which makes this GPU om par with the Mali-G57.
Coming to the Exynos 980his SoC also has the ARM-build GPU from the Mali-G76 lineup, but this one is the Mali-G76 MP5 GPU which has 5-cores and works on the same Bifrost GPU architecture. Hence, this GPU is expected to perform the lower in these three.
AnTuTu-Geekbench Benchmark Scores
The AnTuTu and Geekbench Benchmarks benchmark scores of these SoCs are as follows:
AnTuTu Benchmark Scores
The Kirin 820 5G has scored 375270 points, Kirin 980 has scored 307059 points, and the Exynos 980 has scored 333160 points.
Geekbench Benchmark Scores
The Single-Core Scores are:
- Kirin 820 5G: 3490
- Kirin 980: 3360
- Exynos 980: 3078
The Multi-Core Scores are:
- Kirin 820 5G: 11200
- Kirin 980: 10200
- Exynos 980: 7346
The Kirin 820’s AI hardware has been derived from the same Da-Vinci NPU design that has been used in the Kirin 990 and Kirin 810. But as compared to the Kirin 810, the 820 has the incorporation of 1-big core in the NPU design, which makes the SoC to has an AI performance uplift of up to 73%.
The Kirin 980 has the older Dual-NPU design which is not as good as the Kirin 820’s Da-Vinci NPU but is still a pretty capable dedicated AI hardware.
The Exynos 980 also has an integrated NPU, which is Samsung’s home-grown Neural Processing Unit. The company has not revealed a lot about the top-notch capabilities of this NPU, so don’t have many expectations here. And we think that the Exynos 980 would perform the lest in the raw AI performance.
ISP & Image Processing
The Kirin 820 5G has the new ISP 5.0 design embedded in the SoC. This SoC has support for various high-level noise reduction technologies. It is the same ISP that has also been used in the Kirin 990 and 990 5G. Hence, it’s no less than a flagship SoC in terms of image and video processing.
Kirin 980, as the name suggests, is the predecessor of the Kirin 990 and hence this SoC can’t be expected to have better ISP than the Kirin 820. Kirin 980 has the Dual ISP design embedded in it.
At last, the Exynos 980. This SoC has Samsung’s self-made ISP, which is no name. But what company has revealed is that this ISP has support for up to 108MP sensor snapshots.
Both Kirin 820 and Exynos 980 are 5G SoCs. The Kirin 820 comes with the Balong 5000 5G modem which has also been used in Kirin 990 5G. So, the connectivity section of Kirin 820 5G is also top-notch. The Exynos 980 has the Exynos 5123 5G modem. Both these modems are integrated within the SoC and are multi-mode modems. They support all networking from 2G to 5G.
But here is a difference in the 5G modems of these SoCs. The Exynos 5G modem is the SA Sub-6 supported modem whereas the Balong 5G modem is SA/NSA sub-6 and mmWave supported. In short, the Kirin 820 has more widely compatible 5G connectivity as compared to the Exynos 980 whose mmWave incompatibility makes it get restricted to just eastern countries.
On the other hand, Kirin 980 is a 4G/LTE SoC that comes with an integrated 4G modem and gives a download speed of up to 1.2Gbps.
Conclusion – Which One Is Better?
The Kirin 820 5G is better than any of the SoC here. It has proved itself better in every aspect. The Kirin 980 is the least favourable SoC as per the prevailing conditions. The Exynos 980 is one of the few mid-range SoCs that are providing 5G connectivity. But its modem still has some limitations, and hence the connectivity is also not as functional as Kirin 820s. But it is good to see Cortex-A77 cores in a mid-range SoC, and this is the reason why the CPU of Exynos 980 is more future proved.