Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 incinerates the competition

We got an early chance to benchmark the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. The results weren't pretty...for the other guys.

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Eric Franklin
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The Snapdragon 800 seems to represent a new level of speed for mobile processors. Here it is getting disgustingly high framerates in the 3DMark benchmark. Eric Franklin/CNET

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 will destroy your mobile processor. Not literally, of course. I'm strictly referring to its ability to render real-time graphics so fast as to make your current mobile processor -- on your phone or tablet -- embarrassingly pokey in comparison.

At a benchmarking event in San Francisco, Qualcomm allowed me and others in attendance to run a benchmarks on a reference Mobile Development Platform (MDP) tablet housing its latest Snapdragon 800 system-on-chip (SoC). The results speak for themselves; however, I should warn that these are only benchmark results (3DMark and GFXBench, specifically) and don't necessarily represent the real-world graphical performance of the chip.

To that point, Need For Speed Most Wanted didn't seem to be running at a much higher framerate than it does on the Nexus 10; however, that was the only actual game I had time to look at, and I didn't have a Nexus 10 handy to do a direct comparison.

Unfortunately, 3DMark still isn't available for iOS, but thankfully GFXBench is, and the Snapdragon 800 is the first mobile processor to hand the iPad's A6X (with its quad-core PowerVR SGX 554MP4 GPU) its graphical hat.

The A6X has consistently been the fastest ARM processor when it comes to graphical throughput since its release last November. And now, seven months later, it's finally been supplanted, even if no real Snapdragon 800 products exist yet. Qualcomm says to expect actual devices later this year.

We also don't yet know what effect the Snapdragon 800's impressive speeds will have on battery life. Qualcomm told us to expect thermals that compensate for the chip's increased zippiness, but unfortunately didn't give us the several hours (or more) it would take to actually test this.

The real question of the day however is how these scores compare to Nvidia's Tegra 4. As I don't currently have a Tegra 4 device in my possession, I'm unfortunately unable to accurately answer that. With Shield hitting stores by the end of the month, hopefully that changes soon.

Look for more coverage soon, but for now it looks like we have a new SoC speed champ. However, with Tegra 4devices releasing soon, we'll see how long that lasts.

Snapdragon 800 MDP Tablet 2.3GHz Qualcomm Krait 400 Andreno 330 (single-core) 2GB
Sony Xperia Tablet Z 1.5GHz Qualcomm Krait 300 Andreno 320 (single-core) 2GB
Google Nexus 10 1.7GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos 5 Dual (5250) Mali-T604 (quad-core) 2GB
LG Optimus G Pro 1.7GHz quad-core (Krait 300) Adreno 320 (single-core) 2GB
Apple iPad 4 1.4GHz dual-core Apple A6X PowerVR SGX554MP4 (quad-core) 1GB

Screenshot by Eric Franklin/CNET

Screenshot by Eric Franklin/CNET

Screenshot by Eric Franklin/CNET

Screenshot by Eric Franklin/CNET

Screenshot by Eric Franklin