SoC showdown :Snapdragon 821 vs Exynos 8890

A single chip, which includes lots of different functions,  is known as a SoC or a System-on-a-Chip. The chips which power our smartphones are no longer just CPUs, but a CPU plus a GPU plus a memory controller plus a DSP plus a radio for GSM, 3G and 4G LTE communications.

But it doesn’t stop there, on top of all that, you will find discrete bits of silicon for the GPS, USB, NFC, Bluetooth and for the camera.

Customer Base:

Snapdragon is from Qualcomm and Exynos is from Samsung. Both of these manufacturers make SoCs for every rung on the smartphone ladder including lower-cost, lower-performance SoCs for entry-level smartphones, all the way up to higher-cost, high-performance chips for flagship devices.

As compared to Samsung, qualcomm has a larger customer base. Exynos is used in Samsung phones and Meizu phones, there are other customers aswell but none of them makes smartphones.



The snapdragon 821 is a quad-core processor and  Exynos 8890 is an octa-core processor.

Both of these processors have different approaches, EXYNOS is for  multi-tasking and performance, wherelse SNAPDRAGON is for gaming. If you are interested in flashing custom roms, then you might have to consider SNAPDRAGON powered device, obviously because of its open source nature. However, if your only concern is performance, then EXYNOS should be your ideal choice .

One thing that both the processors have in common is that they both use Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP). In a HMP SoC, not all of the cores are equal (hence, heterogeneous). All these SoCs have high performance cores and energy efficient cores. The Snapdragon quad-core processor uses a 2+2 configuration, while the Exynos octa-core processor use a 4+4 configuration.
The Snapdragon 821 is Qualcomm’s flagship 64-bit processor. It is Qualcomm’s first HMP system using its own in-house ARM compatible cores, code-named Kryo. However Qualcomm has used HMP before in processors like the Snapdragon 810. Qualcomm still uses ARM’s big.LITTLE system for other processors in its range including the Snapdragon 652, which uses four Cortex-A72 cores plus four Cortex-A53 cores. Bundled with the four Kryo CPU cores are the Adreno 530 GPU, the Hexagon 680 DSP and the X12 LTE Cat 12/13 modem.
The Snapdragon 821 is basically a revision of the Snapdragon 820, but with improved power savings (up to 5%) and increased performance (up to 10%). When it comes to power & performance the Snapdragon 821 is better than the Snapdragon 820, however when it comes to capabilities, functionality and features, the 821 and 820 are roughly equal.
The Exynos8890  found in Samsung’s leading flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, the Samsung Galaxy S7, and in other devices like the Meizu Pro 6 plus, is a 64-bit octa-core design, built from four Samsung M1 CPU cores clocked between 2.3 and 2.6GHz, four 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cores, and an ARM Mali-T880 MP12 GPU. This is the first chip from Samsung to feature in-house designed ARM compatible cores. The four Cortex A53 cores are the power efficient cores, while the other four Samsung cores provide the grunt needed for intense applications.


Snapdragon 821:

                ONE PLUS 3T.

               GOOGLE PIXEL.

Exynos 8890:

              SAMSUNG GALAXY S7.

               SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 EDGE.

               MEIZU PRO 6 PLUS.


There are many Benchmark apps, the most trusted are,  AnTuTu, Geekbench, Basemark OS II. They have their own standards and methods to represent the scores, therefore they shouldn’t be compared.


From this we can conclude that except for AnTuTu, other apps have marked Exynos 8890 higher than Snapdragon 821.

These results are enough for getting a general idea of how well both the SoC can perform, however it is worth noting that the tests used by the benchmark are completely artificial and don’t reflect real life scenarios at all. But, as long as we take that into consideration then the numbers can be useful.

Final verdict:

Coupled with the battle for GPU supremacy, the crown could have potentially gone to any of the contenders.

The Adreno 530 is the champion and because of the good GPU performance the Snapdragon 821 chip performed well in AnTuTu benchmarks.

But if you want raw CPU power then the winner is Exynos 8890, it might have a slightly low performing GPU compared to Snapdragon 821 and therefore was marked less in AnTuTu but was marked higher in other two benchmark tests. This states that it is a good all round performer under many different conditions.

One thing is for sure that, both of these SoCs are at the top in market, therefore no matter which one you select, it will definitely satisfy your needs.

Now, the choice is yours.

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