Samsung Exynos 7904 vs Snapdragon 636: Which Is the Better Processor

Parth Shah

When it comes to powering Android smartphones, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line of processors is the default choice of the most phone makers. Apart from Huawei (Kirin SoCs) and sometimes Samsung (Exynos), most Android mid-ranges and flagships house Snapdragon chips under the hood.

Mobile Cpu

Last week, in a bid to win back India, Samsung announced Galaxy M20 powered by what the company calls their India-specific and most advanced mid-range mobile chipset — Exynos 7904. We were left wondering how it will fare against the Snapdragon 600 series, and most importantly, the darling of many mid-rangers out there, Snapdragon 636.

Both the chipsets are manufactured on the 14-nm silicon fabrication process but with a different microarchitecture, task handling, and camera capabilities. Let’s dive into the comparison.

Note: Comparing both chipsets based on specs-sheet is our prima facie approach while the real-life performance is an entirely different scenario and highly subjective. Apart from chipset’s capability, the other factors such as software optimization, UI changes, and capable hardware also chimes in day-to-day usage.

Specifications That Matter

ChipsetExynos 7904Snapdragon 636
ChipsetExynos 7904Snapdragon 636
Manufacturing Process14-nm14-nm
Architecture64-bit64-bit
CPU2 x ARM Cortex-A73, 6 x ARM Cortex-A538 x Kryo 260 Cores based on semi-custom ARM Cortex-A53
GPUMali-G71 MP2Adreno 509
Memory/StorageLPDDR4X, eMMC 5.1LPDDR4X, UFS 2.0
Cameraup to 32MP single lens, Triple lens supportup to 24MP single lens
Video4K@30fps, FHD@120fps4K@30fps, FHD@120fps
ChargingAdaptive Fast ChargingQuick Charge 4.0
Modem600Mbps Download, 150Mbps Upload600Mbps Download, 150Mbps Upload

CPU Performance

Both the Exynos 7904 and Snapdragon 636 are 64-bit octa-core processors made using the 14-nm fabrication process node. And that's where their similarity ends.

Cpu

The octa-core Exynos 7904's processing cluster features two ARM Cortex-A73 high-performance cores clocked at 1.8GHz for heavy, resource-intensive tasks. While the six ARM Cortex-A53 high-efficiency cores clocked at 1.6GHz are meant to handle less demanding tasks.

On the other hand, Snapdragon 636's octa-core setup includes eight Kryo 260 cores based on semi-custom ARM Cortex-A53 high-performance cores clocked at 1.8 GHz — higher than the ones on Exynos 7904.

Sd 636 Cpu

Purely from the the octa-core setup point of view, the Snapdragon 636 appears to have the upper hand in the CPU department. That said, the Exynos 7904 should fare better in battery life with six high-efficiency cores and only two dedicated cores for performing heavy tasks.

GPU Performance

The Snapdragon 636 SoC integrates the 14nm Adreno 509 GPU with a clock frequency of around 720MHz. This GPU has proven itself by delivering some excellent gaming performance housing inside the mid-range Android smartphones in 2018.

Gpu

The Exynos 7904’s Mali-G71 MP2 was introduced way back in 2016 and is built on a 16nm architecture. The clock frequency hovers around 770MHz and should deliver a competitive gaming performance to its rival. However, the actual difference will be noticeable only when you play demanding 3D games on the phone.

RAM and Storage Support

The Snapdragon 636 gets the cookie when it comes to memory support. Both the chipsets offer LPDDR4X RAM support. However, when it comes to storage, the Exynos is limited to eMMC type while the Snapdragon 636 shines with UFS (Universal Flash Storage) support. That's because UFS delivers better read-write speeds than the eMMC type storage.

However, the lack of UFS storage support means we won’t see Exynos 7904 in Galaxy A-series (mid-range premium segment). The eMMC might not deliver a pleasing performance with slow read/write speeds and could result in slight sluggish experience down the line.

Note: We are yet to see a Snapdragon 636 running phone with UFS storage.

Benchmarks

Exynos 7904 Results
Sd 636
NameExynos 7904Snapdragon 636
ChipsetExynos 7904Snapdragon 636
Antutu Total Score108290115095
Antutu CPU Score4707656169
Antutu GPU Score2108820865
Geekbench (Single-core)13191342
Geekbench (Multi-core)41194914
3DMark (Sling Shot Extreme - OpenGL)580930
3DMark (Sling Shot Extreme - Vulkan)1097756

Display Support

The Exynos 7904 supports a FHD+ display panel with up to 2400 x 1080 resolution and a 20:9 aspect ratio. It can play a Full HD video at 120fps (Frames Per Second) and Ultra HD video at 30fps.

The Snapdragon 636 is capable of supporting up to Full HD+ displays with 2160 x 1080 resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio. Even this chipset can play up to 4K Ultra HD videos.

Camera and AI

Looking at the specs sheet, Samsung has emphasized heavily on the camera department. The Exynos 7904 supports up to 32-megapixel resolution in a single lens, 16-megapixel+16-megapixel dual lens, and even a triple lens setup with Telephoto camera and a wide-angle lens. The chip can handle a 32-megapixel selfie shooter on the front.

Camera

The Snapdragon 636 can pack up to a 24-megapixel single lens or a 16-megapixel+16-megapixel dual lens.

The video recording capabilities of both the chipset remain same with 4K at 30fps and FHD at 120fps support.

Samsung isn’t touting any AI capabilities of the Exynos 7904 while the Snapdragon 636 packs Qualcomm’s Neural Processing Engine (NPE) SDK to support quite a few AI-centric features. It works with many popular AI frameworks such as Caffe/Caffe2, and Google’s TensorFlow.

Charging Technology

The Snapdragon 636 supports Quick Charge 4.0, which is the latest charging technology available right now. The company is claiming to deliver five hours of battery life with a five-minute charge.

Charging

The Exynos 7904 supports Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging, which is based on an age-old Quick Charge 2.0 standard.

Though a handful of companies have released phones running Snapdragon 636 chip, none of them bundle a Quick Charge 4.0 capable adapter. Those companies mostly provide Quick Charge 3.0 certified adapter in the retail package. You can always buy a Quick Charge 4.0 certified adapter separately and take full advantage of faster charging speeds.

So Similar yet Poles Apart

That's a tricky one. Both chipsets appear identical on paper, and the devil is in details. The Snapdragon 636 has the upper hand in the CPU department, storage and charging capability. The Exynos 7904 strikes back with a 32-megapixel single lens, triple-camera support, and power-efficiency.

One can foresee Samsung's intentions to play around with the camera more than anything else. However, it's worth noting how Samsung plans to use the Exynos chip. So far, it's limited to Samsung Galaxy M series phones.

Next up: The MediaTek Helio P60 CPU is also a capable mid-range processor. Read our comparison to find out how it fares against the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor.

Read Next
MediaTek Helio P60 vs Snapdragon 636: Which is the Better Processor?
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#comparison #Exynos

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Written By

Parth Shah

A self-described geek with a knack for writing and a passion for all technology