HiSilicon Kirin 710 vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 660: Which is the Better Processor?

Namrata Gogoi

In July 2018, Huawei launched HiSilicon Kirin 710, the long awaited mid-range processor for mobiles. As the successor to the popular Kirin 659 chipset, the new Kirin 710 brings better performance and efficiency to the table. It boasts a new 12nm silicon design process and is all set to take on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 660

Snapdragon 660 Vs Kirin 710 2

The Snapdragon 660 is one of powerful mid-range processors and one of the closest contenders to the Kirin 710. 

Also, in the upcoming months, these two octa-core processors will be seen in plenty of new mid-range smartphones. Hence, it only seems fair that we pit them against each other and see which one of these two is the better processor.

Specifications That Matter

PropertyKirin 710Snapdragon 660
PropertyKirin 710Snapdragon 660
Manufacturing Process12nm14nm
Architecture64-bit64-bit
CPU4x ARM Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz and 4x ARM Cortex-A53 @ 1.7GHz8x Kryo 260 CPU up to 2.2 GHz
GPUARM Mali G51 MP4Adreno 512 with Vulkan API
Display SupportN/AUp to QHD and WQXGA
Bluetooth Support4.25.0

Performance Improvement and Efficiency

One of the fundamental differences between the two chipsets is their fabrication node. The Snapdragon 660 follows the footsteps of the older 600-series processors and is built using the 14nm LPP FinFET process which is similar to what Samsung follows. That results in the boost in energy efficiency, heat control, and the overall performance. 

Kirin 710 Vs Snapdragon 660

On the other hand, Huawei implements a 12nm fabrication process and claims that the new chipset is 75% more efficient (in single-core) and has 68% better multi-core speeds than its predecessor.

Another difference is in the CPU configuration of both the chipsets. The Snapdragon 660 bundles Kryo 260 CPU cores while the Kirin 710 is still based on the ARM's traditional Cortex cores setup. Kryo cores are customized and based on ARM's Cortex technology.

Kryo 260

The Kryo cores comprise of high-performance and high-efficiency cores. While the high-performance cores are the 64-bit semi-custom ARM Cortex-A73 CPUs clocked at 2.2GHz, the high-efficiency cores are based on semi-custom ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs clocked at 1.7GHz. This unique combination intends to deliver better task sharing capabilities, lower latency, optimized power savings, and increased performance. 

Thus, the switch from Cortex cores to custom Kryo cores implies a significant improvement in performance and power efficiency as tasks will be better optimized for the appropriate cores.

Arm Cortex A53

As opposed to the above configuration, the Huawei Kirin 710 chipset consists of a cluster of four 'performance' Cortex-A73 CPU cores clocked at 2.2GHz and four 'efficiency' Cortex-A53 CPU cores clocked at 1.7GHz. It appears to be based on the ARM's big.LITTLE architecture for the Cortex processing cores.

Cool Fact: The Snapdragon 660 is the first mid-range processor to feature the Kryo cores.

Gaming 

Also, the Kirin 710 uses an ancient ARM Mali-G51 MP4 GPU. This GPU is said to be 1.3 times faster than the one in its predecessor (Kirin 659), but yet it pales in front of the Adreno 512 GPU in the Snapdragon 660. It's worth mentioning that the Qualcomm adds a gaming advantage with its support for the Vulkan API to promise better graphics. And that may be one of the reasons as to why Huawei bundles an additional feature called GPU Turbo in its phones.

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The GPU Turbo is built to boost gaming performance by accelerating the GPU hardware and eliminating the bottlenecks between the GPU and software (game engines and APIs).

We did a quick face-off between the Kirin 710-powered Nova 3i and the Snapdragon 660-powered Xiaomi Mi A2. Following are the results in terms of benchmark scores and the numbers speak for themselves.

Huawei Nova 3I Benchmark
Xiaomi Mi A2 Benchmark
PropertyHuawei Nova 3iXiaomi Mi A2
PropertyHuawei Nova 3iXiaomi Mi A2
Antutu Total Score138280131297
Antutu CPU Score6558156321
Antutu GPU Score2254729773
Geekbench (Single-core)15901629
Geekbench (Multi-core)55964701
3DMark (Sling Shot Extreme - OpenGL)9491270
3DMark (Sling Shot Extreme - Vulkan)11231034
GFXBench (Aztec Ruins Open GL High Tier)268.1 Frames330.5 Frames
GFXBench (Aztec Ruins Open GL Normal Tier)410.6 Frames527.3 Frames

Camera: Who Fares in the Clicking Game?

When it comes to the camera department, the Snapdragon 660 can support up to a 25-megapixel camera or two 16-megapixel cameras. Plus, it also comes with the Qualcomm Clear Sight feature and Spectra 160 ISP chip. Qualcomm Clear Sight is built to capture more light and reduce noise in low-light photos. While the Spectra 160 ISP chip promises zero shutter lag, faster autofocus, and more accurate color reproduction.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Snapdragon 660

Huawei hasn't divulged any details about the camera sensors supported by the Kirin 710. So we took out the Mi A2 and the Nova 3i for a spin. Of course, camera samples will undoubtedly vary from device to device, these images will give you an idea about the image quality.

Kirin 710 Vs Snapdragon 660 1
Kirin 710 Vs Snapdragon 660 2

Artificial Intelligence

It's 2018, and you're now more likely to read AI and Machine Language mentioned loosely in apps and new products. So why should the new age processors fall behind? Let's start with the Qualcomm.

The Snapdragon 660 mobile platform supports Qualcomm's Neural Processing Engine (NPE) SDK. This SDK works with some of the popular AI frameworks such as Caffe/Caffe2 and Google’s TensorFlow to enable new functionalities like word matches, phrase identification, scene recognition, etc.

On the other hand, the Kirin 710 doesn't have a dedicated neural processing unit. Instead, it uses the CPU and GPU for AI-related functions such as scene recognition, better low-light snaps, and Face Unlock among other things. 

Bright Future

The Kirin 710 is unquestionably a massive update over the Kirin 659. And it almost appears to be at par with the Snapdragon 660 when it comes to the overall performance. However, the Snapdragon 660 steals the show with Adreno 512 GPU's gaming performance capabilities. 

Plus, you also get the advantage of Qualcomm Quick Charge 4.0 faster charging standard, unless a phone maker skips it.

The bottom line is, though the overall performance is almost equal, it's the Snapdragon 660 that flaunts a couple of feathers in its hat and marches ahead of Kirin 710.

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Namrata Gogoi

Written By

Namrata Gogoi

An engineer turned tech writer, Namrata used to write software codes before turning to a career in tech- writing. She is passionate about travelling, food and reading about cool new stuff. Apart from that, she holds a bachelors degree in I.T and hails from Guwahati.