Snapdragon’s 8 Gen 3 could maintain GPU lead until 2024, leaving no chance for A17 Bionic
The two best chips on a smartphone trade blow in 2023, with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 performing just as well, if not better, than Apple’s A16 Bionic. The Adreno 740 GPU on the 8 Gen 2 arguably outperforms the 5-core GPU on the A16.
The A16’s 6-core CPU cluster has two performance cores (3.46 GHz) and four efficiency cores (2.02 GHz). With nearly 16 Billion transistors and TSMC’s efficient 4nm fabrication process, the A16 is easily one of the best SOCs on a smartphone.
The 8 Gen 2 is no slouch. It also uses TSMC’s 4nm fabrication and has an unusual 1 (Prime core) +2 (Performance Cores) +2 (Performance) +3 (Efficiency) CPU configuration.
The 8 Core CPU is still a bit weaker than the A16 overall. However, it makes up for the slight CPU disparity with a better ISP and more AI features.
The 8 Gen 2’s GPU is also highly efficient and powerful, delivering stable frame rates in demanding titles. It aces benchmark scores and benefits from future-proofing thanks to the Ray Tracing ability.
Apple’s A16 is let down because iPhones have no proper cooling system. Vapour chambers or liquid cooling will largely benefit the A16 Bionic. However, Apple only gives us a basic thermal paste system for cooling, which isn’t very effective.
In 2023, things aren’t looking great for Apple’s upcoming A17 chip. Numerous reports of TSMC’s 3mn fabrication suffer from yield rate issues. Some analysts also claim that Apple’s original performance goals weren’t met.
On the other hand, it looks a bit better for Qualcomm. Many online reports claim that the GPU will surpass the A16 and even the A17 in peak and sustained performance.
The report claims that the new “Android Champ” has a 50% boost in terms of raw power over the previous GPU. This means that Qualcomm will keep the GPU lead, and Apple has a lot of catching up with the gaming and graphics department.
We discovered a while ago that Apple’s A16 GPU was originally supposed to be much better than we got. There were allegedly some internal conflicts within the chip design team, and Apple found an extreme heating flaw at the last minute.
Hence, the GPU we got wasn’t as big a leap as Apple originally was hoping to deliver. Apple now has over a year to coordinate the GPU design properly. So, we’ll probably see a much better GPU on the A17 Bionic.
However, if these recent reports about the 8 Gen 3 are accurate, Apple is in hot water with GPU competition. There’s a lot of information about the 8 Gen 3 online. From what we can gather looks like the 8 Gen 3 is still slightly weaker than the A16 in CPU performance.
But it still retains the GPU lead, and it looks unlikely that Apple will take it back. Since most Android manufacturers pair Qualcomm’s chips with cutting-edge cooling, Apple has a lot of ground to make up for.
We expect a new CPU cluster for the 8 Gen 3, with a 2+3+2+1 configuration. That’s one less efficient core compared to the 8 Gen 2. There’s also an unknown “Titanium” cluster, which probably signifies much better performance.
Qualcomm also benefits from a tried-and-tested 4nm fabrication process. The comparatively poor yield rate on the 3nm fabrication might place significant performance limits on the A17. We’ll update you if there’s further information about these two chipsets.