The best 10 mobile chipsets in comparison

Which are the best mobile chipsets of 2020?

Best mobile chipsets of 2020 (1 - 5)
mobile chipset comparison
Comparison winner
mobile chipset comparison
Comparison winner
Intel Core i9-9980HK
Comparison winner
Intel Core i9-9880H
Comparison winner
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Comparison winner
Intel Xeon E-2276M
Comparison winner
Intel Core i7-9850H
Comparison winner
Intel Core i7-9750H
Comparison winner
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
Comparison winner
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Comparison winner
Intel Xeon E-2186M
Comparison winner
Intel Core i9-8950HK
Image
Intel Core i9-9980HK
100points
Intel Core i9-9880H
98points
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
95points
Intel Xeon E-2276M
95points
Intel Core i7-9850H
93points
Intel Core i7-9750H
93points
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
93points
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
93points
Intel Xeon E-2186M
92points
Intel Core i9-8950HK
92points
Best price
Best price
Summary
Summary
  • General info (72)
  • Performance (81)
  • Memory (57)
  • Features (100)
  • Benchmarks (100)
  • General info (71)
  • Performance (80)
  • Memory (57)
  • Features (92)
  • Benchmarks (95)
  • General info (65)
  • Performance (86)
  • Memory (57)
  • Features (70)
  • Benchmarks (0)
  • General info (71)
  • Performance (71)
  • Memory (74)
  • Features (100)
  • Benchmarks (91)
  • General info (71)
  • Performance (69)
  • Memory (57)
  • Features (100)
  • Benchmarks (87)
  • General info (71)
  • Performance (69)
  • Memory (57)
  • Features (100)
  • Benchmarks (83)
  • General info (73)
  • Performance (87)
  • Memory (62)
  • Features (63)
  • Benchmarks (0)
  • General info (73)
  • Performance (86)
  • Memory (62)
  • Features (63)
  • Benchmarks (0)
  • General info (71)
  • Performance (72)
  • Memory (65)
  • Features (100)
  • Benchmarks (88)
  • General info (71)
  • Performance (72)
  • Memory (49)
  • Features (100)
  • Benchmarks (86)
Pros
Pros
  • Faster CPU speed
  • Higher turbo clock speed
  • Larger maximum memory size
  • Higher PassMark result
  • Higher PassMark result (single)
  • Faster CPU speed
  • Larger maximum memory size
  • Higher PassMark result
  • Higher ram speed
  • Faster GPU clock speed
  • More memory channels
  • Smaller semiconductor size
  • Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP)
  • Higher clock multiplier
  • Larger maximum memory size
  • Higher PassMark result
  • Higher PassMark result (single)
  • Larger maximum memory size
  • Larger maximum memory size
  • Faster CPU speed
  • More memory channels
  • Smaller semiconductor size
  • Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP)
  • More memory channels
  • Smaller semiconductor size
  • Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP)
  • Higher clock multiplier
  • Larger maximum memory size
  • Higher clock multiplier
  • Larger maximum memory size
Cons
Cons
  • Clock multiplier
  • PassMark result (single)
  • Clock multiplier
  • CPU threads
  • Maximum memory bandwidth
  • CPU speed
  • Turbo clock speed
  • CPU threads
  • CPU speed
  • PassMark result
  • Turbo clock speed
  • CPU threads
  • CPU speed
  • PassMark result (single)
  • PassMark result
  • Turbo clock speed
  • CPU threads
  • CPU speed
  • RAM speed
  • CPU threads
  • Maximum memory bandwidth
  • RAM speed
  • CPU speed
  • CPU threads
  • Maximum memory bandwidth
  • CPU threads
  • PassMark result (single)
  • PassMark result
  • CPU threads
General info
Semiconductor sizeSmall semiconductors provide better performance and reduced power consumption. Chipsets with a higher number of transistors, semiconductor components of electronic devices, offer more computational power. A small form factor allows more transistors to fit on a chip, therefore increasing its performance.
Semiconductor sizeSmall semiconductors provide better performance and reduced power consumption. Chipsets with a higher number of transistors, semiconductor components of electronic devices, offer more computational power. A small form factor allows more transistors to fit on a chip, therefore increasing its performance.14nm14nm7nm14nm14nm14nm7nm7nm14nm14nm
64-bit supportA 32-bit operating system can only support up to 4GB of RAM. 64-bit allows more than 4GB, giving increased performance. It also allows you to run 64-bit apps.
64-bit supportA 32-bit operating system can only support up to 4GB of RAM. 64-bit allows more than 4GB, giving increased performance. It also allows you to run 64-bit apps.
Integrated graphicsWith integrated graphics you don’t need to buy a separate graphics card.
Integrated graphicsWith integrated graphics you don’t need to buy a separate graphics card.
GPU clock speedThe graphics processing unit (GPU) has a higher clock speed.
GPU clock speedThe graphics processing unit (GPU) has a higher clock speed.350MHz350MHz587MHz350MHz350MHz350MHzN.A.N.A.350MHz350MHz
DirectX versionDirectX is used in games, with newer versions supporting better graphics.
DirectX versionDirectX is used in games, with newer versions supporting better graphics.12121212121212121212
Total score for "General info"
Total score for "General info"
Performance
Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP)Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) is a more advanced version of big.LITTLE technology. In this setup, a processor can utilize all cores at the same time, or just a single core for low-intensity tasks. This can provide powerful performance or increased battery life respectively.
Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP)Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) is a more advanced version of big.LITTLE technology. In this setup, a processor can utilize all cores at the same time, or just a single core for low-intensity tasks. This can provide powerful performance or increased battery life respectively.
CPU speed
CPU speed8 x 2.4GHz8 x 2.3GHz1 x 2.84GHz & 3 x 2.42GHz & 4 x 1.8GHz6 x 2.8GHz6 x 2.6GHz6 x 2.6GHz1 x 2.96GHz & 3 x 2.42GHz & 4 x 1.8GHz1 x 2.84GHz & 3 x 2.42GHz & 4 x 1.8GHz6 x 2.9GHz6 x 2.9GHz
CPU threadsMore threads result in faster performance and better multitasking.
CPU threadsMore threads result in faster performance and better multitasking.16168121212881212
Clock multiplierThe clock multiplier controls the speed of the CPU.
Clock multiplierThe clock multiplier controls the speed of the CPU.2423N.A.282626N.A.N.A.2929
Turbo clock speedWhen the CPU is running below its limitations, it can boost to a higher clock speed in order to give increased performance.
Turbo clock speedWhen the CPU is running below its limitations, it can boost to a higher clock speed in order to give increased performance.5GHz4.8GHzN.A.4.7GHz4.6GHz4.5GHzN.A.N.A.4.8GHz4.8GHz
Total score for "Performance"
Total score for "Performance"
Memory
RAM speedIt can support faster memory, which will give quicker system performance.
RAM speedIt can support faster memory, which will give quicker system performance.2666MHz2666MHz2750MHz2666MHz2666MHz2666MHz2133MHz2133MHz2666MHz2666MHz
Memory channelsMore memory channels increases the speed of data transfer between the memory and the CPU.
Memory channelsMore memory channels increases the speed of data transfer between the memory and the CPU.2242228822
Maximum memory bandwidthThis is the maximum rate that data can be read from or stored into memory.
Maximum memory bandwidthThis is the maximum rate that data can be read from or stored into memory.41.8GB/s41.8GB/s40.98GB/s41.8GB/s41.8GB/s41.8GB/s31.79GB/s31.79GB/s41.8GB/s41.8GB/s
Maximum memory sizeThe maximum amount of memory (RAM) supported.
Maximum memory sizeThe maximum amount of memory (RAM) supported.128GB128GB16GB128GB128GB128GB16GB16GB64GB64GB
Bus transfer rateThe bus is responsible for transferring data between different components of a computer or device.
Bus transfer rateThe bus is responsible for transferring data between different components of a computer or device.8GT/s8GT/sN.A.8GT/s8GT/s8GT/sN.A.N.A.8GT/s8GT/s
Total score for "Memory"
Total score for "Memory"
Features
Bits executed at a timeNEON provides acceleration for media processing, such as listening to MP3s.
Bits executed at a timeNEON provides acceleration for media processing, such as listening to MP3s.N.A.N.A.128N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
Download speed
Download speedN.A.N.A.2000MBits/sN.A.N.A.N.A.2000MBits/s2000MBits/sN.A.N.A.
Integrated LTEThe system on a chip (SoC) has an integrated LTE cellular chip. LTE is capable of downloading at faster speeds than older, 3G technology.
Integrated LTEThe system on a chip (SoC) has an integrated LTE cellular chip. LTE is capable of downloading at faster speeds than older, 3G technology.
Upload speed
Upload speedN.A.N.A.318MBits/sN.A.N.A.N.A.318MBits/s318MBits/sN.A.N.A.
VFP versionVector Floating-Point (VFP) is used by the processor to deliver increased performance in areas such as digital imaging.
VFP versionVector Floating-Point (VFP) is used by the processor to deliver increased performance in areas such as digital imaging.N.A.N.A.4N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
Total score for "Features"
Total score for "Features"
Benchmarks
PassMark resultThis benchmark measures the performance of the CPU using multiple threads.
PassMark resultThis benchmark measures the performance of the CPU using multiple threads.1771516787N.A.148241421913555N.A.N.A.1444814152
PassMark result (single)This benchmark measures the performance of the CPU using a single thread.
PassMark result (single)This benchmark measures the performance of the CPU using a single thread.26952567N.A.268325872488N.A.N.A.25872533
Total score for "Benchmarks"
Total score for "Benchmarks"

The key specs of mobile chipsets or SoCs

Mobile chipsets are designed for portable devices like smartphones, notebooks, tablets, and other compact devices requiring a CPU to make complex processes. Unlike their desktop counterparts, mobile chipsets are run on low-voltage and consume less power to conserve the battery life of devices. Even though mobile chipsets operate in a power-efficient manner, this doesn't mean that their performance is inferior. Mobile devices nowadays are powerful mini-computers capable of performing high-computing tasks.

However, some mobile chipsets, such as the ones powering laptops or notebooks, require advanced cooling solutions. Adding a cooling mechanism is a challenge because the small form factor of these devices requires compact fans and coolers. While a desktop chassis can accommodate multiple fans, the space is very limited in a laptop.

Another significant difference between desktop PCs and mobile devices is the CPU's placement. On a desktop PC, the CPU is placed in a dedicated socket on the motherboard. The only thing you need to take into account if you want to upgrade your PC with a newer CPU is the socket size. Furthermore, you can do this yourself if you have a small screwdriver and a fair amount of dexterity.

On the other hand, most mobile devices nowadays are unibody. This means that the CPU is soldered-in, and you can't replace it. The mobile chipset, basically a portable device's motherboard, contains the CPU, RAM, graphics processing unit, and other components. For this reason, it is also called system-on-a-chip (SoC). This makes it crucial to analyze the specs of the mobile chipset/SoC when you decide to purchase a smartphone, tablet, notebook, or any other mobile device. Here's what you should take into account.

Purpose & Workload

Before buying a device, you should give some thought to your needs and usage patterns. If you are an average smartphone user who mostly talks and texts on the phone, occasionally using social apps, then a powerful chipset is not mandatory. If you enjoy playing games on your phone or if you are an avid social media user and photographer with a passion for video, then you need a more powerful chipset for gaming and video editing apps. But what makes a mobile chipset powerful? The key indicators are the number of cores and the clock speed. The CPU speed is determined by these indicators and heavily influenced by other parameters, such as semiconductor size.

Number of Cores

The number of cores, just like in desktop CPUs, is of particular importance for users who are leaning towards gaming, video editing, and the use of complex mobile apps. Smartphones typically make use of two to four cores, while flagship models have eight or ten cores.

Most entry-level smartphones nowadays have dual-core processors, which are sufficient for basic tasks. If you enjoy multi-tasking and apps that require a lot of processing power, you should consider an octa-core or deca-core mobile chipset.

Clock Speed

A high clock speed allows faster processing. When it comes to mobile devices, the processing power required varies a lot depending on the task. Texting doesn't put a strain on your device, but playing a game with top-notch graphics does. For this reason, most mobile chipsets nowadays use a technology called big.LITTLE. The technology developed by ARM enables manufacturers to integrate cores clocked at different speeds on the same chipset. This way, the cores with a higher clock rate are used for heavy tasks, while the cores with lower clock rates come into play for less demanding tasks. By adapting to the type of task, the chipset will be more power-efficient, resulting in improved battery life.

Integrated Graphics

Mobile chipsets nowadays have integrated graphics. The graphics processing unit is one of the components of the SoC, along with the CPU, image processor, audio processor, modem, and other key components.

Just like for desktop PCs, the graphics processing unit on a mobile chipset is the component that generates output images to the display. Today's powerful chipsets are packed with graphics cards that have high GPU clock speeds and are capable of rendering images in 4k resolution, rendering 3D games, and running AR and VR apps.

Memory

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a vital component that influences how fast reading and writing processes happen. RAM is responsible for storing data from running applications. A chunk of RAM is also reserved for the primary use of the operating system. So if you want to switch around apps, you will need to have a big enough RAM to cater to such a demand. Mobile chipsets can support a lot of RAM, but manufacturers tend to limit it based on the other components. RAM has to work together with the other parts to ensure the device runs smoothly without overheating. While a higher RAM is better, you need to choose a device based on all key performance parameters of the SoC: cores, clock speed, GPU speed, etc.

Manufacturers and brands

Last but not least, you should consider the manufacturers and brands when choosing a mobile chipset. A dual-core processor clocked at 2 GHz from manufacturer X might not be the same as a dual-core processor clocked at 2GHz produced by manufacturer Y. This is because the specific technologies and architectures are different from manufacturer to manufacturer.

For laptops, Intel goes well above and beyond when it comes to processors but comes with a higher price tag compared to its competitors. However, Intel was affected in 2018 by a hardware vulnerability known as Meltdown, which contributed to AMD's rise.
According to a Forbes report:

Intel controls most of the CPU market with its share growing from 77% in 2014 to 82% in 2016, and back at 77% in 2018. AMD's share fell from 23% in 2014 to 18% in 2016, but it has been on the rise since then to 23% in 2018.

It's hard to say which brand is better, and their historic rivalry is a constant source of heated discussions among tech enthusiasts.

For Android mobile devices, Qualcomm is currently the market leader, followed by Samsung's Exynos brand, and MediaTek. For iOS devices, the chipsets developed by Apple might not impress in terms of specs, but the seamless integration of components and the outstanding software make the devices extremely performant.

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