Smartphone ray tracing benchmarks: Exynos beats Snapdragon

Basemark In Vitro Benchmark results page

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Smartphone ray tracing is in its early phases, however with supported silicon anticipated to be onboard just about all 2023 flagship smartphones, it’s quickly to be a notable issue when gauging high-end efficiency. Particularly for individuals who are into the newest and best cellular video games.

Though benchmarks are by no means good, they’re a great tool for judging comparative efficiency. Basemark has simply such a device in its new In Vitro GPU take a look at suite and kindly offered a replica to Android Authority. We’ve grabbed a few ray-tracing-capable telephones to see what they will do.

What does In Vitro take a look at?

Basemark In Vitro ray tracing benchmark screenshot

Earlier than we dive into the outcomes, it’s vital to notice what In Vitro does and doesn’t inform us in regards to the efficiency it measures. Basemark’s benchmark is designed with 3D content material that resembles a extremely demanding cellular sport, specializing in lighting, fashions, and particulars, fairly than animations or open-world rendering.

As for rendering, In Vitro makes use of ray tracing solely to enhance the standard of reflections. Different scene components, akin to lighting and shadows, use conventional rendering (rasterization). So whereas this benchmark offers us an excellent have a look at a hybrid rendering workload that can seemingly be employed in upcoming cellular titles, it doesn’t give us the total image of how a telephone’s GPU would deal with mixed ray tracing for lighting, shadows, and reflections.

Basemark’s In Vitro is the primary smartphone ray tracing benchmark.

In Vitro supplies a number of take a look at choices. “Official” produces essentially the most comparable outcomes, all the time rendering at 1080p to take away machine decision from the equation. The “Official Native” runs the take a look at at full decision, must you need to see how the machine’s show impacts efficiency. There are additionally Customized and Expertise Mode choices. To run the benchmark, units should assist {hardware} ray tracing, Android 12 or later, Vulkan 1.1 or newer, ETC2 compression, and have at the very least 3GB of unified reminiscence. This guidelines out 2022 smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 sequence or Dimensity 9000, as they lack ray tracing capabilities.

For our take a look at, we used the Official setting and a customized go to run the identical take a look at 20 occasions in a row to gauge longer session efficiency.

Smartphone ray tracing benchmarks

There are presently solely two cellular SoCs that assist the mandatory ray tracing {hardware} and Vulkan API to run In Vitro — the Samsung Exynos 2200 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Regardless of seemingly supporting the identical expertise, each accomplish this utilizing completely different {hardware}. Samsung partnered with graphics large AMD to deliver its RDNA 2 structure to the Xclipse 920 GPU discovered within the Exynos 2200. In the meantime, Qualcomm has added ray racing capabilities to its in-house Adreno 740 GPU.

To place these two to the take a look at, we put in In Vitro on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Extremely and Redmagic Professional 8. The latter was working Chinese language software program (a worldwide launch occurred in mid-January) however introduced no issues putting in and working the benchmark. Let’s get to the outcomes.

Maybe unexpectedly, the older Exynos 2200 arms in superior common efficiency in Basemark’s smartphone ray tracing benchmark than the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. That mentioned, the 8 Gen 2 is ready to hit greater peak FPS but in addition suffers from decrease lows. Watching the benchmark in real-time, it’s clear that the Snapdragon 8 Gen runs sooner with fewer reflections on display and actually struggles because the benchmark ramps up the reflections close to the top.

Snapdragon wins at conventional rasterization however falls behind Exynos in ray tracing scenes.

Simply to make certain, we ran the benchmark a number of occasions utilizing the assorted Redmagic efficiency and fan modes and achieved the identical outcomes every time. There isn’t a efficiency problem with the telephone, so far as we will inform, the Redmagic 8 Professional flies previous the S22 Extremely in most different benchmarks we ran. The Redmagic 8 Professional can be working a more moderen model of the Vulkan API than the Galaxy, 1.3.128 and 1.1.179 respectively, so software program assist isn’t the difficulty. Vulkan launched ray tracing assist in model 1.1. We additionally confirmed our outcomes with Basemark’s inside testing.

It genuinely seems just like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is inferior in the case of ray tracing capabilities. At the least on this benchmark.

To finish our first ray tracing benchmarking periods, we ran each telephones by way of a 20-run stress take a look at. We left Redmagic 8 Professional’s fan off right here to even the enjoying discipline. As we already know, the Exynos 2200 offers up efficiency even in only a brief take a look at. That mentioned, it survived an honest 17 runs earlier than folding in half. We noticed nearly a 14% decline in efficiency after 5 runs, a 26% drop by run 15, and a 54% flatline come to the top of the take a look at.

Regardless of its worse efficiency in absolute phrases, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is extra constant. Nonetheless, its efficiency noticeably wobbled just a little sooner than the Exynos chip. We noticed a worrying 20% deviation between peak and worst efficiency within the first 5 runs. The chip finally ends up settling at that decrease efficiency degree by run 10, which isn’t as dangerous as Samsung’s chip in proportion phrases.

Each SoCs battle to keep up peak efficiency in a ray tracing stress take a look at.

Clearly, stress testing is a demanding workload that neither chip handles brilliantly. Qualcomm wins out in long-term consistency, however Samsung’s chip nonetheless retained a wholesome actual efficiency lead till the final two runs of our stress take a look at.

For completeness, yow will discover our full benchmark outcomes for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered Redmagic 8 Professional under (max efficiency). In a nutshell, Geekbench 5 and 3DMark are proper round what we noticed from the Qualcomm reference unit benchmarks. Nevertheless, PCMark scores nearer to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, suggesting that day-to-day efficiency may not really feel all that completely different.

Exynos bests Snapdragon at ray tracing, for now

Samsung Exynos branding

Whereas these outcomes would possibly seem surprising at first look, they’re not solely sudden. As we highlighted throughout 2022’s quite a few ray tracing bulletins, there are numerous intricacies in ray tracing {hardware} that have an effect on each characteristic capabilities and efficiency. Even when a GPU is quicker at conventional rasterization, it doesn’t essentially translate into higher ray tracing efficiency, as noticed right here.

Qualcomm is ranging from scratch with its ray tracing efforts and retains most of its Adreno GPU particulars a intently guarded secret. What we do know is that it accelerates ray-box and ray-triangle intersections, full with Bounding Quantity Hierarchical (BVH) acceleration. However Qualcomm declined to touch upon precisely the way it arrange its newest Adreno GPU cores and the way deep ray tracing integration goes. The GPU is clearly a powerhouse for conventional rendering however might have comparatively trimmed-down ray tracing capabilities.

Distinctive devoted ray tracing {hardware} makes it more durable than ever to check cellular GPUs.

In the meantime, Samsung leveraged the experience of AMD and its RDNA 2 structure, present in its PC graphics playing cards and video games consoles, for the Xclipse 920 GPU. We all know that RDNA 2 handles intersections and BVH in every compute unit. We aren’t 100% certain of the tremendous particulars, however die photographs point out three dual-shader cores onboard, for a complete of six ray tracing crunching models. It’d find yourself being a little bit of a disgrace that every one of Samsung’s Galaxy S23 telephones look to be Snapdragon-powered this 12 months, as it might be fascinating to see how a second-generation Xclipse GPU shakes out.

That’s all fairly speculative although, so we received’t dwell on it. Likewise, it’s solely attainable that ray tracing efficiency might enhance on both or each handsets with future driver updates, and that rival telephones might carry out higher. We additionally don’t but have any reference but for a way In Vitro compares to real-world sport efficiency, the primary of which must be touchdown in the marketplace early this 12 months. Cell ray tracing remains to be in its infancy, in spite of everything, and far of this may not matter a lot if in style titles don’t embrace ray tracing for a lot of extra years.