Need a mid-range phone that can deliver great performance?
Then all you need to do is to choose a phone with the fastest processor. Today, we put three of the most popular mobile processors against each other, the HiSilicon Kirin 659, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 and the Snapdragon 630.
Smartphones like the Redmi Note 5 Pro, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1, Huawei Honor 7x, Honor 9i and the 2018 variant of Nokia 6 are dominating the mid-range segment. There are a number of factors that you need to consider before you purchase one of them and in this article, we will discuss the performance of those devices.
This in-depth guide will surely help you out in picking up the phone that can give you the best performance. So, without any further delay, let’s dive right into it!
Pros. and Cons. of Each Chip
Pros. and Cons. of Each Chip
Let’s first have a look at the Kirin 659. Thanks to the higher clock speeds of the CPU, the performance is good for any general task but sadly it only has the Cortex-A53 cores. These cores aren’t bad or anything as such, but when we compare it with a processor like Snapdragon 636, the difference is huge. And this becomes a bigger deal when we know that Snapdragon 636 devices are priced similar to it.
This System-On-Chip uses 16nm Manufacturing Process and it is well optimized for Huawei Phones. Normal gaming performance is okay but the GPU is not good enough to handle heavy games.
With the Snapdragon 636, the only con I could observe is its low clock speed. But I didn’t find it worth mentioning in the above table. This is simply because even at lower clock speeds, it can outperform any CPU running on the Cortex-A53 Cores. It delivers exceptional performance and is very promising when it comes to gaming. The RAM on this chip is faster (LPDDR4X) and this SOC doesn’t consume too much battery either.
Snapdragon 630 comes somewhere between these two. It has fast memory and a good GPU but lacks the performance of Kryo 260 cores that are present in Snapdragon 636. In fact, 630 is just a slightly upgraded variant of Snapdragon 625 while the 636 is a downgraded variant of SD 660.
Now, let’s move forward into the specifications of these chips.
|Kirin 659||Snapdragon 636||Snapdragon 630|
|CPU Bit Architecture||64-bit||64-bit||64-bit|
|Fabrication Tech||16nm FinFET||14nm FinFET||14nm FinFET|
|No. of Cores||8||8||8|
|Core Type||ARM Cortex-A53||Kryo 260 (Cortex-A73 + Cortex-A53)||ARM Cortex-A53|
|CPU Frequency||4x 2.36 GHz + 4x 1.7 GHz||4x 1.8 GHz + 4x 1.6 GHz||4x 2.2 GHz + 4x 1.8 GHz|
|Graphics Processor||ARM Mali-T830 MP2||Adreno 509||Adreno 508|
|Modem||LTE Cat. 6||LTE Cat. 7 (X12 LTE)||LTE Cat. 7 (X12 LTE)|
All the three chips perform well in terms of power efficiency, but SD 630 and 636 have a slight edge due to the 14nm FinFET Process. You can visit Computer Hope if you’re interested to learn about the FinFET technology.
Do you know? Lower the nanometer number, the smaller is the semiconductor and the less power it consumes. Hence 14nm is better than 16nm and 10nm is better than 14nm.
All three of these are Octa-Core Processors. The Kirin 659 and Snapdragon 630 have Cortex-A53 cores with a maximum clock rate of 2.36 GHz and 2.2 GHz respectively. While the Snapdragon 636 has the Kryo 260 cores. The Kryo 260 architecture is a customized architecture by Qualcomm that includes a combination of ARM Cortex-A73 and Cortex-A53 CPUs. The maximum CPU frequency for this SOC is 1.8 GHz.
Guess What? Kryo 260 is 40% powerful than the Cortex-A53.
In HiSilicon 659, we have the ARM Mali-T830 MP2 Graphics Accelerator which is not too good for intensive gaming. While the Adreno 508 and 509 GPUs present in these Qualcomm processors can handle any game you throw at them.
Let’s now jump right into the actual comparison.
Kirin 659 vs Snapdragon 636 vs 630
Kirin 659 vs Snapdragon 636 vs 630
It will make more sense if I divide the comparison into various different parts and declare the winner in each section. The simple reason why I’m doing this due to the fact that everyone uses their phones in different ways. So, if you’re not someone who plays a lot of games on his or her smartphones, you can easily ignore the gaming aspect of these chips.
Without any doubt, Antutu and GeekBench are two of the most popular benchmarking apps on smartphones. And here we have scores from both the tools.
Do Benchmarks Matter? There’s no perfect tool that can reflect the real world performance of any hardware. Everyone uses their phones in different ways and solely on the basis of these scores, we cannot conclude which chip is better. We can only decide it when we actually perform real-world tasks on a phone and see how well it responds. Nevertheless, with benchmarks, we can at least get an idea of the raw performance of these chips as these tools use the same set of methods and algorithms on every processor for determining its performance.
The Snapdragon 636 achieves a huge score of 113,004 points. Any mid-range chip that can cross 100k on Antutu is most likely to be incredibly powerful. And all this was made possible due to the powerful Cortex-A53 CPU cores. The other two chips are much closer to each other and the slight difference in those two scores is mainly due to the slight difference in CPU frequencies. The devices to which these scores belong to are Huawei Honor 7X, Motorola Moto X4, and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Kirin 659: 73,416 (Huawei Honor 7X)
Snapdragon 636: 113,004 (Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro)
Snapdragon 630: 69,786 (Motorola Moto X4)
2. GeekBench 4
i) Single Core
Once again, we can see SD 636 dominating the benchmarks. The differences in these scores can actually be correlated with the Antutu scores and you’ll observe that the ratio is more or less the same. The devices used in this test are same as the ones used earlier in the Antutu test.
Kirin 659: 914 (Huawei Honor 7X)
Snapdragon 636: 1,339 (Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro)
Snapdragon 630: 876 (Motorola Moto X4)
Now here the things get really interesting. In the Multi-Core test, Kirin 659 is far behind the other two. Some of the devices running on this processor even touched a score of 3,500, but they didn’t get any closer to the SD 630. Snapdragon 636 is clearly dominating the chart once again.
Kirin 659: 3,261 (Huawei Honor 7X)
Snapdragon 636: 4,831 (Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro)
Snapdragon 630: 4,157 (Motorola Moto X4)
There are so many different factors that can contribute to the CPU Performance. Some of the major ones are chip’s Architecture, Fabrication Process, Number of Cores, and the Clock Frequency. The Architecture and the Fabrication technology play the biggest role in Single-Thread performance but the number of cores plays a role in Multi-Threaded performance. And obviously, higher the clock frequency, greater will be the throughput.
The number of cores is the same in these three processors and there is not any significant difference in the fabrication process either. Now, in the clock speeds, Kirin 659 dominates but in the architecture, Snapdragon 636 dominates due to the Cortex-A73 powered Kryo 260 architecture. However, the difference in the two architectures easily overcomes the difference in clock rates. Snapdragon 636 is more responsive and can do the computation faster.
For any general smartphone users, all three of them will do their jobs quite well and you won’t observe any significant difference in the performance unless you compare the phones side-by-side. I can assure that you will not face any lags in basic phones usage.
The manufacturing process plays the biggest role in deciding the power efficiency of a chip. All these three chipsets do quite well in this category. But the 636 and 630 have a slight edge in this section due to the 14nm Technique. Also, the architecture can also play a role here but the difference is not that significant so I’m not taking that into the account.
Why should you bother about Power Efficiency? The more power efficient a chip is, the less battery it consumes. Hence, a more efficient processor delivers better battery life.
For anyone who plays a lot of games, you cannot simply make the mistake of choosing a phone with Kirin 659. The ARM Mali-T830 MP2 is not made for hardcore gaming on a 1080p device. Both these Qualcomm chips have a far better GPU that can handle all the heavy games. But even in this case, I’ll recommend the Snapdragon 636 because the Adreno 509 GPU is slightly better than the Adreno 508. Also, CPU plays a role too in the gaming and we are already aware that which of these SOCs have the best CPU.
Chip Level Optimization
Do you know? HiSilicon, the semiconductor company that manufactures Kirin chips is owned by Huawei. So, Huawei can optimize the chip easily as per their smartphone’s hardware and Operating System. The same case is with the Samsung Exynos Chips as they are generally designed and optimized in such a way to give a better user experience.
I’m not saying that Snapdragon chips aren’t well optimized or anything as such. But simply because these chips power phones from various different OEMs running different customized versions of Android, the level of optimization is not same as the in-house chips like Kirin, Exynos, Surge, and Apple’s A series.
The Snapdragon chips we have used in this comparison have a faster Modem and RAM. Though all these three support VoLTE, the Snapdragon also has the Dual VoLTE feature in which you can use two VoLTE enabled SIM Cards at the same time.
Also, if you’re someone who likes to flash custom kernels and ROMs on their devices, I’ll recommend getting a Snapdragon chip as they are more developer friendly and genrally get better support due to the kernel sources availability.
We all know which processor clearly dominated this whole comparison and we can finally call it the king of midrange processors.
I always emphasize the fact that there are a number of factors that you need to look into before you buy a new phone. No doubt, the processor plays the biggest role but you simply cannot ignore the other factors.
Ask yourself, “What are your primary requirements? Is it the Battery life? Or phone’s design? Or the Camera performance?”
There’s nothing like the best phone at a particular price. The best phone is the one which is fulfilling all your requirements and provides a good value for your money.
All three of these chips are good in their own ways. But Snapdragon 636 gets a little closer to the flagship grade performance and is the best choice in terms of performance. For a higher budget, you can also look into Snapdragon 660 devices.
In my opinion, most of the popular Snapdragon 630 devices aren’t worth it because they are priced extremely high even though their performance level is far below SD 636 phones. The MediaTek Helio P60 is another good chip for mid-range smartphones, do check out our review of the same.
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List of Phones Having These Processors
List of Phones Having These Processors
Here is the list of all the popular smartphones that are powered by these chips. Choose the one that fulfiils all your requirements.
Hope you liked this comparison between Kirin 659 vs Snapdragon 636 vs 630. Feel free to ask in the comments if you need help in picking the right smartphone for you (Don’t forget to mention your budget and the primary needs).