AT&T One X benchmarks pit Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 against NVIDIA Tegra 3

Don't tell Jerry or Phil -- you know how they feel about benchmarks -- but superscientific in our HTC One X forums managed to sneak some head-to-head benchmarks between an AT&T HTC One X that was on display, and his own Tegra 3-powered international HTC One X. 

Dude runs Quadrant, Nenamark 2 and Linpack, and there's a little back and forth over which one fares better in specific tests.

Now, you never know with demo units in stores -- we've seen them get all sorts of fouled up. But this video might well show you what to expect when the AT&T One X finally is available next week.

This changing anyone's mind over whether dual core isn't as good as quad core?

More: HTC One X forums

  • So basically the S4 is a beast.
  • Not a big difference really. Some people like the sound of Quadcord. Can't wait to pick mine up.
  • seriously, i have been saying that the only reason people care about having the T3 over the S4 is to say that they have a quad-core
  • Personally, this go around, all I am interesed in are chips with integrated LTE, so the S4 looks fine by me. That said, their is a reality that some of the more intensive games have "Tegra-optimized" versions that allow for more impressive visuals. That isn't to say that other phones/tablets couldn't run the heavier version, but the fact remains the Tegra devices get the bumped up version. -Suntan
  • Definitely going to swap out my Note for the One X.
  • Man wish I had the funds to swap phones that frequently. What's the note like 2 months old, lol.
  • I got the Note from Best Buy and since I'm a Silver Premier member I get the 45 day return. I told the sales associate that I would be back in 45 days if the One X was to drop. I played around with it at the AT&T store, and the camera alone has sold me on that phone. The Note shutter lag causes me to miss a lot of good pictures of my new son.
  • Note too big?... One X feels great in hand. It's weird but it has a better feel than my Gnex as far as actually holding the phone properly...
  • That's odd, the GNex and One X have virtually identical measurements... It must be the way the sides are rounded off or something. Unless you're speaking more to build quality than ergonomics. The One X probably feels more solid since it's made outta one piece of plastic, not sure that actually makes it more durable tho (probably transfers more shock to the display/insides during a drop, altho material thickness also plays into that). I'm curious to see how the EVO 4G LTE will feel compared to the X... Virtually identical measurements but one has a plastic unibody and the other is mostly aluminum save for an ugly/glossy antenna/microSD lid (it's not a metal unibody design tho, pretty sure the side ring isn't part of the back).
  • From what I understand, the Evo LTE is, indeed, a one-piece aluminum unibody. The antenna/SD card cover just slides onto it.
  • The underlying question here are these benchmark apps optimized for quad core devices? You have to remember that the majority of the market are single and duel core devices. If they are not optimized then it would be expected for the S4 to win. Just as a reference I prefer the snapdragon line over the Tegra. Worked great in my only DInc.
  • It would actually be more realistic is they were not optimized since Apps aren't optimized yet.
  • I agree. The issue is testing overall performance. When it comes to 99% of the apps on the market the S4 would be the probably perform better. As more manufactures release phones with more cores, developers will begin to optimize their apps accordingly. I guess what I'm getting at is that the S4 on current market is the winner but what about performance longevity, with future apps?
  • The vast majority of apps will never be very multithreaded (that is, highly optimized for lots of cores), and S4 is significantly faster clock for clock, so S4 will likely hold up better. On the other hand, if you're dealing with a really heavy app that's very multithreaded, it's possible Tegra 3 can pull ahead (an advanced photo editor with layers and CPU intensive effects would be an example). Highly threaded apps are still the minority tho, even on desktop PCs. Most programs just don't need the extra cores and it's also not a walk in the park to write multi threaded code, the human mind just doesn't think in that kind of parallel way. Android itself has been optimized for multiple cores even before ICS but the amount of true multi tasking that we do on phones is limited (usually a matter of background downloads, etc), still it's also plausible extra cores would pull ahead in some multi tasking scenarios tho. What kinda longevity are you looking for anyway? In a year's time something else will have creamed both SoCs, probably by whomever shrinks down a quad A15 part for phones first. The whole core count argument will be moot at that point, everyone will simply go quad regardless of base core design.
  • As a programmer, I can vouch that multi-threading is a time consuming pain in the ass. If an application will not see that great of an improvement by multi-threading, then it is not worth even considering.
  • It is pretty unlikely that any applications, other than games, will ever make much use of four threads at once. For a phone, which is typically a single-user, one-thing-at-a-time type device, having faster fewer cores will always be better than more slower cores.
  • AMEN
  • Question is, why would HTC go with the quad core tegra 3 in lieu of the S4? If performance is better or equal to the other, why bother?
  • To be first to the market with a quad core phone. They know that the SGS3 would be quad core, so why not beat them to it and sell a few more phones? You would lose a lot of sales internationally if your flagship had a dual core and the competitor shows up with a quad core, somewhat regardless of end user experience.
  • The average consumer doesn't give a rat's @ss about quad cores or dual cores nor do they know anything about them or what's inside their phones. People don't buy phone based on the number of cores. If you ask them about it they may think your talking about beer.
  • The average consumer sees a bigger number and instantly thinks better. I remember when I worked at Best Buy and MB Pros still had 2GB of RAM when PCs started moving up to 4GB. Trying to explain to customers that a bigger number in one thing does not necessarily mean a better product was like pulling teeth. If you put two phones up and a sign next to one that says "4 CORES!" and a sign next to one that says "2 CORES!", the majority of consumers will assume the bigger number is better, even if they have absolutely no idea what a core is, what it does, or what that even means.
  • The average dumb consumer may see that the iPhone has 2 cores and the One has 4, making it "better" for some reason. I'm fine with the dual cores we had before the one came out, but if clock for clock they pack more punch, even better. I hate the pissing match the manufacturers are trying to do. Let's have a 24 core 18 inch phone! Yeah, it's bigger all around! Of course, the only thing HTC is scared to make decent is the storage size. That 24 core 18 inch phone will only have 7.25GB of storage in the US.
  • they could also be hedging against supply chain issues.
  • Samsung did the same thing last year with various US SGS2 phones (when they needed LTE and/or HSPA+). The reason is probably a combination of the two replies above, marketing and economics/supply. Manufacturers source displays from multiple manufacturers all the time (even for the same phone, even for wildly popular phones), a SoC isn't much different if the manufacturer is congruent both parts will lead to a similar user experience. One of the two SoCs might be cheaper (in theory it'd be S4 since it's smaller), one might be in tighter supply (again, in theory that'd be S4 since it's newer and built on a process with lower yields at the moment), etc etc. I'm sure marketing also factors into it to a certain degree. People don't seem to understand that comparing these two parts is like comparing an Intel Core 2 Quad and an Intel dual core i5.
  • My guess is it's due to the limited supply of the S4 due to TSMC's 28nm shortage.
  • "This changing anyone's mind over whether dual core isn't as good as quad core?" Doubts it, fanboys like to deal in small numbers. They see 4 > 2 and they get all giddy and excited and wet themselves. It's adorable really, like a puppy who can't control his bladder when master gets home from work.
  • I noticed in the video that while the s4 peaked out some of the fps scores it appeared the tegra 3 mainained a more constant fps and smoother animations in the benchmarks. Either way i will not be disappointed in the EVOLTE.
  • S4 CPU is Krait not A15. Qualcomm designs it's own CPUs as opposed to buying a design from ARM (i.e. A8, A9, A15).
  • You got to it before I could! There was an article about this on or extreme tech a few months back when the S4 was announced.
  • You got to it before I could! There was an article about this on or extreme tech a few months back when the S4 was announced.
  • Not quite, Qualcomm actually licenses ARM's full design ask they have the freedom to modify it at will as opposed to just building around it (adding a GPU, etc.). They're the only Android SoC manufacturer that does this, which is probably what allowed them to bring an A15 based design to market sooner than anyone else despite falling slightly behind during last year's SoC spec race.
  • That is not correct. QC licenses the ISA not the design, the right to make an ARM CPU. GPU is different. You can also license a GPU design from them as well (Mali), which Samsung does in Exynos. TI, NV, Apple for example only license the CPU (A9 currently) and provide another GPU design in their SoC (PVR, NV and PVR respectively).
  • Did I read the MSRP Retail price right? Did it say $399.99 or was that for a tablet that was being displayed next to it? Does anyone know the retail price in the AT&T store?
  • The retail price is $549 at at&t off contract. that $399 you're seeing is for a beats Bluetooth speaker.
  • Thank you. I appreciate that.
  • As per AT&T's website, it was around $550 off contract if I so remember.
  • Also, CPU core count should not have much affect on a well written GPU benchmark (in response to the Nenamark comment). You really want to compare the architecture of the GPU (Adreno 225 vs Tegra3 GPU).
  • Anyone with a clue has known for a while now that the S4 / Krait SoC is at least on par with Tegra 3 in most scenarios, if not slightly ahead. This isn't news, Anandtech posted way more Krait tests at the start of the year using Qualcomm's dev platform, the writing was on the wall since then. S4 is built on a smaller more efficient process (28nm vs 40nm) and it's based on a much more advanced ARM design (A15 vs A9), plus it has LTE radios built in making it an obvious choice for the US market. Other SoC manufacturers won't have A15 designs until end of year or early next year so they're doing the next best thing, raising the core count. S4 will probably be very competitive with the Quad Exynos too (another quad A9 design, built on a 32nm process), the only real advantage Exynos might have is in GPU performance. S4 is currently being built with an old Adreno GPU that's just clocked twice as fast as it was on S3 (which is evidently still enough to outpace NV's design). The only real mystery surrounding S4 is whether Samsung will indeed be using it in the US and whether all the increased efficiency actually leads to markedly better LTE battery life than past LTE devices. If Samsung is going with S4 in the US because of the integrated radios and they don't announce tentative release windows on May 3 then I wouldn't expect the SGS3 US variants anytime soon, S4 chip supply is already pretty tight... Of course the tight supply could very well be because Samsung has already sourced the parts for their US phones, which would be great... More choices is always a good thing.
  • I've always had good experiences with Qualcomm chip based phones, and I think Quad core on a phone isn't all it's cracked up to be, at least not yet.
    The S4 looks to have lower power consumption and has integrated LTE (Better battery life is the most important factor for my next phone, I'm a verizon LTE user) and extremely impressive results compared to quad-core phones. The newer A15 SoC's are the thing that sets it apart, personally I'm up for an upgrade in November and the S4 is my preference as far as SoC's goes, of course they are both great SoC's, I'd pick up a Quad core phone if I like it better than a S4 phone and it had good LTE battery life.
  • why is the one on the left bigger i thought they were the same phone with different cpu?
  • It's sitting on a plastic stand of some sort so it is closer to the camera that is being used to film, which makes it look bigger.
  • I'm sorry if I sound like a douche but isn't the phone of the person in the video a One S??? Cause last I remember both the international version and at&t version of the one X are the same size???
  • They're the same size in the video... Just angled differently at times.
  • Tricky tricky =]
  • Are children small, or just far away? Science! Distance, how does it work.
  • I remember Tegra 2 was the first dual core SOC to the market also...And it turned out to be a bit crap. Seems to me that NVIDIA kind of rushes their SOCs to the market without making sure they work properly with LTE which is kind of important to the market. I wonder if a similar thing would happen to mobile SOCs like what occured with laptop CPUs. Quad-core designs on laptops are great on the workstation class machine, while dual-cores are optimal for general-purpose computing and ultrabooks (thin and light form factors). After all, how much CPU power does a phone need? Apple managed to get iOS running on a single core A8 chip (iPhone 4), and so did Windows mobile 7 (snapdragon single core). On a dual core iphone 4s, the usability increase is not monumental at all. When will we reach a point when software optimization will become more important than throwing as many cores as possible at the task? Back when dual core SOCs were just coming out there was this big talk about how dual-core CPUs will improve power efficiency and increase battery life. This pitch in my opinion never really materialized. Dual core phones remained just as power hungry as early single cores. The thing that brought about better battery life was physically increasing the capacity of the battery. Now there is similar talk about how quad cores are going to save our batteries. I just dont see how it is going to happen.
  • Tegra 3 can work with LTE radios, that isn't the problem... NV even bought a company for it's wireless radio IP (something every other SoC manufacturer has done in the last year). This issue has been wildly mischaracterized by the media as some sort of design flaw. The reality is it was just a design decision, S4 isn't being picked up for the US market because it "plays" better with LTE, S4 has LTE radios already BUILT IN which makes it more efficient and cheaper to produce a phone around of (you save yourself one radio processor). Same thing happened last year with S3 and Exynos inside certain SGS3 variants, and rumor is it's gonna happen again with the quad Exynos. Now as to why NV and/or Samsung made the decision not to build LTE into the SoC, that's more complicated but it probably has more to do with market economics and logistics than technical issues... Altho S4 is being built on the smallest process amongst those three SoCs (28nm vs 32mm & 40nm), which along with the lower core count gives Qualcomm more room to build stuff in (literally more physical room in the chip die).
  • It's actually more complicated than that. The S3 processors did not have LTE built in yet they worked fine with external LTE basebands. Same with the iPad 3. The problem is that up until very recently, Qualcomm was the only supplier of multi-mode LTE basebands and in order to facilitate the increased chip-to-chip data interface (LTE data rates can get pretty high) they moved to a new chip-to-chip communication standard which doesn't work with the old SDIO interfaces that Exynos and Tegra used. This mean the LTE baseband couldn't communicate with Tegra 2 and for some reason, nVidia left out the new interface for Tegra 3 as well. That being said, as other manufacturers of multi-mode LTE basebands start shipping their chips that can use the older SDIO protocol, Tegra 3 will be able to be paired with it. But that won't be from Qualcomm, which happens to be just about what everyone's using for LTE. I suspect that upcoming chips such as Exynos 5 will begin supporting these higher-data rate buses. There's even a rumor that quad Exynos 4215 will have a built-in LTE radio.
  • Tegra 2 had two problems, it was clocked slower than every other SoC last year (1GHz vs 1.2-1.5GHz) and NV stupidly decided to omit the NEON instruction set which led to all kinds of problems, most notably a four or six month wait before Skype video chat made it into any Tegra 2 device (including tablets, my EVO 3D could video chat a good 4 months before my Transformer tablet, so wrong). Lack of NEON also affected video playback etc. I agree NV has been rushing designs to market... That's their strategy tho. On the desktop space they crushed 3dfx early on by executing faster and refreshing designs at a breakneck pace. I'm not saying I agree with it tho, so far I don't think they've really out-executed anyone, they've just managed to launch earlier the last two years and partially win the marketing war (first to market, dev incentives for specialized Tegra versions of games, etc).
  • Anyone know if the CPU was underclocked due to it running on battery?
  • if an engineer designs a phone to underclock when running on battery, i would say they need to have their head examined. Who in the world uses their phone when it is plugged in? If anything thats when the phone should underclock, because during that time it just idles on the charger.
  • I know it is a different beast but if I play a game on my laptop using battery the performance is worse than if it is plugged in even if I have the power saver settings all turned off.
  • You would never know in day to day use. The video was well done.
  • IMO Jerry or someone at AC should take the time to write an article every year concerning current SoC designs, the way they're built, the GPUs, radios etc. Just a way of pointing out the broad strokes differences... There's often FAR too many misconceptions and perpetuated myths amongst readers and seemingly even amongst some of the editors. (no offense to anyone) Anandtech does a really good job of this but they go into an extreme level of technical detail that I think flies over most average reader's head (hell I'm in computer engineering and I still don't fully grasp the entirety of their articles sometimes). Maybe it's time for a SoC design guide forum post? Hmm... Oh and at the end of the day the winner between Tegra 3, S4, and Exynos won't be whichever's fastest imo... The true winner will be whichever one's most power efficient (from a user standpoint) and whichever one ends up in the most phones (from a designer standpoint). We're still missing Texas Instrument's quad or A15 variant too.
  • lol. I got to meet Anand the week before last. Mind. Blown. :)
  • Hah, nice! Their battery life testing is also second to none... I can make a judgement on my own on most things regarding a new phone but their battery life tests are invaluable, I wish more sites did that kind of directly comparable testing... Specially because AT reviews are so in depth they're often months behind new releases, think they've only got two editors on phone reviews.
  • I, for one, was really happy when I heard we were getting the S4. Really, the Tegra 3 is meant more for tablets rather than phones. I would take modern architecture over an older, powerful architecture any day, even if it meant half the cores. The S4 should provide better battery life thanks to the 28nm process along with the more advanced architecture. As seen in the benchmarks, the S4 trades blows with the Tegra 3, and frankly thats good enough for me - I feel like my S3-based GS2 Skyrocket is quite fast, so since these phones are almost twice as fast, speed isn't a concern for me. Battery life is more important nowadays.
  • Thanks for the vid. I personally prefer the S4 processor. Faster in single and multi threaded tasks, should have better n
    Battery performance too.
  • I was planning to get the International One X because i dont have unlimited data on AT&T anyway to enjoy LTE. I was hoping to come back to T-Mobile when they refarm their 1900 frequency for AWS so u can get T-Mobile's HSPA on any GSM phone, including the Tegra 3 One X. Currently, if a phone doesnt support the 1700 frequency, you cant get 3G data on T-Mobile.
  • why does one of those phones look bigger than the other? edit: nevermind