Exynos 2100 performance – synthetic benchmarks and more


With the release of a new generation of chipsets based on the 5 nm process technology, with a different core configuration (1 + 3 + 4), the performance of smartphones has changed markedly. To evaluate these changes, it makes sense to compare real devices with similar characteristics. To do this, I took the one-year-old Galaxy S20 Ultra, as well as the just-released Galaxy S21 Ultra. Let’s take a look at the technical specifications of these chipsets.

Exynos 990 Exynos 2100
release year 2020 2021
Technological process 7 nm 5 nm
Memory  L L
Number of cores 8 8
Core diagram 2 + 2 + 4 1 + 3 + 4
Most productive core Exynos M5 ARM X1
Graphics Processor ARM Mail-G77 ARM Mail-G78

In 2021, Samsung is abandoning its own cores, ordering the chipset from ARM engineers, which looks like the right decision.

Exynos 2100 performance - synthetic benchmarks and more

The comparison of the mentioned models is correct, since both devices have the same amount of RAM, 12 GB, the same type of memory. The architecture of the processors and the combination of productive cores differ. The S21 Ultra uses a different processor cooling system, graphene film. Also the screen resolution is the same to ensure that the comparison of results is valid. The Android version is the same here and there, as well as the OneUI 3 version (in the S20 Ultra 3.0, in the S21 Ultra 3.1, which is not fundamental).

Let’s look at the difference in synthetic tests, for example, run Antutu and evaluate the difference in virtual parrots. The latest version of Antutu was used. This is the result shown by the S20 Ultra.

This is the result for the S21 Ultra.

Exynos 2100 performance - synthetic benchmarks and more

In the synthetic test, the S21 Ultra wins is obvious, there are no surprises here, we are used to the performance of processors growing year by year. Since Antutu evaluates different subsystems of a smartphone, let’s see what happens when evaluating processor performance, for this we use the GeekBench application of the fifth version.

S20 Ultra / S21 Ultra

During the tests, it is noticeable that the Exynos 990 gives a higher temperature on the case (this is not only a question of the 7 nm chipset, but also of the cooling system, its efficiency). On average, the difference is about eight degrees, which feels like a warm case. But he doesn’t burn his hands. The less the case heats up, the better, as this means longer runtime under load, and in this aspect the Exynos 2100 clearly outperforms the previous chipset. On the other hand, I tried the Note20 Ultra, which has the same processor as in the S20 Ultra, but the cooling system is the same as in the S21 Ultra. There, the difference is no longer so noticeable, the difference in heating fits into three degrees.

There is a lot of talk about the fact that Exynos processors have throttling, that is, they cannot hold the load and reduce the processor frequency. For example, the new A14 Bionic processors from Apple in ordinary tasks use throttling and reduce the brightness of the screen in the interface, there this is done to save battery power, it is pretty weak everywhere. In reproach to Samsung, they say that throttling occurs in games under prolonged load, the number of frames drops. To assess this point, you can use the CPU Trottling utility to see how both chipsets behave under load. For this, we set the standard parameters.

Exynos 2100 performance - synthetic benchmarks and more

In this test for the S20 Ultra, this is the result.

Exynos 2100 performance - synthetic benchmarks and more

For the S21 Ultra, we get the following result.

Exynos 2100 performance - synthetic benchmarks and more

The conclusion that can be drawn sounds very simple and is confirmed by the results of previous tests. The performance of the Exynos 2100 is higher, but most importantly, there is virtually no throttling under this load. In real life, if you don’t play for hours on end, everything will be about the same. But let’s look at an incredible scenario, change the concurrent computing parameter from 20 to 100 and see how these devices cope. And this is what we get.

S20 Ultra / S21 Ultra

Exynos 2100 performance - synthetic benchmarks and moreExynos 2100 performance - synthetic benchmarks and more

The conclusion that can be drawn will not appeal to those who argue that the Exynos is a very bad processor. Even in synthetic tests, it shows an excellent result, there are simply no noticeable problems here. To clear my conscience, I turn on the Call of Duty toy, turn the settings to the maximum and see what happens. The S21 Ultra consistently produces 60 fps at maximum settings, but the same was the case with previous models, there is nothing unusual here.

Interestingly, games do not change much from year to year, their performance does not keep pace with the growth of chipset performance. In total, you can find less than a dozen games that can fully load the flagship processors. How many people play them on smartphones? Not so much. How often do they do it? Occasionally. Therefore, when they begin to tell me about “bad” processors and give as proof the story of a boy who played for three hours and saw a decrease in performance, as the device warmed up, I find it funny. In real life, this problem (and if it exists!) Can affect dozens of people, most of them simply do not see anything like this.

This is an urban myth about the same series that over time Android smartphones start to slow down in the interface. I believe that you can force any smartphone to slow down, but this is not a function of the quality of the system, but of how the user clogs it and what. I don’t see any brakes in the system interface on any smartphone either at the beginning of use, or after a year.

I had no complaints about the performance of the Exynos 990, as the comparison of virtual parrots, the meticulous study of how performance may differ in different conditions, stems from a desire to get as much as possible for your money. Usually teenagers who have a lot of free time suffer from this, they really attach importance to it. An ordinary buyer, as a rule, does not suffer from this, or I have not come across such people.

The conclusions that can be drawn from the comparison of the performance of the chipsets are quite banal and lie on the surface. The transition to 5 nm made it possible to obtain greater efficiency, and the chipset heats up noticeably less. I’m not saying anything about the battery life on a single charge, but it has grown noticeably, I will dwell on this in the S21 Ultra review. For my taste, Exynos 2100 is noticeably more productive in heavy tasks, it heats up less. Another thing is whether you have the software to load this processor. Processing 8K video on the new processor is about 1.5 times faster than on the previous one, but who does this on a smartphone? Units again.

For the average user, there won’t be any difference in performance between the chipsets that can be felt and understood. Another thing is that behind this hides other video capabilities, greater stability in games when you spend hours on end in them, and so on. But in short, we can say that both processors are excellent and show themselves well in everyday life. At the same time, my vote is for the Exynos 2100 for one simple reason: it gives a longer battery life on a single charge (on average, my device lasts two days with 8-9 hours of screen operation).

But I am sure that many will once again hear about the bad Exynos simply because they talked about it somewhere. One boy heard from another boy who knows exactly the boy who tried, and for him Exynos showed itself from the worst side. You can believe it, but why? Try it yourself, evaluate and see.

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