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Old July 5th, 2012, 01:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by breezex View Post
What defines a Galaxy S III ? We already know some have a quad processor (Exynos) and some a dual (Snapdragon S4), there are two camera modules being used (Sony and Samsung), 1GB or 2GB of RAM, Wolfson or Samsung sound chip, different radios, ........ The only common attributes seem to be the screen with Gorilla Glass 2, the plastic housing and the "Galaxy S III" logo on the battery cover.

So it all boils down to this, "It's a Galaxy S III because the back cover says so."
Sillygoose! That's kind of a negative nanny way of putting it. It's not a Samsung sound chip anyways ... it's a Qualcomm chip:

Samsung Galaxy S3 features a Wolfson audio chip, but not in North America

We don't have real concrete info on the Qualcomm DAC yet, but I would wager it's a fair bit better than the Yamaha in the Galaxy S II variants. In addition, all the S3's are shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich skinned with Samsung's most streamlined and up-to-date TouchWiz interface, which is actually quite smooth, polished, and downright functional as far as skins go. As a Sense user and a TouchWiz user, I would take TouchWiz and its custom apps over HTC's ANY DAY. It hasn't always been this way, but TouchWiz has outpaced HTC, despite both skins improving.

So beyond the same screen and same shell, and same microphones, and mostly the same cameras (all versions tested have overwhelmingly positive reviews on the cameras), you've also got the same apps and under the hood OS enhancements from Samsung and advancement of ICS, which is still only on a small percentage of handsets worldwide. They both also have the same reasonably strong speakerphones and noise cancelling microphones and the same 2100 battery.

Take a look:

Quad-Core Galaxy S III vs Dual-Core Galaxy S III - YouTube

Both devices are so similar in real usage that almost no one will ever miss the quad core. Apps are still not even maxing the Adreno 225. Yes, the new Mali is a better GPU, and the quad version is capable of faster benchmark scores (provided the benchmark provides multi-core support, which will also apply to app performance!) However, Krait is no slouch. It's a very mature, speedy, and battery efficient platform. It's cost effective as well, which means many of us can purchase a $200 top-tier device rather than the $300 trend many high end smartphones have followed on their release day. Razr release day price? $300. Galaxy Nexus? $300. HTC Rezound? $300. Their price eventually reduced, but the 16GB Galaxy S III goes for $200 with most U.S. carriers (on contract pricing.) I doubt Exynos has the kind of availability too meet such competitive prices with U.S. and European markets combined. I am very happy to pay $200 for this instead of $300, and I'm still getting the Cadillac of all dual core processors. Krait (S4) leaves all current gen dual cores in the dust.

While the A9 is a very power efficient core, Krait offers a much wider front end, wider execution back end, faster FPU and an improved cache/memory interface. All of these factors together combined with similar clock speeds to what Tegra 3 is able to hit should result in better absolute performance in single or lightly threaded applications.
Single threaded floating point performance is obviously a strength of the MSM8960 and Krait. Qualcomm tells us that Krait is able to multi-issue floating point instructions, something that the Cortex A9 cannot do. The MSM8960 memory controller also appears to be more efficient than previous designs, contributing to the magnitude of the win here.
Qualcomm's strengths are clearly single/lightly threaded CPU performance as Krait is able to offer some significant steps forward in that department. Tegra 3 can hold onto an advantage in heavily threaded apps, but I'm not entirely convinced that in phones we'll see a lot of that.
This is the key, here, and this is the usage model that 99% of us will throw at the phone most of the time, and even when loading multiple heavy apps, the U.S. S III is not known to lag noticeably more than the international, and 2GB of memory obviously contributes to that. Raw multithreaded benchmark scores, and the GPU are the only areas where you will see notable differences, and they still are not perceivable by the end user.

Look to the following links and read up a bit for some more info if interested:

AnandTech - The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (Krait) Preview Part II

AnandTech - Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (Krait) Performance Preview - 1.5 GHz MSM8960 MDP and Adreno 225 Benchmarks

Final Words

It goes without saying that MSM8960 is a hugely important SoC release for Qualcomm. It's the first release with Qualcomm's new Krait CPU architecture, an entirely new cellular baseband with support for nearly every air interface, and is manufactured on TSMC's 28nm process. It says something that we're able to hold 28nm TSMC silicon in our hands in the form of the MDP, and it's only a matter of time before we start seeing Krait show up in devices in 2012.
We've gone over basically all of the benchmarks available to us on Android right now, and yet subjective performance impressions are still valuable. The MDP8960 is the absolute fastest we've seen Ice Cream Sandwich thus far - the UI is absolutely butter smooth everywhere, and web browsing in either Chrome or the stock Android Browser is also the smoothest we've seen it. There's no stutter bringing up the application switcher, or taking screenshots, two places that 4.0.3 still drops frames on the Galaxy Nexus.
Krait offers another generational leap in mobile SoC performance. The range of impact depends entirely on the workload but it's safe to say that it's noticeable. The GPU side of the equation has been improved tremendously as well, although that's mostly a function of 28nm enabling a very high clock speed for Qualcomm's Adreno 225.
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