For years when it came to flagships, Qualcomm was the undisputed number one when it came to flagship chipsets. At times the company would trade blows with Samsung's Exynos chips, but in recent years Samsung's chipset prowess has come to a halt. The Samsung Galaxy S23 series now carries the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and the Exynos 2200 in the S22 series was a complete mess. However, MediaTek has now taken up the mantle as the primary Qualcomm competitor, and the chipset battle is heating up.
For context, the Dimensity 9000 was actually better than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 last year, and the Dimensity 9000+ traded blows with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 bests the Dimensity 9000+ but not as much as you would have thought when it came to CPU performance despite being a generational upgrade, Given that the last generation still remained competitive at times, how does the Dimensity 9200 hold up against Qualcomm's latest titan?
About this comparison: We compared the OnePlus 11 to the Vivo X90 Pro. The Vivo X90 Pro was loaned to us by MediaTek, but the company had no input into the contents of this comparison. Both devices were factory reset, no Google accounts were linked, and Wi-Fi was only enabled to install update packages for benchmarks that required it. Benchmarking applications were installed via adb, and all tests were run on airplane mode with device batteries above 50%. Both devices had performance mode enabled to remove any artificial limitations on the clock speed of these chipsets.
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||MediaTek Dimensity 9200|
|Memory||LPDDR5X @ 4200MHz, 16GB||LPDDR5X @ 4266.5MHz, 16GB|
|Charging||Qualcomm Quick Charge 5||N/A|
|Manufacturing Process||4nm TSMC||4nm TSMC|
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and MediaTek Dimensity 9200 chipsets are quite similar in their reference core designs and their overall computational capabilities, but there are some key differences.
For starters, Qualcomm has one more performance core than the MediaTek Dimensity 9200. It has a 1+4+3 design, as opposed to the conventional 1+3+4 core layout that has dominated the last couple of generations of flagship SoC. Qualcomm has Kryo versions of Arm's reference designs, packing a Cortex-X3 core and two Cortex-A715 cores alongside two Cortex-A710 cores and three Cortex-A510R1 cores. MediaTek's Dimensity 9200 packs one Cortex-X3 core, three Cortex-A715 cores, and four Cortex-A510R1 cores.
The biggest upgrade here is the Immortalis G715 GPU in the Dimensity 9200. It has some pretty big improvements over the G710, including ray tracing support and Vulkan 1.3. It's also more energy efficient than last year's generation and boasts computational improvements as well. It's up against the Adreno 740 GPU from Qualcomm, one of the most powerful mobile GPUs we've ever seen and outpaces even Apple's own GPU in the A16 Bionic.
- GeekBench: A CPU-centric test that uses several computational workloads, including encryption, compression (text and images), rendering, physics simulations, computer vision, ray tracing, speech recognition, and convolutional neural network inference on images. The score breakdown gives specific metrics. The final score is weighted according to the designer’s considerations, placing a large emphasis on integer performance (65%), then float performance (30%), and finally, cryptography (5%).
- GFXBench: Aims to simulate video game graphics rendering using the latest APIs with lots of onscreen effects and high-quality textures. Newer tests use Vulkan, while legacy tests use OpenGL ES 3.1. The outputs are frames during the test and frames per second (the other number divided by the test length, essentially), instead of a weighted score.
- Aztec Ruins: These tests are the most computationally heavy ones offered by GFXBench. Currently, top mobile chipsets cannot sustain 30 frames per second. Specifically, the test offers really high polygon count geometry, hardware tessellation, high-resolution textures, global illumination and plenty of shadow mapping, copious particle effects, as well as bloom and depth of field effects. Most of these techniques will stress the shader compute capabilities of the processor.
- Manhattan ES 3.0/3.1: This test remains relevant given that modern games have already arrived at its proposed graphical fidelity and implement the same kinds of techniques. It features complex geometry employing multiple render targets, reflections (cubic maps), mesh rendering, many deferred lighting sources, as well as bloom and depth of field in a post-processing pass.
- CPU Throttling Test: This app repeats a simple multithreaded test in C for as short as 15 minutes, though we ran it for 30 minutes. The app charts the score over time so you can see when the phone starts throttling. The score is measured in GIPS — or a billion operations per second.
- Burnout Benchmark: Loads different SoC components with heavy workloads to analyze their power consumption, thermal throttling, and their maximum performance. It uses Android’s BatteryManager API to calculate the watts being used during testing, which can be used to understand the battery drain on a smartphone.
We first tested these chipsets' computational abilities. We used both Geekbench 5 and Geekbench 6, ensuring that each device was at a normal ambient temperature with airplane mode enabled.
Interestingly, the Dimensity 9200 wins on single-core performance but isn't as powerful when it comes to multi-core. The multi-core prowess of the 8 Gen 2 makes sense given its four performance cores to the Dimensity 9200's three, though it's somewhat surprising that the Dimensity 9200 wins out in single-core while also having a lower clock speed.
Burnout Benchmark allows us to easily measure the power consumed by a chipset in a smartphone. Andrey Ignatov, the app's developer, told us to run the app with a fully charged device on the lowest brightness and with airplane mode enabled, so all the data collected here is under those conditions. Ignatov told us the following tests are run on different components of the SoC as part of the Burnout Benchmark:
- GPU: Parallel vision-based computations using OpenCL
- CPU: Multi-threaded computations largely involving Arm Neon instructions
- NPU: AI models with typical machine learning ops
The Dimensity 9200 is in an interesting spot when put up against the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and for a couple of reasons. While it consumes more power for less peak performance, things change quite significantly under smaller workloads.
Our graphs show that the Dimensity 9200's peak CPU performance is significantly weaker than the 8 Gen 2's. The same can be said of the GPU, as while it's close in peak performance, it falters over time, and the gap widens significantly, with the Adreno 740 still sitting at the top.
However, that's not the whole picture. The CPU of the Dimensity 9200 manages to outpace Qualcomm after a quick and massive drop-off, and also while consuming less power overall than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Loading the CPU, GPU, and NPU with performance-intensive tasks is not a normal workload, and it seems at lower workloads, the Dimensity 9200 might actually be more efficient in its CPU operations versus Qualcomm's own offerings. Some of the reduced power consumption is also a result of the step-down in GPU output, but these results are still overall promising for the efficiency of the Dimensity 9200.
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (Peak)||MediaTek Dimensity 9200 (Peak)||Percentage|
|CPU FPS||19.22||15.14||26.9% better CPU performance in Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|GPU FPS||27.47||26.67||2.9% better GPU performance in Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|Maximum wattage||15.85||16.5W||4.1% increase in energy usage in MediaTek Dimensity 9200|
CPU Throttling Test is a great way to test how long a chipset can sustain its performance. While it is heavily device-dependent (it also relies on the cooling methods and software throttling introduced by OEMs), it's a decent way to see how much heat is output by a chipset and how much it can maintain a baseline level of performance when hot.
From the above, you can see that both chipsets perform neck and neck on the basis of pure computational output and sustained performance.
GFXBench is an application that can test the graphical capabilities of a smartphone’s GPU through a number of different tests. We ran five different tests here, with the most computationally taxing being the 1440p Aztec tests.
The Dimensity 9200 has a powerful GPU that manages to perform well consistently, but it's beaten by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 across the board. It's a lot closer than previous generations, though that shows how much of an improvement the G715 is.
Even in 3DMark, the Dimensity 9200 scored 3318, whereas the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 scored 3600, or roughly 10% better. It's close, but Qualcomm's GPU still manages to beat out the G715 Immortalis fairly comfortably.
Neck and neck, yet again
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is neck and neck when it comes to performance output versus the Dimensity 9200, it edges out the best of MediaTek just a little bit in almost every category. It's a phenomenal chipset that will power the majority of flagships in 2023, and it's leaps and bounds better than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
That's not to say that the MediaTek Dimensity 9200 is a bad chip or one that you should skip. Any device with the Dimensity 9200 will be more or less indistinguishable from Qualcomm's own equivalent chip, and it's great to point to what an amazing position MediaTek has found itself in. The CPU and the GPU both fall behind slightly, but the power efficiency is excellent.
As always, it's important to recognize that benchmarks don't actually matter a huge amount, and the fact of the matter is that both of these chips are so similar that you won't notice any of the minute differences in performance that we've highlighted here. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is slightly better, sure, but not in a way that has a material meaning. It's very likely that a OnePlus 11 with a MediaTek Dimensity 9200 would pretty much give the exact same experience as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 OnePlus 11 that you can buy today, and that's how good both of these chipsets are. No matter which you choose, you're buying one of the most powerful chipsets on the market today.