CPU and GPU Performance
We'll begin with CPU performance using Geekbench, with results broken down by single and multi-threaded performance in the bar charts to follow.
Overall the Kirin 960 tops the list with this small group of smartphones, and it is the fastest phone SoC I have tested to date. But single-core results, while better than the overall result of the Kirin 950, are still behind the leaders. Apple is undesputed king of IPC, with their custom CPU and highly optimized OS, and the A10 Fusion numbers are ridiculous for a dual-core processor (only the high-performance cores are active for these benchmarks).
Now we will look at the breakdown of major test components:
I have to point out the single-threaded performance of Kirin 960 vs. 950, which is in favor of the prior SoC. I'm not sure why this is, but it was consistent. On the other hand, memory performance was much higher with the new SoC, and multi-threaded performance is higher across the board as well.
Did I mention that Apple has a huge advantage with their highly optimized OS and browser? In any case, the Mate 9 was the highest scoring Android handset in the group.
Basemark OS II, which factors graphics performance into its overall score, places the Mate 9 second only to iPhone 7 in this group. So how much better is the GPU in the Kirin 960 SoC? Let's take a look!
Apple wins these benchmarks with their A10 Fusion (and its G9 GPU), but the G71 MP8, which is the first to use ARM's latest Bifrost GPU architecure, essentially doubles the performance of the Kirin 950's Mali T880 GPU.
Next we'll have a look at 3DMark, with some OpenGL ES 3.0 and ES 2.0 results.
Here the Adreno GPU in the Snapdragon 820 takes the lead with ES 3.0 results, while Apple's A10 Fusion crushes it in the older ES 2.0 benchmark. The key takaway here, however, is the Kirin 960's much stronger showing, which blows the previous GPU performance out of the water. Thanks to the impressive G71 MP8 GPU performance is no longer an issue with the Mate 9.