Qualcomm’s Single-Core Snapdragon Takes On Nvidia’s Dual-Core Tegra 2 For Flash Content Supremecy [Video]


You guys may remember a few weeks back when I posted a video from Qualcomm that many shrugged off as nothing more than hot-air. In the video, Qualcomm explained that their single-core Snapdragon chipsets were superior than the dual-core offerings from their competitors (namely, Nvidia’s Tegra 2). I watched the video, I soaked it all in and when it was done, I immediately called bs.

Well, perhaps I was a bit too hasty in my judgment because I just came across this little nugget from YouTube where Denis Maniti felt the need to conduct the some tests of his own, using devices featuring some of the industries latest mobile processors. He pits the Samsung Galaxy S 4G (Hummingbird), Motorola Atrix (Tegra 2), HTC Incredible S (Snapdragon), Sony Xperia Arc (Snapdragon) against each other in a head-to-head battle to see which processor could render HD quality, 720p Flash video content above the rest. The results were… surprising. **Keep in mind all phones are connected to the same WiFi network and all are on Android 2.2 Froyo except for the Xperia Arc (2.3 Gingerbread). Enjoy.

You can see clearly in the video that Qualcomm’s 2nd generation, single-core processor chewed up YouTube’s 720p Flash content without a hitch while the others failed to keep up in a smooth fashion. I’m sure there could other factors involved like Android firmwares, humidity or even the sheer radiance of Michael Bolton. In any case, the guy in the video is NOT on Qualcomm’s payroll and thanks to his video, has definitely opened up my eyes a bit.

But what do you guys think? Could Qualcomm really have tweaked and fined tuned their Snapdragon processors as much as they boasted on their YouTube channel? Like most things, it seems as if there is no easy answer when trying to determine the superiority of one chip vs another. According to this video, “moar coarz” might not always equal better performance.

[Via AndroidBugle]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Hardware is nothing without drivers. Looks like qualcomm has done a great job at optimizing their chips.

    1. I’m a simple man, but what you said seems to make a lot of sense. 

    2. Pfft. My old original Galaxy S played 720 butter smooth straight from box LAST JUNE.

      try playing a 1080p comparing it to an Exynos cpu on Galaxy SII.

      Tegra is a weak. We all ready know that. Compare with something that is right now best in the world. Pussies.

      1. Indeed.
        Tegra 2 is a piece of shit, and my Nexus S does 720p easily.

        1. This is probably why everything runs perfectly smooth on all the Tegra 2 Tablets. This is also the reason why all the Tablets use the Hummingbirds instead of Tegra 2.

          You’re the man!

          1. You’re no Queen:


            Yep… perfectly smooth.  

          2. “the main things I found on the korean sites have been:

            – support for mkv
            – support for 4.1hp 720p content (awesome!)
            – improved gps performance (baseband..?)”

            Surprised by the 4.1/720p sure.  This doesn’t solve the 4.1/1080p problem, and it’s still unfortunate that you have to load Spanish/Korean firmware.


            And it’s Froyo…  This is also all specific to the 2X Tegra device.

          3. This all will hopefully come in the LG Gingerbread update.

      2. Yeah I just tested Batman: The Dark Night trailer in 1080 on my Samsung Galaxy S2, super smooth.

        It’s not just the chip, Samsung has top quality components supporting the chip too which help make a big different.

        I’ve seen Tegra2 optimized games running better on the Exynos than  a Tegra2 device. Kudo’s to Samsung

        1. Oh, just like Riptide GP, eh?  Tegra 2 specific shaders don’t render well on the Exynos and it falls flat on its face.

          1. @ ERIKKU

            Open your trap, when you know what you’re talking about.


            Haters like you just make this community shit to be in.

          2. No need to be rude. Keep it civil, ok?  There are textures and/or shaders that are missing/not rendered correctly. What I should have stated was Riptide is playable, but not totally 100%.

  2. This just proves flash sucks.  Nothing to see here. Don’t quit your day job.

    1. how on earth does this prove that?

      1. Flash is not smooth on 3 of every 4 Android devices. Adobe rules. XD

  3. Mt4g ftw…link 2 video?

  4. Wow.  That was incredible.  I guess my next phone is going to be on a Qualcomm chip.  Unless something blows it away by the time I can upgrade.

    1. I tested this on my Droid X2 and i had no problems playing the video at 720p no slow down or anything else. i think the Atrix on AT&Ts horrible network is the problem and not the dual core vs single core optimization(s). i tested the video on my 3g first then on my home wireless network and both resulted were smooth no hiccups or slow downs. so i call foul and way to use AT&T’s bad network to make your product look good.

      1. But they were all on the WiFi’s…. o_O

        1. ok so again my DX2 worked exceptionally well on my home wifi no problems with HD youtube video that they were playing so maybe it is just a crappy atrix design but, obviously all tegra 2 devices are not the same

          1. My zoom always plays 720p video at about 60 fps…my droid x (very similar to the galaxy s) can handle 720 p at about 20-30 fps. I don’t know how he got these results…it’s just fuel for the tegra haters fire.

          2. I got a feeling its the atrix, ill keep testing it out cause definitely some 720P+ vids run like shit but a reboot causes the same ones to run like butter afterwards. Something causes it but its a definite problem.

        2. Again, it has as much to do with the ROM and applications running in the background as it has to do with the chipset.  The 2nd Gen Qualcomm finally got a GPU that pretty well matches the Hummingbird’s.  So, any difference between the two would either be internet connectivity OR free system resources/OS.

      2. Same for me on an LG Optimus 2x – visually the video plays exactly the same on my phone via WiFi as on my PC. And I did not bother do close down background apps or do anything else – just immediately opened a youtube video in HQ – no problem whatsoever. I know that when CM 7 is finally stable and I install it on my phone, it will be even smoother, but even now no problem at all with 720p videos.

        Wrong choice of phones in the test? :)

  5. Are they doing the test with all four phones on the same wifi connection or each of their own network??  Wouldn’t that make difference??

    1. Sharing the same WiFi had nothing to do with it. None of the videos buffered. They all downloaded the video fine. The problem was in the playback. Choppy with frames missing. 

      1. Peeps need to listen…I’d be tired of copying and pasting my comments over again and again till these people get it if I were you! Lulz

        1. Damn straight. =p

      2. Why bother chris? These people are in denial.

  6. Dont be fooled by qualcomm. They suck ass.

    Qualcomm need to stop wasting their time making these stupid videos and make batter processors. I wish htc would stop using them… Still gettin’ me a Sensation ^_^

  7. This is kind of like comparing apples to oranges. Not really a fair test.

  8. Sure, nothing to do with the fact that the Atrix is running Froyo whereas the Incredible S has been updated to Gingerbread…

    1. At the time of the video, the Incredible S was still on Froyo. 
      The only phone on Gingerbread in this video was the Xperia Arc but it still lagged on video playback.

  9. Wait a minute..were’nt they streaming the videos? Doesn’t that have ALOT to do with network? Connection? Buffering? etc?

  10. its not just the chip its the custom UIs the manufactures install on the phones that hinders performance. The nexus s 4G is the only phone with an AOSP ROM. Root and install CyanogenMod 7 on all 4 devices, really the only way you can compare the chips fairly 

    1. EDIT** none of the phones are AOSP. my mistake i thought the incredible s was the nexus s.  none the less i still want to see them all on the same ROM to b a true test of the chipset

  11. Looks like one phone is using hardware accelerated playback in Flash. Probably because of Gingerbread or a more recent flash player…

    1. All the phones were using the exact same version of Flash 10.3.
      Not only that, they were all on Android 2.2 Froyo (except for the Arc which was on 2.3 but still didn’t perform well).

  12. Bullshit, Qualcomm hasn’t done a whole lot, because as you can see the device that was running smoothest on was the HTC device (the Desire S or Incredible S not sure, so many variants of the same device). It’s either one of these:

    HTC has made some modifications to the framework to make flash run faster


    Flash was originally made on the Nexus One, which is a Qualcomm device. It could just be that Flash was properly optimized for Qualcomm handsets. I am leaning more on this. 

    This is one of the reasons I really despise Google, they have made no efforts to make hardware not seem very you know WHOLE. It’s either you get the best performance out of this or that. My Nexus S lags like a mother when flash is enabled in the browser, and as we all know, the Nexus S is probably the fastest single core device out there. 

    1. My Nexus S doesn’t lag shit in the browser, try downloading Opera Mobile (not mini), it has hardware acceleration.
      Also the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2 has full hardware accelerated flash, which is why it rapes the rest.
      Actually the HTC phone is the weakest phone of all those.

      1. did you watch the video? results dont lie. you can cram all the fancy shit you want to into a phone. If it doesnt perform like the rest it is sub par. the butt hurt in these comments is so great. HTC makes the best phones, uses the best processors, and crams the most ram into their devices. Everyone HAS to argue their DX, NXS, etc are the shit. HTC users make videos like this. So please to all you that have the moto, samsung, sony garbage please STFU and GTFO. 

        1. So I guess this clip is gospel….and everyone’s personal experience is a lie?

          Some ppl have different devices that have a Tegra 2 chip, and their experiences are a lie?

          Thanks for clearing that up…

  13. WOW this was a real scientific and thorough video!
    How can anyone come to the conclusion that qualcomm beat invidia without knowing how all the phones were connected to the internet?

    1. They were all connected to WiFi. Even if they weren’t, it wasn’t a buffering issue (didn’t see any buffering in the video) it was the quality of video playback. Choppy video with frames missing. Same happens when I try to watch HD video on my netbook.

      1. Yes, but the strength of the wifi signal may also differ between devices. 

        1. That doesn’t even make sense, the devices are right next to each other in the same Wi-Fi space. Trust me, that is not even close to the issue.

        2. Now THIS is so true.

          I cant remember which phone, but there is a current phone having that exact issue.

  14. The stock roms probably need to be optimized or your hardware is useless no matter what. I would put my Captivate running Cog 4.5 up against the snapdragon anytime on slow ATT or wifi anytime.

  15. So he proved you are a moron?

  16. Seriously? Really? Another BS test? Redo this when all the devices are running on GB. I can understand if they are comparing different devices, but they are comparing different chips. At least try to make it a level playing field by running them on the same version of OS.

    1. Kinda hard when Motorola hasn’t updated the Atrix to 2.3 yet =/

      And I think you’re confused. The only device on 2.3 was the Arc and that one still didn’t run Flash very well..

  17. Qualcomm is simply just pissed that they’re too slow to be first.

  18. It is actually software + hardware. 
    To compare just the hardware, it would make sense to actually flash the stock Android and run some tests.

    Although, from the end user perspective, the difference doesn’t matter.

  19. While there may be merit to the different processors, there’s no scientific test here.  If they are all running on wifi, it would make sense that the quality almost directly correlated to the order in which he started them.  I usually take longer to get the buffering started than the qualcomm, but my video is usually just as smooth as long as internet connection 3g or wifi is above 700kbps down.  and i’m on a moto Droid 1 

    1. Also there’s no way to know what other apps are multi-tasking in the background.

      1. Apps in the background have nothing to do with how smooth the video playback is. =/

        1. System resources don’t matter? Think again.

        2. ummm, really?!?! Yes it does. Unless it its being FULLY decoded by a segregated path like a DSP. Now, is it worth questioning the the guy who made the video? Probably not, though I would like to see another, perhaps more scientific, test.

          1. “I would like to see another, perhaps more scientific, test.”

             Anandtech to the rescue!!!

  20. ok so the snapdragon handles flash very well but what good is that when it can barely handle the phones that uses it…i.e. Sense.  Lag lag lag in the evo 4g, mt4g and even some reviews of the sensation. Pointless

  21. I’m calling this a trash test.  It’s more to do with the ROM than it is the chipset.  My Galaxy S just ran a 720p video (Tony Hawk playlist, if you’re interested).  However, it was only able to do that thanks to the Einherjar Development Team, which make it twice as fast (video benchmark-wise) as the stock ROM.

    Let’s face it, the Hummingbird has the same speed as the Qualcomm, and has an AWESOME GPU.  To say that it can’t handle the video because of the chipset is ludicrous.

    PS-I run all my lesson videos through Flash, 1.2Mbps, 720 x 480, and I’ve never had a single problem with my phone.

    1. 720×480 is a 480p video, not 720p.

      1. I realize that.  In my first paragraph, I stated I ran a 720p video from YouTube, no problem.  I was just adding Flash emphasis with something that I use on a daily basis while teaching.

  22. I don’t understand why so many of these people commenting can’t just accept the fact that the Qualcomm 2nd gen Snapdragon processor is faster than the Tegra 2. If you guys simply CANNOT accept this, claiming all these other variables are affecting it, why not run a test yourself? Go to a local retail store with working phones, close all background apps, get one with a new Snapdragon and another with a tegra 2 and perform this test and watch the results. I believe full well the single core 2nd gen Snapdragon is just as efficient or fast as the Tegra 2.

    1. Most software on Android still uses only one thread/core, so the 2nd core is probably irrelevant for most tasks, except for multi-tasking. So that might explain it, especially if Nvidia’s drivers are a bit less optimized.

      Try loading a page on a single core phone vs a Tegra 2 one, and let me know which loads faster, because I think the browser can use the 2 cores (for rendering, not Flash).

      1. Nvidia’s drivers are plenty optimized.  Tegra 2 has been out for awhile.  This is what I know of Nvidia:

        They are a company who produces cheap chip sets (I believe the Tegra 2 cost of production is 66 percent less then the A5) as fast as possible.  Lack on Neon extensions for ARM 9 etc.  They want to be the first to release dual-core/quad-core mobile processors… great, but that comes at a cost.  

        1. Tegra 2 IS fully optimized in Honeycomb, IceCream.

      2. It uses 2 cores for flash and the browser, and the Snapdragon still wins. Problem?
        Flash has full dualcore support.

    2. Hmm.. maybe because it isn’t true? Why is the HTC Flyer the choppiest among all the Tablets, why the Tegra 2 Tablets run butterly smooth?

    3. Or it could just be the software which can be seen with the Xperia Arc. A phone can have the best hardware but if the software is coded to the limit that it can’t even do simple task then its not the hardware fault but the software on top of it. I’ll say it again Motorola has one of the worse software engineers for Android, and the Atrix 4G is a perfect example. This is why i might not even get the next Nexus if dual core is the only processor it has. I know ice cream will be coded nicely but seriously with Nvidia already pushing Tegra 3 chips in Q3 i see no point for the next Nexus to be a Nexus S, it needs to be like  N1 and cahnge the game and show what the hardware can do with awesome software.

    4. what I can’t seem to grasp is that why they aren’t comparing this with the best CPU out right now. Exynos.

      I wanna see a 1080p Exynos vs Qualcomm then they actually have something to say.
      Tegra 2 is crap. Hummingbird cpu on SGS can do 720p last summer 2010

  23. There’s so many factors that go into why its done so great. Network, optimization, hardware and firmware its not all qualcomms fault. So many factors to give credit to. 

  24. Flash is not smooth on 3 of every 4 Android devices. Adobe rules!!!!

  25. The Atrix is the most dissapointing poj I’ve ever owned. Two cores and the thing is so slow it can’t get out of it’s own way. Forget about Flash performance this dog struggles with live wallpapers. It’s reaaly depressing having terrible performance equally bad support from Motorola and a locked bootloader so there’s no third party solutions. I wish I would of bought an HTC phone instead but now I’m stuck with this turd.

  26. Wake up guys. 90% of all these tests are all bullshit anyway, and  most of you are  bigger fools to even believe any of them as being gospel. There is a huge amount of bias in most of the so called tests. Too many factors and variables really, to make any kind of blanket statement or judgment on any particular manufacturer, or blame the chipmaker, cpu,gpu,or processor manufacturer, because flash lags, hiccups,spurts or farts. Come on people,you can not  just believe so easily, any of this non sense you read.

    1. gonna take a wild guess and say you use one of the poor perfoming devices from the video… or badly desire something with a T2

  27. Another worthless Qualcomm video? Is this some sort of stupid PR campaign?

    1. I thought it was interesting. You didn’t think it was interesting? I have no bias. I would have posted the video regardless of the outcome. Like I said, I have no bias. I’m just a user. 

      1. Is it really PR when one works and the others dont…. thats just results… ya know for science

      2. I think your test was seriously flawed. You should re-run the test, pausing all videos after starting them. Allow them to DL the video and then judge playback. There are too many factors to come to any conclusions.

  28. You do understand that Youtube downloads as it plays right? A slow network connection will lead to choppy video playback. It is because the playback is occurring faster than the download. Try starting the download, then pausing it on all devices to allow the video to download. All this video shows me is that you have a crappy network.

    1. Every notice how things download faster when you pause? That’s cuz it takes processor power to download at full speed and re-build the packets. They were all tested in the same environment, so you can’t use that argument – if it was a crappy network then the same woulda happened to the others

    2. The test was using WiFi and you can see how fast the whole video buffers. Your argument is invalid o_O

      1. Correct Chris :P

  29. Exynos all the way

  30. Well its quite simple. Dual core makes no difference when running an app that is not multi-core optimize. Maybe try rerun the test wit some background tasks.

    The comparison is not an apple for apple measurement…*can I use that word here?*

    1. It is dualcore optimized, why can’t people understand this?
      When the first tegra 2 devices came, Nvidia ordered all users to not update, because the dualcore part wasn’t finished, but it is now.

  31. the qualcomm propaganda is completely true, lots of work has gone into the snapdragon/etc cores execution paths with dedicated areas for all sorts of decoding/etc

    obviously all the ‘normal’ people just go my moar cores and the megahertz myth though, so they’ll end up with the short end of the stick for not thinking about just how much work has gone into optimising these chipsets

    (disclaimer: i work at qualcomm, so my opinion is biased, but the evidence speaks for itself)

  32. easy as pie. Qualcomm is a prettier name than Nvidia. lol no really though Qualcomm has had a huge history in processors. they’re old magic as far as i’m concerned. Nvidia comes over from the gpu market and has done impressively considering their expertise however new magic will never compare to old gods… unless those gods get greedy and stupid :/ lol ^^

    1. Yap. Like old magic of Microsoft and its Windows Mobile? Old magic is always better… ? :)

  33. For those conducting thier own test. Make sure you go to in your BROWSER. pick a video, select 720P from the dropdown and then tap the video to go full screen. I have a Droid X2. 720 plays fine in the app, but if I funnel through the browser, I see the same choppiness as in the video. Seems like a software fix to me, not a measure of the hardware. Although, having an OS that actually has dual-core optimization built in may help. Ice Cream Sandwich anyone?

    1. Flash has dualcore support, and also the Snapdragon has hardware accelerated flash.

  34. Something is wrong with your testing.  It seems like the phone that accessed the wireless network first was the one that played better.  This HAS to have more to do with the network connection than the processors.  There is no way that flash content would have play so horribly on those other 3 high end phones. Instead of playing them all at the same time… do each one individually… one at a time…. Another thing to note… why is everyone under the belief that dual core processors are FASTER? From my understanding they don’t perform tasks any faster… but instead allow more tasks to be performed in the same amount of time. For example you won’t be able to load Google Earth faster… but you can load Google Earth AND Rhapsody at the same time. I thought dual core processors were to improve multitasking… for example on tablets and with Android 3.0. Maybe I have no clue what I’m talking about….

    1. i know when im on a public hotspot nothing works cause some dude already has his notebook connected to the same hotspot…. /sarcasm. Oh wait THAT NEVER HAPPENS!

  35. I call some BS with this video he started playing the HTC video first an if his wifi network is like mine when ever I download anything at the same time the first one to start gets bandwidth priority and always runs faster did the same test with my epic and nexus s 4g and had no issues what so ever just wait for true dual core support then qualcomm will eat their words. Its s the same as running a program in a dual core windows PC that isn’t optimized for the dual core it can run slow this video proves nothing in my opinion

    1. please that bandwidth will not crush a mid level broadband connection. Id put money on him starting the IncS last and results being the EXACT SAME

  36. I’ll have to call this test BS. My Vibrant runs 720p from Youtube perfectly in the browser. Plus, the Arc uses the same SOC as the Incredible S and yet it performs much worse? HTC probably make some modifications to Sense to enhance Flash performance, or the maker of the video has too many apps in the background. 

    1. Qualcomm and HTC have a partnership that makes HTC phones perform better than other qualcomm devices. This can be due to the coding or the driver implemented into the HTC phones. The test is suppose to prove that even with good hardware the software matters the most which we can see with the Atrix which is a dual core phone.

  37. I can confirm this video. My Inspire 4G has the 2nd gen snapdragon chipset and it mows through 720p content in the browser. I just smoked my co-workers Atrix 4G in a dog fight.

  38. Froyo doesn’t support dual core.

  39. Only since flash 10.3. Who knows which flash version he was running….

    1. he says 10.3 in the video…. on all devices. omg people watch the video, and perform the lost art of “paying attention”

      1. I don’t know what’s wrong with the atrix, since on my xoom i always watch
        720p videos and it’s always BUTTER smmoth! At least 60fps! This is a very
        weird test, try it for yourself if you can get your hands on some

  40. 720p playback is silky smooth in the browser on my Xoom with the same Tegra 2 processor and pushing more pixels than the Atrix.  This is all about optimization which will likely come to the Atrix.

  41. this video proves nothing once again, just like the qualcomm video.  i have the g2x and my flash video plays perfectly.  the only way you’ll get a fair comparison is if you hook them all up to the same internet connection.  then do the test.  verizon LTE is better than AT&T hspa+.  that is why the video is smoother. 

    1. THEY DID…. wifi anyone? look up what that means and you will be horribly embarrassed you posted your comment. 

  42. I feel like with ecosystem is just starting to adapt to dual cores in phones. Feel like it was the same with PC’s each time they add a core to the CPU programs have to be written to use that power. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m still picking up the GS2.

  43. It’s obvious the first phone is sucking up the bandwidth, look how long the 4th phone takes to load. This is a rigged test.

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