In recent years, we have seen a substantial growth in the smartphone gaming industry. Though most people only use smartphones for casual gaming while leaving hardcore gaming for their Consoles and PC, the trend has slowly begun to change in 2018.
With the popularity of Battle Royale games like PUBG and Fortnite and their introduction to smartphones, having a good GPU on the phone has become essential for mobile gamers. If you want to increase FPS in PUBG Mobile, check out our guide.
For those of you that don’t know, mobile SOCs have a specific GPU and it is integrated into the chip itself. A GPU is not separate from the SOC. Hence, every phone out there with a Snapdragon 845 will have the same Adreno 630 GPU and every device with Exynos 9810 will have the same Mali-G72 MP18 GPU. However, two different SOCs can have the same GPU as well. For example, both the Snapdragon 625 and 626 have the same Adreno 506 GPU.
For evaluating the performance of Mobile Graphics Processors, we use both the raw benchmarks as well as the real-world gaming performance of the device. The resultant score is called Centurion Mark and we use this score to rank mobile GPUs.
Mobile GPU Rankings
Mobile GPU Rankings
|Rank||GPU Name||SOCs||Centurion Mark|
|#1||A12 Bionic’s GPU||Apple A12 Bionic||115.4|
|#2||Adreno 630||Snapdragon 845||111.2|
|#3||Mali-G76 MP10||Kirin 980||104.6|
|#4||Mali-G72 MP18||Exynos 9810||103.0|
|#5||A11 Bionic’s GPU||Apple A11 Bionic||102.0|
|#6||Adreno 540||Snapdragon 835||100.7|
|#7||Mali-G72 MP12||Kirin 970||99.1|
|#8||Mali-G71 MP20||Exynos 8895||96.4|
|#9||PowerVR 7XT GT7600 Plus||Apple A10 Fusion||94.8|
|#10||Adreno 530||Snapdragon 820 & 821||93.8|
|#11||Adreno 616||Snapdragon 710||90.0|
|#12||PowerVR 7XT GT7600||Apple A9||88.6|
|#13||PowerVR 7XTP-MT4||Helio X30||87.7|
|#14||Adreno 615||Snapdragon 670||85.6|
|#15||Mali-G71 MP8||Kirin 960||84.6|
|#16||Mali-T880 MP12||Exynos 8890||81.8|
|#17||Adreno 512||Snapdragon 660||79.1|
|#18||Adreno 430||Snapdragon 810||76.2|
|#19||Mali-G71 MP2||Exynos 7885, Helio P30 & P23||74.0|
|#20||Mali-T760 MP8||Exynos 7420||72.8|
|#21||Mali-T860 MP4||Xiaomi Surge S1||71.6|
|#22||Adreno 510||Snapdragon 650, 652 & 653||69.9|
|#23||Adreno 509||Snapdragon 636||69.7|
|#24||Adreno 508||Snapdragon 630||69.1|
|#25||Adreno 420||Snapdragon 805||69.1|
|#26||Mali-G72 MP3||Exynos 9610, Helio P70 & P60||68.9|
|#27||Adreno 418||Snapdragon 808||68.1|
|#28||Mali-G51 MP4||Kirin 710||66.6|
|#29||PowerVR GX6450||Apple A8||66.0|
|#30||Mali-T830 MP3||Exynos 7880||65.6|
|#31||Mali-T880 MP4||Helio X27, X25, X23, X20, Kirin 955 & 950||64.9|
|#32||Mali-G71 MP1||Exynos 7872||62.0|
|#33||Mali-T880 MP2||Helio P25, P20||60.6|
|#34||Adreno 506||Snapdragon 632, 626, 625, & 450||59.7|
|#35||Mali-T760 MP6||Exynos 5433||57.2|
|#36||Mali-T628 MP6||Exynos 5420, 5422, 5430, & 5800||56.8|
|#37||PowerVR G6430||Apple A7||55.8|
|#38||Mali-T830 MP2||Kirin 659, 658, 655, & 650||54.1|
|#39||Adreno 505||Snapdragon 439, 435, & 430||52.8|
|#40||Mali-T860 MP2||Helio P10, P18, MT6738, MT6750T, & MT6750||52.4|
|#41||Mali-T760 MP4||Rockchip RK3288||52.1|
|#42||PowerVR G6200||Helio X10 & MT8135||51.4|
|#43||PowerVR GE8320||Helio P22 & A22||51.3|
|#44||Adreno 405||Snapdragon 617, 616, 615, 610, & 415||50.7|
|#45||Mali-T628 MP4||Kirin 935 & 930||46.0|
|#46||Mali-T830 MP1||Exynos 7870||45.9|
|#47||Mali-T720 MP2||Exynos 7580, MT6753, MT6737T, MT6737, & MT6735||42.2|
|#48||Mali-T604 MP4||Exynos 5250||41.8|
|#50||Mali-T720 MP1||Exynos 7570||39.8|
|#51||Adreno 308||Snapdragon 427 & 425||38.6|
|#53||Adreno 306||Snapdragon 412 & 410||31.4|
|#54||Mali-450 MP4||Kirin 620||27.4|
Just like the GPUs, you can also check out the ranking of Mobile SOCs here.
How to interpret the score?
We have categorized the GPUs in the following range in order to make the scores more meaningful.
Delivers the best gaming performance in smartphones. If you want to purchase a phone that has a 1440p or 2160p Display, make sure the GPU scores above 100 for the best gaming experience. PUBG Mobile and Fortnite can be played at high settings.
Android phones in this range officially support Fortnite Mobile. Aim for this range for the best 1080p Gaming experience.
Good gaming performance at 1080p. The majority of the heavy games are playable without running into lags or other issues. PUBG Mobile can run at Low/Medium Settings.
Decent Gaming Performance at 1080p and great performance on 720p displays. PUBG Mobile can be played at low settings.
The gaming performance in this range is below average. Most games can still be played at 720p. PUBG Mobile may run on some of the phones at low settings.
This range is only suitable for playing casual games at 720p.
Introduction to Smartphone GPUs
Introduction to Smartphone GPUs
Here’a brief description of the various GPU Brands that you see in the smartphone market. The Mali GPUs can be seen on MediaTek, HiSilicon Kirin, and Exynos SOCs while the Adreno GPUs are designed by Qualcomm for Snapdragon Processors.
Different GPU Types/Brands
1) ARM Mali
Just like their CPU Architecture, ARM Holdings also licenses the Mali GPU architecture to various chip manufacturers like Huawei HiSilicon, MediaTek, and Samsung. These companies incorporate the Mali Architecture and implement it in their SOC. They often implement various variants of the GPU which might have different cores and frequency.
The number behind Mali Chip represents the number of processing units or cores. For example, the “Mali-T880 MP12” has 12 cores. Though the architecture plays the biggest role in their performance, the number of cores and frequency also does affect the performance.
As of 2018, the latest Mali GPUs are quite behind the Adreno and Apple GPUs in terms of performance. And the same also reflects in our rankings. This is one of the reasons why the GPU Performance of Exynos, Kirin and MediaTek chips is lagging behind when compared to Qualcomm Snapdragon and Apple A Series.
You can read more about ARM’s Mali GPU on their official website.
The Adreno GPUs are designed by Qualcomm and are used in their Snapdragon Processor lineup. Earlier on, Adreno was known as Imageon when it was first developed by ATI Technologies (which later got acquired by AMD). AMD later sold it to Qualcomm and they renamed it to Adreno.
As of 2018, the Adreno GPUs are only behind Apple in terms of performance. Because of the impressive performance of Adreno GPUs, most mobile gamers prefer the Qualcomm Snapdragon SOCs on Android devices.
PowerVR is owned by Imagination Technologies and they license their chipsets to many brands like Apple, MediaTek, Samsung, Intel, Spreadtrum, etc. Apple iPhones have also used the PowerVR GPUs till their Apple A10 Fusion SOC.
4) Apple’s GPUs
In A11 Bionic and A12 Bionic, Apple has designed the GPU for the first time. The performance of these Graphics Processors is outstanding and there’s no denying the fact that Apple is doing an amazing job with their SOCs.
Factors that Influence GPU Performance
There are three major factors that determine the performance of a Mobile GPU.
1) GPU Architecture and Fabrication Process
Without any doubt, the GPU that uses a new flagship architecture will perform better. In a Mali GPU, the number just next to Mali corresponds to the particular architecture or design it is using. For example, in “Mali-G76 MP10”, G76 is the name of the architecture and as of 2018, it is the most powerful GPU ARM has ever designed.
A better fabrication process leads to a better and efficient performance. This is quite important when it comes to gaming. Older chips using the 28nm Node often overheat on extended gaming.
2) GPU Clock Frequency
The higher the GPU frequency, the better will be the performance of the GPU. It can’t get any simpler. Two GPUs with the same architecture may have a different clock frequency but this does not lead to a significant difference in the performance. For example, the Mali-T860 MP2 GPU in MT6750 has 520MHz frequency while the same GPU in MT6750T has a frequency of 650MHz.
3) Number of Cores/Processing Units
Though Apple and Qualcomm do not reveal the number of cores in their GPUs, we can know the same in case of Mali GPUs based on their codename. The number after MP shows the number of cores it has. For example, Mali-G76 MP10 has 10 cores while Mali-G72 MP18 has 18.
Two GPUs with the same architecture but a different number of cores can have a significant impact on the performance. For example, Mali-T880 MP12 scores 81.8 in Centurion Mark but its variants with 4 and 2 cores score 64.9 and 60.6 respectively.
Centurion Mark for Smartphone GPUs
Centurion Mark for Smartphone GPUs
Calculating the Centurion Mark for mobile graphics processing units involves both the computation of raw benchmarks using an algorithm and manual testing of games. We use the same set of games for testing of each GPU. During this process, we also take into account the display resolution of the device.
Thus, we carry out these tests only at 1080p resolution in order to obtain consistent results irrespective of the phone’s display resolution. Here are the 4 factors that play the biggest role in the computation of Centurion Mark.
1) Performance in Heavy Games
2) Extended Gaming Performance
3) Raw GPU Benchmarks
4) Performance in Casual Games
I hope this list ends your search for that smartphone with the best GPU. Smartphone gaming is gaining popularity and we want consumers to know about the capabilities of their device. We also have a list of best smartphone SOCs to help you pick the phone with the most powerful processor.
But before you make a decision on purchasing a phone, make sure to watch your device-specific gaming tests on YouTube. This will help you to get an even better idea of the Gaming Performance of that phone. This is essential because every phone is not the same and even though it has a decent GPU, there’s no guarantee that it will perform like the rest.