Machine Learning: MLPerf and AI Benchmark 4

Even as a new benchmark in the space, MLPerf has been made available that runs representative workloads on devices and takes advantage of both common ML frameworks such as NNAPI as well as the respective chip libraries for each vendor. Using this benchmark on retail phones to date, Qualcomm has had the lead in almost all the tests, but given that the company is promoting a 4x increase in AI performance, it will be interesting to see if that comes across all of MLPerf’s testing scenarios.

It should be noted that Apple’s CoreML is currently not supported, hence the lack of Apple numbers here.

MLPerf 1.0.1 - Image ClassificationMLPerf 1.0.1 - Object DetectionMLPerf 1.0.1 - Image SegmentationMLPerf 1.0.1 - Image Classification (Offline)

Across the board in these first four tests Qualcomm is making a sizable lead, going above and beyond what the S888 can do. Here we’re seeing up to a 2.2x result, making an average +75% gain. It’s not quite the 4x that Qualcomm promoted in its materials, but there’s a sizable gap with the other high-end silicon we’ve tested to date.

MLPerf 1.0.1 - Language Processing

The only non-lead is with the language processing, where Google’s Tensor SoC is almost 2x what the S8g1 scores. This test is based on a mobileBERT model, and either for software or architecture reasons, it fits a lot better into the Google chip than any other. As smartphones increase their ML capabilities, we might see some vendors optimizing for specific workloads over others, like Google has, or offering different accelerator blocks for different models. The ML space is also fast paced, so perhaps optimizing for one type of model might not be a great strategy long-term. We will see.

AI Benchmark 4 - NNAPI (CPU+GPU+NPU)

In AI Benchmark 4, running in pure NNAPI mode, the Qualcomm S8g1 takes a comfortable lead. Andrei noted in previous reviews with this test that the power consumed during this test can be quite high, up to 14 W, and this is where some chips might be able to pull ahead an efficiency advantage. Unfortunately we didn’t record power at the same time as the test, but it would be good to monitor this in the future.

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  • back2future - Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - link

    Thank you and best wishes
  • skavi - Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - link

    Also is there anywhere I could read up on the characteristics of each of the MLPerf benchmarks?
  • ChrisGX - Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - link

    These might help:
  • lemurbutton - Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - link

    Boring. Until Qualcomm can do something custom, instead of just using stock ARM cores, it's not interesting.

    As usual, it's far slower than iPhones. People are getting ripped off when they buy slower Android hardware instead of iPhones.
  • cknobman - Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - link

    There are plenty of other, more important, drawbacks to buying (renting) and iPhone.

    True the processer performance is not as fast as Apple but I'm on a S865 and have yet to find a situation where it was "slow" or not fast enough.
    So in the grand scheme these performance metrics dont mean much other than bragging rights.

    I'd rather own a device that I have the freedom to do whatever I want to with than have "benchmark bragging rights" and be told what I'm allowed to do on a device Apple thinks I technically "rent" from them.
  • Alistair - Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - link

    Everything said you said is true about iPhones being locked down. But if the speed doesn't matter, then you can buy a $300 Android Phone. There's no justification for expensive Android phones.
  • t.s - Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - link

    Well, I bought Redmi Note 9 Pro with 2 A76 and 6 A55, and still happy with it. Not a speed monster, but for my everyday use, it's sufficient.
  • Meteor2 - Friday, December 17, 2021 - link

    Yep Pixel 4a XL here. Never wants for performance, and the software is fantastic.

    It's interesting to see how far the performance and efficiency of these tiny, low-power processors can be pushed, but it's pretty academic. Nobody uses them for AAA games or compiling.
  • Kangal - Sunday, December 19, 2021 - link

    The Samsung A52-S is the flagship killer.

    It has a SoC that's faster than the QSD 888+ after it throttles, great battery life, display, and adequate cameras. The 3-year software updates, IP67 waterproofing, nice hardware, and premium features like microSD and Headphone Jack are just icing on the cake. During Black Friday sales, you could snag one direct from Samsung for USD $300 which is a steal. There's a good reason Samsung is trying to phase it out so soon, while they downgrade the successor A53 in the coming months.

    Worthy competitors are the Samsung S20-fe and OnePlus 8t, but overall the A52-S is still the winner.

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