Binning the CPU and GPU is a pretty common phenomenon in the PC industry. When a certain chip fails to reach a desired clock speed, or has stability issues running at those clock speeds, the manufacturer ends up down-clocking it slightly and sells it at a lower price.
Processor binning is pretty recent phenomenon in the mobile industry, and the perfect example of this is the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. On paper, the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One use the same Qualcomm Snapdragon S600 CPU, but their is a slight difference in their clock speed. While the Krait cores inside the HTC One are clocked at 1.7GHz vs. 1.9GHz on the Galaxy S4. The binning is not only limited to the CPUs, but to the GPU as well. The Adreno 320 inside the One is clocked at 400MHz, while it runs at 450MHz inside the Galaxy S4.
The difference in clock speed is pretty minor between the two bins of the Snapdragon 600 SoC, so it really should not matter much to the end user.
However, the difference in speeds between the difference bins of the Snapdragon S800, the latest and greatest chip from Qualcomm, is pretty remarkable. At first glance, the only visible difference between the two different bins of the S800 is in the clock speed of the processor.
On the lower binned S800, the maximum frequency of the CPU is clocked at 2.2GHz, while on the higher binned part, the maximum clock speed is 2.3GHz.
A difference of 100MHz should not make much difference, right? Wrong!
Mobile SoCs (System-On-Chip) consist of not only the CPU, but many other parts like the GPU, Image Signaling Processor (ISP), Memory controller, Baseband and more.
The clock speed of all the above parts is lower by 100Mhz or more for each part, compared to the higher binned Snapdragon 800. Below is a small table to show the whole difference -:
|Basis of Difference||Lower binned S800 (MSM8974)||Higher binned S800 (MSM8974AB)|
|GPU Speed (Adreno 330)||450MHz||550MHz|
|LPDDR3 RAM speed||800MHz||933MHz|
As you can see, the differences are really not that much individually, but compare the SoCs as a whole and you get the clear picture that the 2.2GHz S800 is slower than the difference in clock speed shows.
So, you mean to say I should avoid any Android device that uses a Snapdragon S800 SoC running at 2.2GHz, and not 2.3GHz? No! The S800 is the fastest SoC available from Qualcomm, and the slight difference in performance between the different bins should not affect your final decision at all. The S800 is more than future-proof so don’t worry about the slight difference in clock speed.
However, if you are a benchmark junkie or love to overclock your device, better get an Android device that uses the higher binned S800.