Ouch! Qualcomm says it’s “dumb” to make octo-core processors

by: Bogdan PetrovanAugust 2, 2013

Qualcomm Logo aa (4) - 600px

 Qualcomm is a highly successful technology company, and the more so in 2013, when competitors such as Nvidia and Samsung struggle to offer a credible alternative to the Snapdragon series.

While virtually all major Android devices now run on Qualcomm processors, the upstart MediaTek made some good headway in the low-end to mid-range market. The Taiwanese company especially did well in China, where most low-end to mid-range Android devices ship with a MediaTek solution on board.

But MediaTek doesn’t seem content with the scraps from Qualcomm’s tablet – the company recently made waves teasing the world’s “true octo-core” processor (Samsung might object to this claim though).

So, what does Qualcomm think about MediaTek’s and Samsung’s upcoming octo-core monsters? Not much apparently – the company’ senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher told the Taiwanese media that slapping cores together is just a way to conceal poor engineering. Chandrasekher didn’t mince words when describing the competitor’s efforts:

[quote qtext=”You can’t take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari.” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

When a journalist asked if Qualcomm would ever put out an octo-core chip, the exec went on to say that his company doesn’t make “dumb things”.

Of course, Chandrasekher’s blunt statement doesn’t mean that the chip giant won’t ever make octo-core processors. In fact, we probably really shouldn’t read much into it, besides a desire to put down blusterous competitors. After all, you might remember that Qualcomm had some similarly unflattering things to say when the first quad-core processors emerged.

In an official response cited by PCWorld, MediaTek responded to Chandrasekher’s accusations by touting its other innovations in the industry and its great performance over the last months.

The question remains: do we really need octo-core processors?

  • José Olivo

    lol what a joke they are just saying this cause they want people to use qualcomm cpu. ever try using a note 10.1? quadcore and octacore cpu will work miracles on the multi tasking feature of this tablet to include the note 2. so qualcomm can blow smoke up theirs lol…this is a bunch of crock.

    • Amine Elouakil

      There is no real octacore SoC on the markert

      The Exynos works only as a Quadcore despite having 8 physical cores

      The Exynos has two much of issues and it is a miss to develope, hardware and software wise heck ARM and Samsung still didn’t figure out a way to deal with thise problems the 5420 brings some solutions hence the increase of performance compared to the 5410 despite not much change in terms of configuration…

      I don’t Qualcomm moving from Quadcore anytime soon especially if their next architecture is ready and in time for real octa A15 cores and A57 cores, them making Octa krait core cpu would be only if the remplacement of Krait is not ready in time

      • Cao Meo

        I don’t thing Qualcomm will use ARM cores for their chips, they will use their Krait custom cores instead.

        • Joshua Hill

          Shall we go the whole 8 core debate again so you can show everybody how you change your arguments with each comment, misrepresent people, deny you said something that is only a few comments above with your name next to it, e.t.c.

          • Cao Meo

            You are very funny, I did not change arguments,

            What I always say is 8 core chips are good ideas, but it depends on how companies implement it.

            I know that Mediatek A7 4 cores are very good and beat Qualcomm hands down in low cost segment, so I expect their 8 cores to be great too.

            Now can you tell me where did I change my arguments?

          • Joshua Hill

            YOU: Moto X is 8 core CPU.
            One day later: Moto X is 2 core CPU with 2 special cores and 4 GPU cores.

            The whole time I’ve been saying the latter yet you disagreed with me in the first place.

          • Cao Meo

            Did I say Moto X is 8 core CPU? If I did it was a mistake.

            What I wanted to say was MotoX uses the cores for multi tasking in a clever way and MediaTek can do something similar with its 8 core CPUs.

            At most Moto X is 8 core SoC but many argue that 2 NLP and contextual cores do not count as cores in conventional way.

            But this never was the point of our discussion in the first place.

          • Joshua Hill

            This was part of the topic of our discussion. You kept trying to compare Mediateks yet to be released 8 core CPU and said it could do the same things as Moto’s X8 despite the fact they are totally different (a fact you now seem to partly agree with [I can’t tell for sure because I struggle to understand where you’re coming from] although you haven’t corrected any of your earlier statements).

          • Cao Meo

            In this case you misunderstood my point.

            Some person then said 8 cores were excessive as apps could use only 2 cores. So I argued back that cores could be used for other purposes as well as for apps, and I talked about X8 as an example.

            I think you miss the main point of the discussion entirely and try to dig in small and trivial details.

          • Joshua Hill

            I said 8 cores are excessive.


            Everybody see what I mean about @Cao Meo misrepresenting people and not even remembering what they said.

            Just wanted to make sure others got the message and see whether you’d changed you ways yet. I won’t be continuing this discourse now I know you haven’t.

          • Cao Meo

            Read carefully: “Some person then said”

            I don’t say that some person was you.

          • Joshua Hill

            You were the one to say that.

          • Cao Meo

            Yes I did, I thought it was you.

            But you act as if I say it this time too when I don’t.

        • Amine Elouakil

          Qualcomm use ARM architecture they just costumizes it …..

      • José Olivo

        still my point is this, before people would complain as to why need a dual core then dual core cpu showed up everyone shut their mouth up and then started to like them. once quad core was mentioned they said the same thing yet look at all the devices not and days that have quad core cpus. in my case i own a note 2 and note 10.1 i can appreciate the multitasking feature of my device made possible by a processor with quad cores which people would say whats the point. now they are doing the same with octa core processors. like if its going to hurt if its on a device or not.

        and while yes theres no real octa core it still has 8 cores. does a 12 cylinder car that has a function that shuts down 4 of them to conserve fuel still considered a 12 cylinder car? so people can say and complain fact is i welcome this so called octa core in my house cause i know that multi tasking with this on a tablet will be very much appreciated.

        funny qualcomm has the nerve to say that statement when they were at first hesitant to launch a quad core and were happy with dual core. talking or making this statement to me shows that they are scared of something they know nothing about…even though they have a great cpu anything that threatens them they will consider it not being useful…

        • Amine Elouakil

          You are wrong because they didn’t say anything about dual core, and when dualcore came it was even a messier solution as it is today because the software was far from being optimized, go ask some early Tegra 2 adopters if they were happy with their phones. having multiple cores in a CPU is not the best solution the CPU in it self is for serial calculation while the GPU is the parallele device in a typical architecture and technically a GPU has hundrends of cores. It’s good to have a set number core to not bottleneck and do a certain multitasking but the core in it self has to be powerfull, a Quadcore with powerfull cores will beat a Hexadecacore with average cores the Quadcore will wins in most case scenarios, hint AMD vs Intel CPUs (unless of course you are talking about heavily threated application which very rare in the pc industry and none existance in the phone one and as a reminder apps are designed to work in most phone and thus they are tied to the lower specifications not the highest)

          Your V12 analogy is wrong from the get go, Samsung cannot use the 8 cores at the same time in the first place to decide to shut 4 of them, it’s a disadvantage : Imagine you have a V6 3L Turbo 300hp + L4 1,6L with 60hp, the car only uses only one engine at a time, so yes it’s a good solution to consume less when you don’t need all the power I’ll give you that but it’s not at all the most efficient solution, because you’ll have to carry the weight of an extra idle engine all the time, and that’s how the Octacore works even if the core are not in use by application they are still in standby they still consume power not to mention the cost of manufacturing is expensive, and actually your analogy works more for Qualcomm is they have asynchronos core architecture and can turn off core individually. and again your tablets uses only 4 cores for their multitasking.

          The funny part is that their point has been proven, their dual core was on pare with the quadcore at the time and their quadcore today is on pare if not better than current octacores…

          • José Olivo

            i am not wrong. have you ever tried building a dual core desktop and try to multi task? doubt it but in all case its not good. quad core and octa core cpu are great for multi tasking. your problem is that you are looking at power im looking at from a common sense point. in order to achieve a great multi tasking environment you need quad and octa core cpu. my note 2 and note 10.1 agree with this. i can have so many windows open at any given time and my device stays fast and responsive. something that cant be done with a dual core. so say what you want but people need to get over this.

            the same was said about tablets when they came out. whats the point of tablets if we have laptops yet the market share right now is beating those that said that tablets were pointless. the same goes for this octa core chip. i would love and WILL EMBRACE this octa core on a note 10.1 device cause i know that i will be capable of doing more and more with it without having to worry about lag issues. the same analogy can be used to say why do car manufacturers make v8, v10 or v12 cars when a v4 does the job and takes your from a to z…the same goes for processors.

          • Amine Elouakil

            More cores doesn’t mean better performance or better multitasking there is a fine balance between powerfull cores, a set number of core, bus cache and everything around it. I don’t understand why you are so obstinat in your argument, want’s some facts? then let’s give you some :
            The most powerfull AMD public CPU right now is the FX9550 which is an 8 cores @ 5Ghz cannot hold a candle to high end Quadcores from intel from the same generation heck even the server CPUs like the Optron 6386 which has 16 cores can’t touch a 4th generation extrem edition i7 not even going to talk about Xeons. Common sense is not power, common sense is overall performance in every circumstances and a well set up SoC will offer that better than another with more cores

            Tablet are useless and I would never buy one and I dare anyone to give one good reason for tablets especially with supergimped up OS they have right now (only use is multimedia consumption), a hybrid ultrabook would be more interissting though.

  • Jackie Chen

    We need a dodeca-core processor.

    • LOLman.yahoo

      or maybe, a hexadeca-core processor? since cores usually are 2 to the power of 1 or 2 or 3 in number lol

  • Luka

    No. Motorola made the first step with firmware optimization. We stopped at 5 inches, we should stop with 4 cores and work on making them run more efficiently.

    • APai

      true, but, i’m having a lot of fun seeing qualcomm burn, seems like they were bent on becoming the intel of mobile space.

  • APai

    qualcomm is getting its asswhooped at the mid and low end by mediatek, exynos wants to do it at the top end. qualcomm may produce some very fine SoC’s , but it sounds like they are finding it tough with octacore based SoC’s making waves :)

    it’s a win for me :) don’t want another “intel” dominating in the mobile SoC space!

  • Dt Bell

    It will all shake out.

  • Roberto Tomás

    “Of course, Chandrasekher’s blunt statement doesn’t mean that the chip giant won’t ever make octo-core processors.” — I completely disagree. If they make an 8 core processor, I’m going to count that as Qualcomm eating its own words, if only because I didn’t hear anything about him qualifying it and they clearly gave him a chance to.

    • Adam Eldin

      not necessarily, they will make octa-core when they can make 8 cores very well, now sammy’s octa core is still far worse than the snapdragon 800 and slightly worse than the 600, both quad core chipsets.

    • Jason Yuen

      People are misunderstanding the words. “dumb things” should have had “right now” appended to the end. The light bulb was once thought to be “dumb” as well. Expensive, dim, inefficient, and short life span. Now we have florescent tubes, LED, HID, just to name a few.

  • George Av

    so when they come out with one it wouldn’t be dumb.. right…

  • Drei

    No need for octave core right now because the battery is still not changing. Need some new battery innovation and I’ve the new power suits the consumption of a octacore that’s the time the possessor will step up. For now fast dual or quad will be good.

    • Jason Yuen

      Battery tech is notoriously slow and difficult to advance, so the next best thing is to save power. A mAh saved is a mAh earned.

  • Mayoo

    I will be happy when processors come with OVER 9000 cores

    • Chirabrata Bhattarjee

      and all will be 12 Mhz each..

    • mrtrantastic

      i will crush my google glass the moment i find a processor over 9000….

      • Mayoo

        EPIC comment

        Thank you sir

  • Jason Yuen

    More cores = smaller cores = smaller manufacturing process = lower power consumption = better performance + increased battery life. At the same time it makes the marketing department happy and spoon feeds public perception that more is better. It IS 8 lawnmowers, but they’re now more compact and supercharged while running on less fuel. Sounds exactly like what the car industry is doing. Next step is to follow what Moto is doing by having dedicated cores do specific tasks in pursuit of even lower power consumption.

    • yellowflash94

      I dont think you know what you are talking about. By that logic AMD should be whopping Intel’s ass right? Same with those octa-core cpus against the quad core snapdragons. I’m sorry but that’s not how it works. The more cores you through on the Die the harder it gets to manage those cores which can thus lead to higher battery consumption.

      • Jason Yuen

        You’re right about more cores not necessarily meaning better performance. Similarly, higher clock rate also doesn’t necessarily mean better performance. There are many factors dictating performance. But saying that a certain technology is “enough” is frankly, ignorant. No advances are made with this attitude. Yes it’s true that we are approaching the physical limits of nanotechnology and quantum effects will make process shrinkage impossible, but that itself will become the driving force for innovation. As stated already, Samsung’s octacore is not truly 8, rather more like a 4+4 which the new revision aims to correct to a true 8 core processor. With more cores also requires the software to take advantage of it. But without the infrastructure for this kind of software, there will be zero inclination to develop for such a technology. There is definitely more going on than an article comment can cover, but saying something is “enough” even for now is a deathwish for tech companies.

      • apache

        I believe it depend on the OS too, can’t really blame on hardware alone.

        if you have a good OS with good multi-core scheduler, I’m sure multi-core processor will have better performance and better battery life than less-core processor.

        I agree with Jason Yuen, “saying that a certain technology is enough is ignorant”. We’ll never advance if we impose limit to ourself.

  • Greg Cardall

    I agree. I’m all about great hardware (being a PC gaming enthusiast), but even my beefy PC is only a true Quad-Core i7 (8 cores hyperthreaded). So if my PC doesn’t need 8 dedicated cores, why would a phone?

    Even in gaming circles, I’ve seen benchmarks where dual-core CPU’s out-perform Quad-core CPU’s. If the processor is made correctly, even 4 cores is more than plenty for a mobile phone.

    • yellowflash94

      I agree with you 100% I believe half the people here are the kind to go “MORE CORES=PHONE GO FAST LOAD ALL THE GIGABITES! HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT MY 8 CORE PHONE!”. Honestly I doubt even 4 cores are being used at all on my nexus 4. I would rather opt for a dual core more battery efficient CPU with the performance of a quad core.

      • Dalian barons

        Trust me if you use a custom kernel too make your phone dual core only you will notice a big difference

    • lanche

      nope I think you’re wrong.
      if the OS is made correctly, more-core processor will perform more efficient than less-core processor.

      sadly current Android OS scheduler is very bad, they can give worse overall result as more core added..

    • D3Seeker

      YOU clearly have no use for all that power. Shame on you. ;D

  • Rushan

    We need infinity core

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    Of course it’s dumb…until Qualcomm makes one, then it’ll be dumb not to.

  • Cao Meo

    8 lawn mower engines may not make a Ferrari but will make a better thing than 4 lawn mower engines, and still affordable.

    Currently Mediatek’s A7 quad cores are performing well and can even match Tegra 3 in processing power while having better battery life.

    In fact that is the market segment where Qualcomm still can’t compete with Mediatek.

  • Magnetic1

    If I remember correctly Q didn’t exactly make the snapdragon in a vacuum. Adreno comes from AMD acquisition, they got the guy who knows the guy. And the ARM architecture is based on ARM

  • zzz

    make the battery can be fully charged within few minutes then you can put how much core you want

  • john

    Well I think Octopu$$y core CPUs are a great idea! I mean don’t deca core, 16 core cpus sound badass? Honestly, it works like a charm in marketing perspective.

    Now, Qualcomm can say it is a bad idea, but again the general public who thinks a cpu will go faster because it has more cores will be unable to understand the underlying principles of the argument why it isn’t all that faster. ie) Qualcomm don’t really have to explain themselves because people just won’t get it.

    Now, they can try to show some benchmark results to support their claim, but again with Sammy showing how easy it is to dupe the damn thing, most people would be skeptical. Also, since when was a benchmark an acceptable reflection of the real everyday usage? Look at Asus Transformer Prime, it had amazing benchmark scores when it came out, it all went south when the IO bottleneck decided to screw everyone over.

    I want fast SoCs, octa core or not. Honestly, I don’t even care how many cores they have if it has acceptable performance/power ratio. Releasing the drivers and source code on top of it would make a nice cherry on the top.

  • foggyflute

    Intel will dominate with Bay Trail in non-LTE market anyway. And it’s quad core.

  • Jok Joa

    if everyone is like Qualcomm the world will never evolve…. lol

  • flamencoguy

    We’ll see how long it takes Qualcomm to come out with an octacore.
    I am not saying they can’t. But how long before they recant this line !

  • 2gerry

    ARE U REALLY SERIOUS??????? You call this a technology article? I know u know that you can think a lot better than this! The topic of this write up is a given. Companies will always say shit about the product or ideas of their competitors. Theres no news nor new skills/knowledge that one can absord from your article. If you cant think of anything to write worthwhile, go out, relax, perhaps go to the movie, istead of trying to fill up your website with articlex of no significant value, just to perhaps show your boss that you’re busy writing something.

  • mwhiz

    Snapdragon 400 dual core is good enough for ANY mobility use. Even gaming. Stop adding cores and fleecing people of their money.

  • flamencoguy

    Famous quotes: http://www.rinkworks.com/said/predictions.shtml

    This prediction will make it into that list

  • Al

    I think Qualcomm is just being a sore loser, it’s not about the cores. It’s about sales. Mediatek is aimed for mid-range price phones, $350 and below. While powerful Qualcomm chipsets are on flagship phones. Their MSM8225Q aimed for budget phones were not that good compare to MT6589. Asia market has sold more budget friendly android phones that have Mediatek chipsets than Qualcomm chipsets.

    In my view Mediatek is for the ones who can’t afford a more expensive phones with almost equal specs.