Qualcomm and MediaTek not interested in octo-core CPUs

February 27, 2013
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    MediaTek no octo-core CPU

    When asked about their development of octo-core processors at MWC both Qualcomm and MediaTek seemed to shrug off the issue, simply stating that they don’t see any real consumer demand for an eight core behemoth. Octo-core processors don’t appear on the product road maps for either company, so Samsung looks to be the only manufacturer planning to put an eight core chip on the market, at least for the foreseeable future.

    But with many consumers seemingly more interested in product pricing, battery life, and less intensive CPU tasks like watching videos and browsing the web, than blitzing out 1080p games and CAD design, you can understand why the two tech companies are hesitant to expend resources on designing a balanced eight core CPU. Many of the best selling tablets are still dual core devices, and top of the line smartphones have only just leapt up to quad cores. So if you ask me Qualcomm and MediaTek are reading consumer appetites pretty spot on.

    As well as just consumer demand, Qualcomm was especially concerned that simply moving to eight cores isn’t going to improve the user experience. As many applications and operating systems are coded for four cores at most, it clearly doesn’t see a situation where eight cores are going to be useful, and I for one agree.

    So then isn’t Samsung wrong to branch out into eight core territory with its Exynos 5 Octa? Well not exactly, Samsung is looking at eight core chips from an energy efficiency perspective, balancing peak performance with minimal battery consumption on less intensive tasks. Check out the MWC demo if you want to see what this looks like in practice.

    Bedsides, the two companies are operating on slightly different design philosophies to Samsung. Qualcomm’s Krait CPUs are already designed to be energy efficient by working asymmetrically, and MediaTek products are aimed at slightly lower spec and more energy conservative devices anyway. So neither company would benefit much by moving over to a similar architecture to big.LITTLE.

    We’ll have to wait and see which design choices pay off over the next year, bring on the 2013 processor war.

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    Comments

    • Roberto Tomás

      I imagine they can hold off until ARMv8, given that their 800 is expected to be in the running against these latest big.Little processor arrays

    • http://www.garysims.co.uk garysims

      Hmmm… According to ARM, MediaTek has licensed big.LITTLE! See http://www.androidauthority.com/arm-big-little-161786/

    • Chinaren

      R&D in this area isn’t going to hurt Samsung any,

      • kascollet

        Especially considering ARM is the one doing the R&D :-D

    • kascollet

      That’s a weird way of saying things.
      - Big.little “octas” are quad core SoCs for developers. No optimization in involved : you never get more than 4 cores at the same time.
      Story is :
      - Cortex A9 core is outdated so OEM need a more powerfull one for 2013
      - The only higher-specs core designed by ARM is the A15, so be it
      - Sadly, Cortex A15 is powerfull… but not battery friendly (was designed for servers)
      - Big.Liitle adds one light core to each A15 core. This pair works just like a good core alone would : low battery drain under low load, big power only when necessary

      Qualcomm laughs because they don’t need all this mess of wasted silicon to get the job done.

      • sxs

        aptly said!
        why would Qualcomm need it, when Krait is already asymmetric and power efficient.
        and when Qualcomm doesn’t believe in dirty-marketing!

        But I am quite sure that very less % of Sammy’s fan (who are Techy) know that Exynos Octa is actually a Quad-core, else most Sammy’s fan are already bullied by dirty-marketing “Octa” core word.

      • Dragonetti

        Don’t forget nVidia Tegra 4 which doesn’t need the extra silicon as well to get the job done. Aldo devices with the T4 will come in Q3 Qualcomm has the advantage and market for it self right now. ;)

        • kascollet

          I really wonder how Tegra 4 will behave speaking of power consumption. It is a unique architecture with 1+4 A15 cores. I wonder how much compute the “front side” A15 will be able to handle (and how often the other ones will have to be powered on).

          • Simon Belmont

            Probably not often. The single companion core will probably handle the bulk of the mundane tasks most of the time. You know, the stuff that most people use their tablets for most of the time. That’s my guess, at least.

            The performance A15s will get powered on as needed for a performance boost and especially for gaming. I expect the lower power companion core will bring good battery life.

          • Dragonetti

            According to Android Authority’s Darcy Lacouvee at the nVidia stand the Tegra 4 has has 4 ARM Cortex-A15 core’s + 1 additional ARM Cortex-A15 core being used specifically for low-power tasks, yes that’s right a low power A15 core. Also see in the video http://youtu.be/I99ysTKndgU for more info and some test run’s/benchmark(s)

      • http://www.facebook.com/ashad.mamood Ashad Mamood

        Lol! Samsung fanboys will be tripping over themselves!

    • MasterMuffin

      Isn’t LG making an octa core?

      • Simon Belmont

        Yes. I said the same thing after I read “so Samsung looks to be the only manufacturer planning to put an eight core chip on the market.”

        I think there is a definite market for “eight core” SoCs. Even though they’re really just dual quad core SoCs, built for efficiency and performance, which seems like a good idea to me.

        • MasterMuffin

          Octa just sounds better!

    • QuanahHarjo

      Renesas’ APE6 is going to be a 7/15 little.BIG 8-core implementation as well, so Samsung won’t be *completely* alone.

    • Guest

      [quote]Qualcomm and MediaTek not interested in octo-core CPU’s[/quote] well read this, according to Digitimes “MWC 2013: Qualcomm, MediaTek not ready to develop 8-core smartphone CPU’s” (http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20130227PD205.html)

      Also the octa-core solution are in fact 4x cortex A15 high performance cores for the have work + 4x cortex A7 low power cores if the power of the cortex A15′s are not needed and will then save the battery life.
      The octa core is in terms performance powernot a real octa core with 8 equal core’s, imo the octa core term in this setting is a bit misleading

    • Guest

      A bit misleading Header ?? “Qualcomm and MediaTek not interested in octo-core CPU’s” well read this(incl. explanation), according to Digitimes “MWC 2013: Qualcomm, MediaTek not ready to develop 8-core smartphone CPU’s” http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20130227PD205.html

      Also the octa-core solution are in fact 4x cortex A15 high performance cores for the have work and next to hem 4x cortex A7 low power cores if the power of the cortex A15′s are not needed and consequently will save the battery life.
      The octa core is in terms performance power not a real octa core with 8 equal core’s, IMO the octa core term in this setting is a bit misleading without the correct explanation.

    • Dragonetti

      A bit misleading Header ?!? “Qualcomm and MediaTek not interested in octo-core CPU’s” well read this(incl. explanation), according to Digitimes “MWC 2013: Qualcomm, MediaTek not ready to develop 8-core smartphone CPU’s” http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20130227PD205.html

      Also the octa-core solution are in fact 4x cortex A15 high performance cores for the heavy work and next to hem 4x cortex A7 low power and performance cores if the power of the cortex A15′s are not needed and consequently will save the battery life.
      The octa core is in terms performance power not a real octa core with 8 equal core’s, IMO the octa core term in this setting is a bit misleading without the correct explanation.

    • Twisted247

      “As many applications and operating systems are coded for four cores at most, it clearly doesn’t see a situation where eight cores are going to be useful, and I for one agree.” – Quoted from the above article.

      This fool obviously doesn’t understand what the Octa big.little setup is or how it works. Obviously cause saying all the current apps are currently only coded for four cores so he sees no need for 8 lmao..

      Android why are people like this writing these articles. Maybe keep “Robert” to the articles on pretty case colors.

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