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back to article ARM exec: Forget eight-core smartphone chips, just enjoy a SIX-PACK

The last person that you'd expect to tell you that eight-core smartphone SoCs are overkill would be a man whose company licenses and gets royalties from those cores – but that's exactly what ARM's director of mobile solutions James Bruce told attendees at last week's ARM Tech Day. "Trying to utilize eight cores on a smartphone …

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I'm not suprised at all

I know a few people who work, or have worked for ARM - including marketing people. They are all straight-talking no BS, no FUD people.

They know that any small short term gains they make trying to scam people will just erode the long-term confidence and good will they have built in the industry. Telling it like it is is more beneficial to ARM in the long run.

Anyway, the licensing is very unlikely to be linear with the number of cores. The ARM fees for 8 vs 6 (or even 4) cores is likely to be very low. That reduces any short term benefit in scamming designers.

Leave the FUDding to Intel.

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JLV
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Facepalm

My building? No 4, 13, 14 or 24th floors. Nice to see we are an equal-opportunity supporter of superstition. Indulging folks living on "15th" who can't substract 2. ;-)

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Bigger is better

> My building? ...

and that is probably why an 8-core processor is important: as a sales tool.

Just like it's "better" to have a 12 MPix camera on your phone than just an 8MPix one (so 2013, darling!)

Maybe the trick that ARM should consider is not so much the "some biggun's and some little-uns". Just go for the numbers and have 8 (or 10, or 12) of the small processors. More people will be taken in by the processor-number marketing than will be by the benchmark number marketing - neither of which bears much relationship to the users perception.

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A bit like desktop then

I went from a quad core to an octo core. in 9/10 situations it makes no difference to anthing. Heck half the time only two cores are in use. the other 5% is when I'm compiling something in which case all the cores kick up. Really I'd probably be better off deactivating four of the cores and overclocking the remaining four. But eh... effort.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A bit like desktop then

That's because your octocore can't use all 8 cores anyway. If it's BigLittle based then you have two CPUs effectively, a fast one and a low power one. Much like laptops have two GPUs to save power.

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Re: A bit like desktop then

If you can, try disabling hyperthreading and seeing if it has any benefit.

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Re: A bit like desktop then

quote: "That's because your octocore can't use all 8 cores anyway."

I'm taking the "desktop" in the title to mean that this 8-core CPU is an x86 architecture rather than ARM, and thus not running big.LITTLE (capitalisation, meh). In this scenario, disabling cores and overclocking are relatively simple to do, and most desktop use cases rarely stretch beyond 3 threads anyway, so it sounds entirely plausible.

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Silver badge

8? 6? No, two.

All you really need is two. I honestly don't want a phone with a quad core, what a wasteful load of old nonsense. Even one is fine, but it's nice to have that extra hardware thread to keep responsiveness up.

Give me half a Snapdragon 801 (or whatever the latest, most efficient and highest IPC arch for phones is). (With the Adreno 330 intact).

Eventually my hope is that they'll do what AMD is pushing - use the GPU for heavier compute tasks. Having lots of CPU cores in your phone will then look like an archaic load of old bollocks.

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Re: 8? 6? No, two.

Problem with using a GPU for heavy tasks is the utter PITA it is to program then. Whereas multiple thread CPU based code is MUCH easier to write. So it's much easier to increase eh number of ARM cores and get better performance, than it is to use less ARM's and the GPU.

And of course, as long as your app or whatever was written multithreaded in the first place, it will just work and get faster as more ARM cores are added. Rather than having to rewrite a load of code for some arbitrary GPU.

That said, where appropraite, using a GPU can give impressive performance. It's just not really appropriate for general computing (yet).

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Alien

egg based measurement systems

It's about time the unit of a dozen was introduced into hardware terminology. All this counting in units of 8 or 10 has simply got out of control.

e.g.

"Dude.. Love your new (Brand X) mobile - how many cores is it rocking ?"

-- "Goes like stink and it's got half-a-dozen cores of ARM in it running at four dozen bit mode"

"Also, check out my new LAMP server, two dozen cores and 8 dozen Ryan Giggs of RAM"

-- "Amazing, what does that equate to in brontosauruses"

"Don't be a dunce.. A quarter of a dozen Brontosaurus is a unit of length"

Note : AMD used to employ the half-a-dozen core methodology in their Opteron chips, sadly it was more of a case that they simply couldn't get eight to operate than any desire to use that quite frankly superior Dozen system of measurement.

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JDX
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Re: egg based measurement systems

Then they call make special high-performance models under the product name Baker.

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Hype marketing.

Call it the 'V8' and Americans will snap 'em up

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Re: Hype marketing.

"Call it the 'V8' and Americans will snap 'em up"

An interesting example of the power of superstition and the number 8. The US consumer is convinced that the V6 is by definition an inferior engine to the V8. Meanwhile in Europe and Japan the focus is on getting ever more HP out of ever tinier 4 cylinder engines, because it is much easier to control external vibration with a small engine, they are more efficient, and the reduction in combustion chamber surfce area makes the control of emissions easier. Ford Ecoboost = ARM, traditional V8 = Intel.

Car and computing analogies seem to get closer by the week.

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Re: Hype marketing.

"Call it the 'V8' and Americans will snap 'em up"

Call it the 'V8' and it's tomato juice. "I coulda had a V8."

(Yes, I watched too much American TV in the 1980s...)

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Anonymous Coward

The current 8 core model is just two sets of 4 cores. One for high power, one for low power.

So you're not getting 8 cores at the same time.

So yes, 6 cores that are always available is better than 4.

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Except this article is not about 6 always available cores, but 4 low power or 2 high power cores.

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Coat

8 cores should also appeal to wizards

or even a wizzard

The one with Interesting Times in the pocket please

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Re: 8 cores should also appeal to wizards

Presumably built on an octiron substrate.

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I can quite easily use 4 cores flat out...

... when making games for said phones. Just saying.

Cas :)

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Joke

Re: I can quite easily use 4 cores flat out...

1 to run the game, 3 for Bitcoin mining...

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Bronze badge

I wonder when the 8-core Raspberry Pi becomes the standard.

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Work well marketing wise ...

You have very expensive top of the line flagship 8 core model that kills in all the benchmarks. And have a more reasonably priced 6 core option that you can honestly say works just as good in actual usage.

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Can I just get a phone or Tablet with enough RAM to deliver consistent performance of my current quad core? 1GB isn't enough by a long shot. :(

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