back to article Eight cores good, ten cores better: MediaTek resumes Qualcomm multi-core war

Despite what Qualcomm claims, its main foe, MediaTek, claims that the core wars are not over. Qualcomm has argued – like a politician saying that “left and right is old thinking” – that it isn't about how many cores you had, but what you did with them. Qualcomm recently announced impressive performance figures for its new …

  1. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Ffs, 10 cores? No goddamnit, battery life, battery life, battery life! Concentrate on what we the customer actually want for a change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Ffs, 10 cores? No goddamnit, battery life..." Try reading, there are 4 low power cores, 4 low power faster clock (medium shall we say) and 2 high power, should result in less high power core usage.

      Anyway that's (battery life) the phone manufacturers fault, for some reason, 0.5mm off a phone thickness is critical, a larger battery and phone that works longer than a day isn't.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        I don't need to read to know that more cores can *assist* with battery life. I was getting more to the point of innovation being focused more so on the battery than more cores. The chip makers are taking a build it and they will come approach and the phone manufacturers are swallowing it and spending their money on these chips instead of the holy grail that is a phone that can do everything we want it to without charge anxiety and last more than a day.

        1. PleebSmash

          1. The chip makers aren't in charge of making batteries.

          2. The phone manufacturers will use better batteries if they are produced.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Better batteries are being produced right now. They're just fatter. Yet few makers make a fat phone, and the one that do exist aren't in demand. Yet skinny-ninny iPhones fly off the shelves. And they outnumber you.

            1. PleebSmash

              "Fatter" does not mean "better".

              Higher watt-hours per unit of mass or volume means better. The energy density of the batteries used in smartphones will increase over time, and will at least double over the next decade.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      What the customer really really wants is a phone they can hold in their hand comfortably for long periods at a time without aching their wrists. Thus, the lighter the better. Battery life isn't a big concern as long as it can last a day under average use, and power users just bring battery packs and know where to find charging stations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        With respect, you are wrong.

        I have never heard anyone complain that their wrists are hurting from holding their too-heavy phones.

        Battery life is a big concern: "as long as it can last a day under average use" isn't good enough. It should be: It can last a whole day, guaranteed, under any reasonable heavy use. I would really like to know for certain that my phone will last a whole day for certain, without having to nurse the battery or top up the charge in the middle of the day. I would willingly sacrifice a few tens of grams and a milimetre or so for this. Having the thinnest, lightest phone matters not at all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Well, it seems we'll have to agree to disagree since I get the exact opposite from my perspective. The most common complaints? 1. The phone is too heavy, my wrist aches. 2. The phone's light enough but it won't do what I want.

    3. PleebSmash
      Alert

      MediaTek claims that the 10-core, 3-cluster design results in 30% less power consumption over a similar 8-core, 2-cluster design. Such a large improvement would be easy to test once the chips are available.

  2. arnieL
    FAIL

    How about honoring GPL

    Yes Mediatek, looking at you. Perhaps they're afraid that seeing the source will reveal how incompetent they are at software. Oh but I see, they're not supposed to be good at just that but "systems"!

    There are petitions online, for what good they will do...

    1. Eaten Trifles
      Pirate

      Re: How about honoring GPL

      Could a competitor obtain an injunction to prevent Android phones containing Mediatek cores from being imported into a country that takes copyright law seriously? Mediatek may not be directly at fault if they're providing source to the phone manufacturers, but what good is that if the end-user can't get hold of it?

      GPL code without source availability is just pirated software.

  3. Sykobee

    More cores than 95% of desktop PCs...

    Two large, powerful A72 cores - great! This is a good inclusion.

    Eight A53s? This seems an odd choice. On the other hand, they're dirt cheap in terms of silicon area, and licensing, so why not, and it might be more sensible than a quad-A57 which is larger and more expensive. They can handle worker threads just great, and by clocking some low, and other high, you cover the perf/W curve a little better.

    I'd warrant that a 2xA72+4xA53 would feel pretty much the same as this, ultimately, but 6 is less than eight, and that wouldn't do.

  4. getHandle

    "...there are ways of taking single threads and distributing across multiple cores"

    Now that's a neat trick, assuming it isn't PR bullshit...

    1. Mikel

      Re: "...there are ways of taking single threads and distributing across multiple cores"

      Behold the power of Linux. These methods were developed by supercomputer code boffins faced with the alternative of continuing to throw out two year old gently used $100M HPC installations to adopt new chip tech. Now they can do additive upgrades. That it works in your smartphone is just a bonus of open source.

  5. Deltics

    It's a sad commentary on technological "progress"...

    ... that the web browser is considered a "heavy weight" task.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: It's a sad commentary on technological "progress"...

      But, but ,but according to Google we are supposed to be doing everything in a browser especially Chrome so that they can snaffle all that lovely jubly data of yours.

      Joking aside, browsers were once upon a time lightweight application. Just go and look at how much memory your browser is using..... Arrggghhhh 638Mb WTF!

      A sign of the times

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's a sad commentary on technological "progress"...

        Don't use Chrome. I'm using Palemoon, 4 tabs open, 133 MB out of 1 GB (out of 4.9 GB VMEM).

        1. Deltics

          Re: It's a sad commentary on technological "progress"...

          I presume you are implying that consuming "only" 133MB is somehow indicative of greater efficiency ?

          And 4 tabs open eh ? Unless each one is streaming video or viewing RAW photos on flickr etc, then even 133MB is a criminal waste of memory for displaying what is likely to be a few KB of content (+ probably a couple of MB of cruft in the form of Javascript, CSS and whatever other junk is needed these days just to get the underlying HTML to a presentable form).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And.....the Apple A9X has 3 cores and significantly out-performs all the octo/deca/whatever units. Maybe, just maybe, the hype is getting PHD'd (piled higher and deeper) with this core count thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can you substantiate your claim by providing some independent benchmark comparisons that can take the differing platforms into account?

  7. ruscook

    Yes battery life is a prime requirement - so turn off other cores as much as possible.

    This argument does remind me of Intel and Sun.

    Intel went GHz, Sun went multicore. A couple of years later Intel went multicore. Do multicore well and it can be better for multitasking than single core and lots of GHz.

    Now Intel are working hard to catch up in the low power stakes with Arm CPUs.

    Nothing new under the Sun (pun intended).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Meanwhile ARM is finding that to be a true workhorse, you need to be more like Intel, so the two companies are starting to come together in the middle, trying to find that optimal blend of power and efficiency, especially in a world where demand can switch to either extreme at any time (high efficiency when the phone is idle or asleep, high performance when it's running a media encode, game, or other heavy task). Thing is, efficient CPUs can't produce a lot of power on demand, and powerful CPUs tend to have a minimum power draw, so they're trying to find ways to, as Americans put it, "switch hit".

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