The explosion of smart phones, initially kicked off by the iPhone, has fueled tremendous improvement in mobile processors. We went from 1 GHz single-core processors to 1.5 GHz quad-cores in less than three years. Now, the relatively easy ways of improving performance performance are out due to power and heat considerations, and manufacturers are being forced to innovate.
Nvidia chose to increase the number of GPU cores to 72, and switched to quad-core Cortex-A15 (with a fifth power saving core) for the Tegra 4. Some doubts have already been raised about Nvidia’s performance claims, but we will have to wait to know for sure. Qualcomm is relying on a combination of updating the GPU, increasing the CPU clock speed to up to 2.3 GHz, and increasing the bandwidth to deliver performance improvements with its new Snapdragon 600 and 800 series chipsets. Current generation Snapdragon chipsets have been reported to generate a lot of heat and as Qualcomm continues to push the clock speeds, that might become a bigger concern.
A short while back, Samsung revealed its cards, and shared with the world what it has in store for mobile devices. The new Exynos 5 will boast of an octa-core CPU. Yes, you read it correctly. The next generation SoC (System on Chip) from Samsung will have eight cores. Fortunately, the Exynos will never use all eight cores simultaneously. Exynos 5 will have two clusters of quad-cores. One of them will be Cortex-A15 CPUs, while the other one will be Cortex-A7 CPUs. A7 CPUs are known to consume a lot less power, and will be used for non-intensive tasks. In other words, Samsung is hoping to improve upon Nvidia’s concept of using a fifth power saving core for common tasks to save battery. The A-15 CPUs will kick in only when required, and as per Samsung’s stats, can deliver more than twice the performance of Exynos 4 quad.