Multi Core Processors in Phones- Do they really deliver?


Phone manufacturers are coming up with newer technologies these days. One of them is using multi core processors. We have now reached a stage where processors with eight cores are being used. But, is is really worth it? Or is it just an advancement with no practical usability? Let's try to find out.

Introduction

Desktop PCs moved to multi Core technology a few years back due to high demand for performance. Using multicore processors, PCs could perform tasks much faster - at less power. Mobile devices are also facing the same challenge these days. We have been using our smartphones just like we do with our PC. We have come to expect the same capacity we are used to on a PC, but demanding increased battery life. This is where multicore processors have come into existence.

What Do The Cores Mean?

A smaller independent processing unit of a Central Processing Unit (CPU) is termed a core. A processor that uses more than a single core is called a multi core processor as whole. We have the nomenclature of Dual Core for processors having two cores, Quad core for the one with four cores and so on.

Do We Really Need Multicore Processors?

The need for multiple cores has arisen because of the need for parallel computing. Single core processors have time consumption as their main drawback. With multi cores, the task is divided between the cores which finish the task in lesser time, thus saving battery.
Yes, multiple cores have advantages, but one must realise that they also have their own set of disadvantages.

Advantages Of Multicore Processors
1.Faster Speed - Since each core behaves as a single processor, you will get enhanced speed in the performance.
2.Multitasking - The multi cores have increased efficiency in processing multithreads.
3.Higher Performance - Multiple cores allow the CPU to perform complex tasks at a lower power.
4.Parallel processing- Each of the cores have the ability to function independently from the other, one gets great multitasking capabilities.
5.Better Gaming - Multi core processors can offer better gaming experience. It is as a result of reduced size of workload on the processor by allowing game's AI to run on a separate core.

Disadvantages Of Multicore Processors
1.OS Design - Designing the OS for proper functioning of the multiple cores is a difficult process. Since the requirements of each of the cores is to be satisfied, it becomes a complex task.
2. Radiation of Heat - Usage of multiple cores generates more heat. So multicore processors need additional heat sinks.

Do They Really Work?

People tend to think that the multiple cores mean multiple level of performance. It is not necessarily true. The performance of smartphone does not solely depend on cores alone. There is also a need to have enough memory- especially RAM. An Octacore processor with just 1 GB RAM will not be able to deliver the kind of performance that a dual core processor with more RAM can do. Also there is also a need for the chip to strike a balance with operating system, battery and applications for offering the kind of performance it is supposed to.
So, in the end, what exactly transpires is that having multi cores alone will not assure better performance. For one, most of the apps available today are designed for single or dual core processors. They will not be able to take advantage of the extra cores.
To put it in simple words, when you double the cores, you are only doubling the CORES, not the other resources on which the cores depend to perform. Besides, the software should support "multithreading" - a term used to describe assigning a chunk of task to a core. Even the applications should have proper software layers to support hardware and software communication.

My Viewpoint

Well, of course, multiple cores are better than their single core counterparts. But, not necessarily. There has to be a proper amalgamation of software and hardware for it to work. A manufacturer cannot just use a Octacore processor and say they are the best. Unless the app developers are tweaking their applications to make better use of the multicore capability, these cores alone will not make much of a difference.


Article by Timmappa Kamat
Timmappa Kamat is a technology enthusiast. He has an active interest in newer technological developments. He is fond of new gizmos & gadgets. He loves to share his knowledge through tech-savvy websites as a freelancer. A Mechanical Engineer by profession, he is equally interested in blogging, with his own blog. He wants to carve a name for himself in blogging arena one day! If you need any clarifications about his articles,please respond here below or get in touch with him through his profile.

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