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Print 10 comment(s) - last by maroon1.. on Aug 26 at 1:54 PM

Octa-core, 64-bit SoC power is coming to budget buyers

HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) played it a bit conservative with the HTC One M8's hardware spec, opting for only modest updates of its high-end flagship, and in some cases scaling its capabilities back from the previous year (for example, dropping the optical image stabilization package).  In the mid-range, though, were HTC has for some time expressed its largest interest in, the Taiwanese phonemaker appears poised to flex a bit of its muscle, adopting a bleeding edge spec.

The HTC Desire 820, the successor to February's HTC Desire 816, brings a major boost in both core count and processor architecture over its Snapdragon 400 powered predecessor.

The caption of HTC's teaser, posted by the company's official account on Chinese microblogging service Weibo, suggests a September 4th unveil -- a date which would put it just before the IFA 2014 (Sept. 5-10th) mobile electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany.  The text also reads:

World's first 8-core 64 (bit) phone -- yes, this is the first.

HTC Desire 820
HTC's Desire 820 appears to be packing the Snapdragon 615 onboard. [Image Source: HTC]

That title suggests that HTC is using Qualcomm Inc.'s (QCOM) new Snapdragon 615 chip, an octa-core 64-bit system-on-a-chip (SoC) based on ARM Holdings plc's (LON:ARM) Cortex-A53 core design.  The Snapdragon 410 (also 64-bit) would seem perhaps a more likely candidate, given the Snapdragon 400 found in the Desire 816; however, it does not come in an octacore variety, so the caption is almost certainly indicating the Snapdragon 615 is the chip du'jour.

Finer technical details of the Snapdragon 615 are still a little scarce, as it just now is starting to sample.  However, according to various leaks, we've heard the clock speed for this chip should be about 1.8 GHz for half the Cortex-A53 cores and about 1.0 GHz for the other quartet.  This makes the Snapdragon 615 a sort of quasi big.LITTLE chip, although it uses different tuning than true big.LITTLE cores.

Suffice it to say, though, between the four powerful 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set architecture cores, and the powerful onboard Adreno 405 GPU, this chip should be a midrange powerhouse.

HTC in a corresponding press release brags about its other firsts:
  • 2008
    • First Android smartphone (HTC Dream, aka the "G1" on T-Mobile U.S., Inc. (TMUS))
    • First WiMAX device (HTC Quartz w/ Windows Mobile, aka HTC Max 4G)
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
HTC Desire 820 -- firsts

Stay tuned -- sounds like we'll learn more about this phone in short order.

Sources: HTC on Weibo, via GSM Arena



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Not octo-core
By danbob999 on 8/25/2014 7:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's a quad-core CPU. Which is more than enough.
There are 4 main cores. I don't even think the 4 low power cores can be active at the same time.




RE: Not octo-core
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/25/2014 7:43:28 PM , Rating: 1
Where are you getting that information?

I haven't seen that info suggested by Qualcomm in any of its presentations... I've never heard of a multi-core mobile CPU -- even the recent trend of mixed designs with higher and lower clocked clusters of cores -- that was unable to run all eight at once if the processing demands necessitate that kind of performance and you have a full charge.

Are you sure about this? Do you have a source?


RE: Not octo-core
By danbob999 on 8/25/2014 9:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well the first Exynos 5 octa (Galaxy S4) is clearly an example of a mobile CPU branded as octa core in which only 4 cores can be active at a time.

Heterogeneous multi-processing was added to the new Exynos.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big.little#Heterogen...

If qualcom do not explicitly states that all 8 cores can be active at the same time, I conclude only 4 of them can be active. Otherwise they would brag about it. Anyways the low power cores are usually so slow that the added performance is negligible.


RE: Not octo-core
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/25/2014 9:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well the first Exynos 5 octa (Galaxy S4) is clearly an example of a mobile CPU branded as octa core in which only 4 cores can be active at a time.
Fair point... perhaps I should have specified "working CPU". There's a reason why the first gen Exynos 5 octa only shipped to limited markets in limited quantities.... in my understanding Samsung's initial Exynos 5 cores were defective; the clocking logic was screwed up and some shipped with failing cores. As a result they couldn't bring all eight cores to bear at once... they had trouble bringing even four online effectively.
quote:
If qualcom do not explicitly states that all 8 cores can be active at the same time, I conclude only 4 of them can be active. Otherwise they would brag about it. Anyways the low power cores are usually so slow that the added performance is negligible.
That seems cynical. Again, I think Samsung's struggles were somewhat unusual and the result of a rushed design.

What CPU did Samsung fall back on for the GS4?

Qualcomm's Snapdragon... there's a reason for that.


RE: Not octo-core
By bug77 on 8/26/2014 5:35:35 AM , Rating: 2
The whole reasoning behind big.LITTLE is to turn off power hungry cores when the load is light and use the more efficient cores instead. I have never heard of the lesser cores being meant to augment the others.
Plus, I can hardly think of any app that could use 8 cores on a mobile phone; on a desktop, that's in the video editing and 3D modeling realm.


RE: Not octo-core
By flyingpants1 on 8/26/2014 6:03:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
As a result they couldn't bring all eight cores to bear at once... they had trouble bringing even four online effectively.


The whole point of Samsung's design was to have either 4 little cores or 4 big cores active at a time, hence big.LITTLE. And the only bug that I'm aware of was the cache coherency issue - the 8 cores couldn't share cache, so they had to use RAM each time they switched between big and little. But maybe you've seen different information than I have.

Snapdragon 615 is indeed an Octa-core, Jason listed the specs accurately. There are eight A53s, I wonder why.


RE: Not octo-core
By bug77 on 8/26/2014 6:42:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The whole point of Samsung's design was to have either 4 little cores or 4 big cores active at a time, hence big.LITTLE.


big.LITTLE is ARM's design.
I believe Samsung tried something different and they didn't quite nail it from the first try.


RE: Not octo-core
By retrospooty on 8/25/2014 10:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
Can we get past this now? "Octa-core" mobile CPU's have been around for a year. We all know that it's a marketing term for ARM's big.little architecture with 4 main cores and 4 low power cores. We don't need to explain it every single time someone uses the marketing term "octa core". WE KNOW.


WP
By maevinj on 8/25/2014 3:42:13 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if they're going to drop WP8.1 on this along with Android.




8 little cores with different GHz
By maroon1 on 8/26/2014 1:54:37 PM , Rating: 2
Snapdragon 615 is using 8 little cores (cortex A53)

However, it is 8 cores A53 in 2 clusters at diff clocks

615 - Quad-core 1.7GHz ARM Cortex A53 + quad-core 1.0GHz A53
https://www.qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon/proce...

On the other hand Snapdragon 810, will be using quad A57 + quad A53, and also much faster GPU Adreno 430
https://www.qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon/proce...




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