Major smartphone manufacturers appear to have switched their marketing strategy to focus on self-designed silicon, either for imaging or for powering the entire device. From Vivo’s V1 image chip to the AMD-powered Samsung Exynos 2200 to, of course, Google Tensor, more and more manufacturers are moving into that same field, maybe motivated by the attention that Apple has gained with its new M1 Silicon. The latter has so far escaped being leaked to death, but this new revelation may finally put an end to one discussion while leaving commentators and experts perplexed.
There has been a lot of conjecture regarding what Google’s first smartphone SoC would look like, especially in terms of core configuration. Unlike Qualcomm and Samsung, which have been employing a 2x2x4 setup since last year, the Google Tensor was first leaked using a 2x2x4 setup. That doesn’t indicate anything about which cores would be employed, but data collected from a rumoured Pixel 6 Pro offers some insight on the matter.
According to rumours, the two most powerful cores will be Cortex-X1 cores running at 2.80GHz, confirming several speculations. Only one Cortex-X1 core, generally aided by three Cortex-A78 cores, is utilized in the most prevalent configuration, which Arm themselves advocated. Despite not being the latest Cortex-X2, the Google Tensor has a potential advantage over its competitors.
Regrettably, the rest of the CPU data somewhat diminishes that advantage. The Cortex-A76 microarchitecture is used by the two other strong 2.25GHz cores, while Cortex-A55 cores are used by the four “efficient” 1.80GHz cores. While the Cortex-A55 is still relatively new, the Cortex-A76 from 2018 is now two generations old. That’s not even taking into account the fact that Arm released the Cortex-A710 and Cortex-A510 processors in May.
These characteristics may have an impact on how the Google Tensor performs in the real world, but it’s currently difficult to assess its true performance with such a limited image. The cache size and GPU, which is thought to be a Mali-G78 running at a maximum of 848MHz, are also important factors in the silicon’s overall throughput. Fortunately, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are only a few weeks away, and we’ll soon find out whether Google’s first mobile application is excellent or horrible.