Just the other day, a report seemed to indicate that Qualcomm will refrain from joining the rat-race for higher core-count in their processors. While its competitors like MediaTek are busy bringing deca-core application processors to the market as part of its upcoming Helio X20 chip, Qualcomm, it seemed, was going back in time with a quad-core CPU set-up for their next-generation flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 820. Seemed kind of counter-intuitive at first, seeing as most leading chip makers like Samsung with its Exynos range and Huawei with its HiSilicon Kirin lineup, are all reportedly busy working on octa-core processors as part of their upcoming SoCs, without any indication that they’ll want to shift back to quad-core chips any time soon. Other, smaller chipmakers, including Spreadtrum Technologies, are also reported to be readying octa-core processors for its next-generation chips, although, most mobile applications – across platforms – hardly make use of that many threads simultaneously.
A new report from Digitimes Taiwan however, is now claiming that the San Diego, California-based Qualcomm Technologies apparently has an octa-core variant of the Snapdragon 820 in the works. According to ‘sources’ quoted by the publication, the chipmaker will supposedly launch that particular variant a few months after smartphones powered by the quad-core version starts shipping globally, with Q2, 2016 being the timeframe being mentioned in some quarters. Now, how reliable these alleged sources are is anybody’s guess, but this report, coming as it does just after a day of reports that indicated Qualcomm considers increased CPU core-count as a futile and meaningless marketing ploy, makes one wonder whether Qualcomm actually believes in the utility of increased number of CPU cores or if it doesn’t want to be left out in the cold if and when consumers do take a liking for devices running multi-core chips. Of course, it’s important to remember that everything is in the realms of speculation right now, so we’ll do well to wait and watch before jumping to any conclusion one way or another.
Only recently, Qualcomm unveiled its next-generation Snapdragon 820 SoC, which comes with an integrated quad-core CPU with the company’s custom 64-bit Kryo cores. With its announcement, people even likened the upcoming battle between the California-based chipmaker and the Taiwanese semiconductor company to the rivalry between Intel and AMD in the world of x86 chips. While AMD has been trying to get people hooked on to the idea of octa-core chips as part of its FX-series of desktop processors, Intel still continues to rule the roost with its core-i7 series of high-end quad-core (hyper-threaded) chips, which continue to outperform AMD’s chips for just about all applications barring a handful that require the extra cores.