Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.


All sorts of things have been used  to claim bragging rights in the chip business: cleanliness of your fab; shortness of your gate length; density of your memory; speed of your processor and, now, the number of cores on your IC.

Earlier this week it was reported that Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs had said that Samsung’s announcement of an eight core processor for a mobile phone was a publicity stunt.

Last year Intel brandished a 48 core processor for mobile phones which sits a little incongruously alongside this year’s announcement that it is focussing on the low-cost market.

The core thing has turned into a bit of a damp squib because still no one knows how to programme across multiple cores to evenly spread a general purpose load on the fly. After a surprisingly few number of cores the law of diminishing returns sets in.

So what do you brag about these days?

Tags: chip business, core processor, general purpose, mobile phones, paul jacobs

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  1. Mike Bryant
    January 18, 2013 10:59

    > After a surprisingly few number of cores the law of diminishing returns sets in.
    Or more precisely Amdahl’s Law sets in

  2. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan
    January 18, 2013 08:07

    This is rather bizarre of Qualcomm but for a different reason. Look closely at their Krait platform: you will find 2 Krait CPUs, 1 GPU, 3 Hexagon DSPs and one multimediaprocessor. That is 7 independently running cores.
    These DSPs are capable enough to run Linux.

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