Samsung will have big.LITTLE. So what?

Lot of services followed article on EETimes where it was announced that Samsung will present 8-core ARM cpu. What was skipped on some of them is that this is big.LITTLE design so it is made as 4xCortex-A7 + 4xCortex-A15 setup.

Good to know that there will be silicon from other vendors than ARM Ltd. Current development platform is Versatile Express TC2 (Test Chip 2) which shows that amount of A7 cores does not have to match A15 ones (it has 3xA7 + 2xA15).

But amount of cores is one thing. People usually complain about battery life and guess that such setup will suck power like crazy… when it is especially designed to save power.

Take a look at current “war” at mobile market. 2 years ago single core 1GHz Cortex-A8 cpu wit 512MB ram was high end. Then we got dual core cpu (usually Cortex-A9 based like Exynos4, OMAP4, Tegra2) and 512-1024MB of memory. Battery usually had similar capacity and lived similar time. During 2012 we saw move to quad core processors in mobile devices (Exynos4412, Tegra3) with 1-2GB ram. Space for battery was same or smaller. Next year will bring Cortex-A15 cpu (Exynos5, OMAP5, Tegra4) but this eats power…

So phones will probably get big.LITTLE processors to give users with lot of cpu power when needed and battery life otherwise. Cortex-A5/8/9/15 will not disappear from market — will land in normal and cheap devices.

I have dual core Cortex-A15 netbook now (Chromebook) and it works fast. Who knows, maybe in 2014 I will be able to replace it with something powered by 4xA7 + 4xA15 processor (unless ARMv8 will land at same time). And there is a work on getting ALL of cores running at same time…