Qualcomm exec dismisses eight-core chips

ITEM [Via Computerworld Hong Kong]: An executive at Qualcomm was so unimpressed by last week’s unveiling of a new octa-core chip by a rival company that he dismissed octa-core chips in general as “dumb” engineering.

Last week, MediaTek launched a new octa-core chip that it claims will offer better performance over competing processors. MediaTek says its octa-core processor – which, as the name implies, sports eight core processors – is “true” octa-core because it can use all eight cores at the same time. The company claims that will help reduce the chip's power consumption, while improving its stability in processing apps.
 
When the topic of eight-core chips came up during a roundtable with Taiwanese media last Friday, however, Qualcomm senior VP Anand Chandrasekher was highly critical of the idea, according to a transcript of his comments.
 
While Chandrasekher didn’t specifically mention Mediatek or any other company by name, he expressed disdain for the octa-core concept, saying that what matters is delivering the experience consumers expect, which comes down to a good modem, battery life and performance levels (via multimedia, graphics, and CPU), not how many cores you have.
 
“We don’t believe the best experience is defined by the number of cores. That’s actually a very silly way to think about delivering the capabilities that the consumer needs,” Chandrasekher said. “You can’t take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari. It just doesn’t make sense.”
 
And furthermore: "When you can't engineer a product that meets the consumers' expectations, maybe that's when you resort to simply throwing cores together. That's a dumb way to do it, and I think our engineers aren't dumb."
 
Asked if that meant Qualcomm will never do octa-core processors, Chandrasekher replied simply: "We don't do dumb things."
 
Which either means Qualcomm has ruled out octa-core in general, or just won’t design them in a “dumb” way.
 
Mediatek hasn't yet responded to Chandrasekher's comments.
 
For the record, Mediatek isn’t the only chipset company chasing eight-core processors. Samsung also has an octa-core processor, the Exynos Octa, although only four cores can be active at a given time. However, rumor has it Samsung is working on a “true octa-core” chip that will use all eight cores, and could appear in the Samsung Galaxy S5 next year.

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