Dispelling the Dual-Core Myth

Posted on Aug 18 2010 - 10:18pm by Kyle

Written by Russell H. Sr. Editor TDG Online

This topic is becoming increasingly vague and disingenuous as the rumors spread. The claims that an Android phone will be coming out in the end of 2010, the beginning of 2011, flown in by Santa on his magic dragon for all the little boys and girls of gadget land to enjoy are to numerous to count. So many little bits of information have come and flown about that this flurry of bad information is looming over us like a cloud. So please, take a seat and let’s have a rational conversation about this, okay?

Let’s start with the bad information. I’m sure by now everyone has seen the mysterious “HTC Glacier” performancecharts, and how it “blows everything away”. The “could this be the dual core Android?” buzzards attacked this like fresh meat. But what does this chart actually show? Look closely at the device’s performance and you will see that in every instance there is one other phone that out-performs it. The Samsung Vibrant scores either identical or superior numbers on this measurement system every time. What, we can have a dual core phone but it’s going to perform worse than a single core 2.1 phone? What’s the point? There isn’t one, because it’s not dual core – and if it is there’s no reason to own it.

The Glacier isn’t the only one getting this attention. The highly anticipated G2, the “G1 Blaze (which, as far as I can tell is an imaginary device)”, the upcoming line of Android/ChromeOS tablets, and really any future performance phone has this rumor surrounding it. Where’s the truth in these claims? Where’s the proof? I have yet to see processor names or numbers at all when these claims come up. Want to know why? The processors don’t exist yet. Here’s what we KNOW:

There are two companies right now trying to put out a Dual Core processor that is ready for mobile devices. In the left corner we have ARM with their Cortex-A9 processor. The A9 comes in two flavors – single and Dual Core. The Single core processor has not yet been used in any phone, and it’s recommended output is 800mhZ. The Dual Core variant is capable of a maximum output of 2ghZ, but it’s power consumption rate is nearly FIVE TIMES the rate of the single core. When tuned down, each core can output at 800mhZ per core, but also requires nearly 2.5 times the power of the single core processor. The dual core processor is not currently ready for end devices according to ARM, but the single core should be seen in devices (not necessarily phones) the end of 2010. In the right corner we have Qualcomm, makers of our beloved 1Ghz Snapdragon processor. These guys have been hard at it trying to get the dual core version of the Snapdragon, with outputs up to 1.5Ghz and power consumption rates untested. These chips are being specifically designed for HSPA+ devices with onboard Bluetooth, capable of decoding 1080p video sources. It’s an impressive chip, and Qualcomm PR says to expect the chip to be in mobile TV devices by the end of 2010, but no phones.

This is not me slamming the rumor guys, but a gathering of FACTS to help everyone understand that while it’s possible, it is extremely unlikely. Additionally, The Droid Guy has been assured by all of our sources that there are no Dual Core devices scheduled for launch in 2010. With this staggering volume of evidence, and the backing by our sources from Samsung, T-Mobile, Verizon, and several other companies – The Droid Guy is calling these rumors false, once and for all.

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  • Eric

    Check your sources for the facts:
    g2.tmobile.com is a fact

  • Eric

    Check your sources for the facts:
    g2.tmobile.com is a fact

  • Eric

    Check your sources for the facts:
    g2.tmobile.com is a fact

  • The Droid Guy

    We have in fact we were one of the first outlets to pick up the G2 story Wednesday Morning. No doubt the G2 is coming out, just not with a dual core processor.

  • The Droid Guy

    We have in fact we were one of the first outlets to pick up the G2 story Wednesday Morning. No doubt the G2 is coming out, just not with a dual core processor.

  • The Droid Guy

    We have in fact we were one of the first outlets to pick up the G2 story Wednesday Morning. No doubt the G2 is coming out, just not with a dual core processor.

  • Firehead

    That’s right. It’s not a dual core. It’s a quad core. Santa told me himself.

  • Firehead

    That’s right. It’s not a dual core. It’s a quad core. Santa told me himself.

  • Firehead

    That’s right. It’s not a dual core. It’s a quad core. Santa told me himself.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    Well at least now we know for sure! You really cannot get a better source than that.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    Well at least now we know for sure! You really cannot get a better source than that.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    Well at least now we know for sure! You really cannot get a better source than that.

  • Neil

    What’s this about then?

    http://twitter.com/jonlech/status/20443552130

    What’s ‘wicked fast’? I assume he’s already seen the Desire and the Samsung S. The Ace/Desire HD is supposed to have the same proc as the Desire, so…?

  • Neil

    What’s this about then?

    http://twitter.com/jonlech/status/20443552130

    What’s ‘wicked fast’? I assume he’s already seen the Desire and the Samsung S. The Ace/Desire HD is supposed to have the same proc as the Desire, so…?

  • Neil

    What’s this about then?

    http://twitter.com/jonlech/status/20443552130

    What’s ‘wicked fast’? I assume he’s already seen the Desire and the Samsung S. The Ace/Desire HD is supposed to have the same proc as the Desire, so…?

  • Somebody

    Right… you ask the chip maker what they want to do with it.

    How did that go with intel poulsbo platform eh? Never intended for netbooks, and YET there are TONS of netbooks out there running intel atom z5xx CPU’s and GMA500 Poulsbo. FAR FAR more netbooks running it than non-netbooks in fact.

    So what DO you make of the new dual core qualcomm’s?

    MSM8260, MSM8660, QSD8672….
    http://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2010/06/01/qualcomm-ships-first-dual-cpu-snapdragon-chipset
    — yes, they exist.

    And how about the FACT that they HAVE sent them to HTC? Seems a little more than rumor to me. If not in a phone, then WTF do you think HTC will do with them? Sell them as breakfast cereal?

    And then FINALLY, there is the big nasty fact that you have conveniently IGNORED: That having multiple cores does NOT instantly guarantee superior performance!!!!! FACT: You need to run MULTI-THREADED SOFTWARE to benefit from mult-core CPUs! In some cases, the MULTI-CORE CPU actually performs WORSE in single-threaded processing than a single-core chip.

    And lets talk about that GL benchmark you reference…. You do know that a multi-core CPU does NOT mean multi-core GPU, don’t you? The GL performance is primarily a function of the GPU — the CPU has LITTLE BEARING on the GL performance!

  • Somebody

    Right… you ask the chip maker what they want to do with it.

    How did that go with intel poulsbo platform eh? Never intended for netbooks, and YET there are TONS of netbooks out there running intel atom z5xx CPU’s and GMA500 Poulsbo. FAR FAR more netbooks running it than non-netbooks in fact.

    So what DO you make of the new dual core qualcomm’s?

    MSM8260, MSM8660, QSD8672….
    http://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2010/06/01/qualcomm-ships-first-dual-cpu-snapdragon-chipset
    — yes, they exist.

    And how about the FACT that they HAVE sent them to HTC? Seems a little more than rumor to me. If not in a phone, then WTF do you think HTC will do with them? Sell them as breakfast cereal?

    And then FINALLY, there is the big nasty fact that you have conveniently IGNORED: That having multiple cores does NOT instantly guarantee superior performance!!!!! FACT: You need to run MULTI-THREADED SOFTWARE to benefit from mult-core CPUs! In some cases, the MULTI-CORE CPU actually performs WORSE in single-threaded processing than a single-core chip.

    And lets talk about that GL benchmark you reference…. You do know that a multi-core CPU does NOT mean multi-core GPU, don’t you? The GL performance is primarily a function of the GPU — the CPU has LITTLE BEARING on the GL performance!

  • Somebody

    Right… you ask the chip maker what they want to do with it.

    How did that go with intel poulsbo platform eh? Never intended for netbooks, and YET there are TONS of netbooks out there running intel atom z5xx CPU’s and GMA500 Poulsbo. FAR FAR more netbooks running it than non-netbooks in fact.

    So what DO you make of the new dual core qualcomm’s?

    MSM8260, MSM8660, QSD8672….
    http://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2010/06/01/qualcomm-ships-first-dual-cpu-snapdragon-chipset
    — yes, they exist.

    And how about the FACT that they HAVE sent them to HTC? Seems a little more than rumor to me. If not in a phone, then WTF do you think HTC will do with them? Sell them as breakfast cereal?

    And then FINALLY, there is the big nasty fact that you have conveniently IGNORED: That having multiple cores does NOT instantly guarantee superior performance!!!!! FACT: You need to run MULTI-THREADED SOFTWARE to benefit from mult-core CPUs! In some cases, the MULTI-CORE CPU actually performs WORSE in single-threaded processing than a single-core chip.

    And lets talk about that GL benchmark you reference…. You do know that a multi-core CPU does NOT mean multi-core GPU, don’t you? The GL performance is primarily a function of the GPU — the CPU has LITTLE BEARING on the GL performance!

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    Yes, let’s pull down the article and admit I was dead wrong because of a mostly comical tweet. The US will not see a Dual Core phone RELEASED by the end of 2010. That’s all I am saying here.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    Yes, let’s pull down the article and admit I was dead wrong because of a mostly comical tweet. The US will not see a Dual Core phone RELEASED by the end of 2010. That’s all I am saying here.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    Yes, let’s pull down the article and admit I was dead wrong because of a mostly comical tweet. The US will not see a Dual Core phone RELEASED by the end of 2010. That’s all I am saying here.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    You raised some really great arguments, but nothing you said here counters my point – which is that we will not see a dual core machine by 2010, and the only unconfirmed example so far did not perform any better than their 1ghz counterparts.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    You raised some really great arguments, but nothing you said here counters my point – which is that we will not see a dual core machine by 2010, and the only unconfirmed example so far did not perform any better than their 1ghz counterparts.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    You raised some really great arguments, but nothing you said here counters my point – which is that we will not see a dual core machine by 2010, and the only unconfirmed example so far did not perform any better than their 1ghz counterparts.

  • Neil

    Sorry didn’t mean to attack the article, just speculating!

    I agree it’s too early for a dual-core. Nothing suggests that what he’s seen is ‘dual core’, maybe it’s the HTC Desire HD and it has a higher-clocked Snapdragon or something.

    If they’re giving out demo units (in an N1 ‘dogfood’ style) then I’d hope release is not too far off.

  • Neil

    Sorry didn’t mean to attack the article, just speculating!

    I agree it’s too early for a dual-core. Nothing suggests that what he’s seen is ‘dual core’, maybe it’s the HTC Desire HD and it has a higher-clocked Snapdragon or something.

    If they’re giving out demo units (in an N1 ‘dogfood’ style) then I’d hope release is not too far off.

  • Neil

    Sorry didn’t mean to attack the article, just speculating!

    I agree it’s too early for a dual-core. Nothing suggests that what he’s seen is ‘dual core’, maybe it’s the HTC Desire HD and it has a higher-clocked Snapdragon or something.

    If they’re giving out demo units (in an N1 ‘dogfood’ style) then I’d hope release is not too far off.

  • http://reukiodo.dyndns.org/ reukiodo

    …in a GL (graphics) benchmark…

    The GL benchmark does nothing to prove or disprove the number of CPU cores. What it shows is that the graphics performance is a bit less than the Galaxy S’ PowerVR SGX540 GPU. A single core CPU with a better GPU will still perform better in a graphics benchmark than a dual core CPU with a worse GPU because a GL benchmark is designed to compare GRAPHICS, not CPU.

    To use a graphics benchmark to prove the core number of a CPU (either more or less) is ridiculous.

  • http://reukiodo.dyndns.org/ reukiodo

    …in a GL (graphics) benchmark…

    The GL benchmark does nothing to prove or disprove the number of CPU cores. What it shows is that the graphics performance is a bit less than the Galaxy S’ PowerVR SGX540 GPU. A single core CPU with a better GPU will still perform better in a graphics benchmark than a dual core CPU with a worse GPU because a GL benchmark is designed to compare GRAPHICS, not CPU.

    To use a graphics benchmark to prove the core number of a CPU (either more or less) is ridiculous.

  • http://reukiodo.dyndns.org/ reukiodo

    …in a GL (graphics) benchmark…

    The GL benchmark does nothing to prove or disprove the number of CPU cores. What it shows is that the graphics performance is a bit less than the Galaxy S’ PowerVR SGX540 GPU. A single core CPU with a better GPU will still perform better in a graphics benchmark than a dual core CPU with a worse GPU because a GL benchmark is designed to compare GRAPHICS, not CPU.

    To use a graphics benchmark to prove the core number of a CPU (either more or less) is ridiculous.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    I agree completely – the paragraph was aimed at the dozens of websites that took this information and cried “dual core omgomgomg”

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    I agree completely – the paragraph was aimed at the dozens of websites that took this information and cried “dual core omgomgomg”

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    I agree completely – the paragraph was aimed at the dozens of websites that took this information and cried “dual core omgomgomg”

  • barleysinger

    Please tell me what this machine is then…

    http://cgi.ebay.com/8-HD-WIFI-WebCam-3G-UDisk-RockChip-Android-1-5-APAD-MID-/280555701334?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item41526c4456

    I see a lot of ‘droid’ machines out on ebay, some 3G and some without cell access, which claim to be ‘dual core’ and show stats like this:

    Processor: Rock Chip RK2808 CPU600MHz + DSP600MHz
    Processor frequency: 1.2GHz

    …or this one

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SUPER-SLIM-8-GOOGLE-ANDROID-OS-TOUCHSCREEN-/220649535087?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item335fbcb66f

    Features Rockchip 2808 600mhz dual core ARM CPU

    and here is another one…

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SUPER-SLIM-7-GOOGLE-ANDROID-OS-TOUCHSCREEN-/220648951070?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item335fb3cd1e

    Features Rockchip 2808 600mhz dual core ARM CPU

    —–
    so what exactly are these people selling if they are not actually dual core machines?

  • barleysinger

    Please tell me what this machine is then…

    http://cgi.ebay.com/8-HD-WIFI-WebCam-3G-UDisk-RockChip-Android-1-5-APAD-MID-/280555701334?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item41526c4456

    I see a lot of ‘droid’ machines out on ebay, some 3G and some without cell access, which claim to be ‘dual core’ and show stats like this:

    Processor: Rock Chip RK2808 CPU600MHz + DSP600MHz
    Processor frequency: 1.2GHz

    …or this one

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SUPER-SLIM-8-GOOGLE-ANDROID-OS-TOUCHSCREEN-/220649535087?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item335fbcb66f

    Features Rockchip 2808 600mhz dual core ARM CPU

    and here is another one…

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SUPER-SLIM-7-GOOGLE-ANDROID-OS-TOUCHSCREEN-/220648951070?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item335fb3cd1e

    Features Rockchip 2808 600mhz dual core ARM CPU

    —–
    so what exactly are these people selling if they are not actually dual core machines?

  • barleysinger

    Please tell me what this machine is then…

    http://cgi.ebay.com/8-HD-WIFI-WebCam-3G-UDisk-RockChip-Android-1-5-APAD-MID-/280555701334?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item41526c4456

    I see a lot of ‘droid’ machines out on ebay, some 3G and some without cell access, which claim to be ‘dual core’ and show stats like this:

    Processor: Rock Chip RK2808 CPU600MHz + DSP600MHz
    Processor frequency: 1.2GHz

    …or this one

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SUPER-SLIM-8-GOOGLE-ANDROID-OS-TOUCHSCREEN-/220649535087?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item335fbcb66f

    Features Rockchip 2808 600mhz dual core ARM CPU

    and here is another one…

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SUPER-SLIM-7-GOOGLE-ANDROID-OS-TOUCHSCREEN-/220648951070?pt=US_Tablets&hash=item335fb3cd1e

    Features Rockchip 2808 600mhz dual core ARM CPU

    —–
    so what exactly are these people selling if they are not actually dual core machines?

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    There are no US releases of any of these devices. Furthermore not a single one of them are phones, and I think the one picture was a Blackberry. While yes these may technically be “Android Devices” in that they have Android on them, I do not think they are legitimate devices from companies reputable enough to sell in the US, so I did not include them,, nor have I tested any of them myself.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    There are no US releases of any of these devices. Furthermore not a single one of them are phones, and I think the one picture was a Blackberry. While yes these may technically be “Android Devices” in that they have Android on them, I do not think they are legitimate devices from companies reputable enough to sell in the US, so I did not include them,, nor have I tested any of them myself.

  • http://www.russellholly.name Russell Holly

    There are no US releases of any of these devices. Furthermore not a single one of them are phones, and I think the one picture was a Blackberry. While yes these may technically be “Android Devices” in that they have Android on them, I do not think they are legitimate devices from companies reputable enough to sell in the US, so I did not include them,, nor have I tested any of them myself.