As we all know, mobile chipsets are currently the next big thing in the industry. Every manufacturer from the desktop industry is now stepping into the scene with mobile chipsets. NVIDIA (GPU) and Intel are the recent additions to this list. But if there’s one company which has been there all along, it is Qualcomm. The company which currently makes Snapdragon chipsets in both dual core and quad core avatars is the go-to company for almost every smartphone manufacturer out there. Even though one would say its main rival in the industry is NVIDIA right know which is known for the Tegra series of chips, there’s Samsung in the picture too with its Exynos chipsets. Although we don’t see Exynos chipsets being used in other smartphones right now, one wouldn’t argue with the fact that Samsung makes the best mobile SoCs in the market today, at least in terms of sheer benchmarks. Samsung upped the ante in a major way with the announcement of the Exynos 5 Octa which is an 8 core mobile SoC utilizing ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture consisting of four ARM Cortex-A7 cores and four ARM Cortex-A15 cores divided equally for CPU intrinsic as well as low performance tasks. And rival chip maker Qualcomm doesn’t have nice things to say about the new chipset. Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs thinks that the new Samsung mobile chipset is “just a misleading publicity stunt“.
He had this and plenty more to say about Samsung’s new chipset while speaking with reporters in China. So why does he say this? Well, let’s think from his perspective. Samsung’s new “eight-core” chip, despite featuring eight CPU cores doesn’t actually run all eight cores. As we mentioned above, it’s either the four Cortex-A7 cores that are working or the Cortex-A15 cores running at any given time and not all eight of them simultaneously. This is to reduce the massive amounts of power consumed by Cortex-A15 CPUs. So Samsung pretty wisely decided to use the Cortex-A15 cores only for heavy duty tasks, while for not so heavy duty tasks, the Cortex-A7 cores are used. Qualcomm doesn’t quite like the theory of “more is better” which is predominant in the mobile world these days. And in a way, it’s right in criticizing Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa. But we can only criticize something when we compare them with the competition and see how it fares. So we’ll not pass the judgment until we see the Snapdragon 800 series go up against the Exynos 5 Octa in real world usage and not just benchmarks.
In praise of Qualcomm’s Series 800 and 600 chipsets, Mr. Jacobs said that even though they’re just four cores, these chips can adapt to the situation and utilize the CPU cores accordingly. So the battle lines have been drawn by Qualcomm and it will now depend on how Exynos 5 Octa running smartphones will respond to the criticism of the Qualcomm chief.