The technological field has seen a rapid advancement in the type, architecture, and speed of processors over the years. Processors have improved from single core to multi core processors so as to improve the general performance of computers. With the advancements in multicore processing, it is essential to know what is an octa core processor.
An octa core processor is basically a processor equipped with eight cores embedded on a single dye. With the principle of the more the merrier, a processor is fitted with eight cores to enabling it to multitask better than processors with lesser cores.
The octa core processor is designed for faster processing by multitasking.
Previous versions such as the hexacore processor and quadcore processor also work by multitasking but the octa core performs better due to having more cores.
What is an Octa Core Processor?
When asking what is an octa core processor first you should know why a processor is fitted with eight cores in the first place. When upgrading the processor, processing companies improve mainly the clock speed of these processors.
The clock speed is the number of cycles the CPU executes data in a second and it is measured in gigahertz. The companies also developed multiple processors in order to ‘split’ tasks. A processor has eight cores so that it can work using eight units in a single package. This is like having eight workers in a room working on a different task.
Even phones have octa core processors with companies such as Qualcomm implementing them in their Snapdragon 835 SoC. Octa core is widely used in phones especially the ones manufactured from 2016. This is because of the need for faster processing with the advancements in camera quality and the RAM in smartphones.
Having eight cores enable one to run multiple programs simultaneously without straining. Hence having the octa core definitely makes It different from using a previous processor with fewer cores. Some differences include:
What are CPU Cores?
A core is basically a physical unit on a CPU. Before the idea of cores surfaces, there was a only a single unit with single sub component like a single instance of ALU and the cache memory.
However, due to limitations of temperature, the overhead experienced by a single core when jumping from one task to another (Context Switch Overhead), and general limitation when multitasking, multiple cores were introduced.
With this, basically, each core acts as a processor of its own having its own cache memory, ALU and other sub components. This greatly improves the efficiency of the overall processor.
Is there a Performance Difference when Having Many Cores?
Having higher number of cores on a processor such as the Intel Core i7-10700 or AMD Ryzen 7 3700X can generally make them faster than their previous gen hexa or quad core variants because they use the principle of parallelization or parallel processing.
Parallelization means using more processors to handle different tasks hence reducing execution time.
Having more cores also provide more threads to the CPU. Threads correlate to the highest level of code that can be executed by a processor. If you have processor with hyperthreading (Intel) or Hypertransport (AMD) enabled then each processor can have two threads, octa cores have up to sixteen threads that aid data processing hence making it faster.
You may be inclined to think that an octa core processor; having eight processors is twice faster than a quad core processor; having four cores. That is not at all accurate. A quad core processor can be designed with more clock speed and beat the octa core in a performance test.
How the processor core is set up determines the difference between octa cores and other processors. The clock speed is the main aspect these processors and also the operating system determines your processor’s performance.
Take the following for instance:
The image above is the benchmark for quad core Atom X7-Z8750. The image below is the benchmark for Intel Celeron N4100 processor.
Despite both of them being quad core processors, the Intel Celeron N4100 is significantly better.
Factors that Matter For CPU Performance
We have made it clear that the cores alone are not the measure of CPU performance.
There are many other factors such as:
- Lithography and the number of transistors
- Base and max clock speed
- Single thread performance
- Does it have multi-threading enabled
- Cache size
- Integrated graphics card
Also Read: How is Processor Speed Measured?
Battery Consumption in Octa Core Processors
Battery consumption by a processor is a an important consideration when using mobile devices like a laptop or a cell phone.
More cores in the processor would lead you to believe that it requires more power. While that is true to an extent, it has to do a lot with the way the processor is designed and its overall Thermal Design Power.
The advancement in processors has led to an increase in power consumption and that is why most octa core phones also come backed with a large capacity battery.
Octa core-based smartphones whose processors are made by ARM actually pair four high performance ARM Cortex-A15, A17, or A57 cores with four low power ARM cortex A7 or A53 cores which reduce power consumption.
The purpose of this ARM technology is delegating tasks that require low power to the low power cores and tasks that require high power to the high-power cores. Implementing such a method clearly shows how power consuming octa core processors can be.
To get a clearer picture of what is an octa core processor and how are they designed to be power efficient let us look at some octa core processors.
Examples of Mobile Based Octa-Core Processors
Qualcomm Snapdragon 652
The QUALCOMM snapdragon 652 is an eight-core processor. It is packed with four energy-efficient ARM Cortex -A53 cores with four high performance Cortex-A72 cores. This specific one has a clock speed of 1.8 gigahertz and is paired with Adreno 510 GPU.
As you can see its cores are split into two pairs to reduce power consumption.
Samsung Exynos 8890
Samsung Exynos 8890 is an eight-core processor based on the big LITTLE octa core configuration (using two types of processors). It is embedded with four energy-efficient Cortex A-53 processors clocked at 1.6 gigahertz and four high power processors clocked at 2.3 gigahertz. This one also utilizes two sets of cores to allow power efficiency.
Should I Consider Buying an Octa Core Processor-based Device
What is an octa core processor has been clearly explained and buying an octa core-based device is based on choice. However, the pros of having an eight-core processor on your device be it a phone or computer generally outweigh the cons.
This is because octa cores are generally faster and are able to handle heavier programs. Gaming in an eight-core processor is also better on an octa core processor hence it may be advisable to check out eight core based devices.
However, it should be noted here that all octa core processor are NOT created equally. For instance a desktop based Octa-core processor like the Intel Core i7-10700 is lightyears ahead in performance as compared to a cell phone based octa-core processor even if it is the flagship model.