One thing our reader yss won’t let me get away with is suggesting that Android phones, in contrast to WP, get the best hardware, most recently attacking me for suggesting these multicore processors which have been popping up left and right are a good thing in general for consumers (and therefore another selling point for the platform) both for performance and for battery optimization in any phone running the 2.6 kernel of Linux (SMP support) whether an individual app was designed to take full advantage of such a trait of a particular CPU or GPU or not. He insists there is no benefit whatsoever, let alone a net benefit, and will cause all sorts of problems and so on and so forth.

My position is that in addition to being more full of shit than I am, I am incidentally correct in my welcoming these better performing and more efficient chips into a collection of devices that include and will always include much better hardware than whatever Microsoft’s thing is on, and furthermore, in the event of new advents in chips that are so awesome that developers have to regroup somehow, they will do it really quickly and consumers will buy the new phones with the new technology. Things improve so fast with anything related to Android that that trait is somehow, very weirdly, used to criticize it. Murani and yss could elaborate further on that I’m sure.

So because I’ve got all this journalistic integrity I searched high and low for anything to corroborate what he’s saying, even things from last year, and found absolutely nothing that lent his side any credence, a side which includes that he welcomes 800MHz processors slated for the next batch of Windows Phones, Nokias. Seriously, I recall him saying that.

On the other hand, most of the places I looked were Android friendly and given that Android has actual competition between its OEMs, whereas with WP it sounds like its OEMs are jumping ship as another takes over with its lower-ended phones, so naturally Android would attract the seemingly best (Samsung GS2) hardware OEMs can race to cook up. I did come across someone who was in my situation, a fight with a gang of yss-types on XDA, but spoke more articulately and with greater confidence and caps-indicated emphasis than I did so let me do a little copypasta here because this sounds pretty solid to me:

Energy consumption is related to CPU TIME.

You take a program that takes 10 minutes of CPU time to execute on a single-core 3GHz processor, split it between TWO otherwise identical cores operating at the SAME FREQUENCY, add in some overhead to split it between two cores, and you have 6 minutes of CPU time on TWO cores, which is 20% *MORE* energy consumed on a dual-core processor.

It is disturbing that there are people out there who can’t understand this VERY BASIC engineering.
Voltage, by itself, has NO MEANING. You are forgetting about CURRENT. POWER = CURRENT x VOLTAGE.

Battery drain is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to POWER. Not voltage. Double the voltage and half the current, power remains the same. Dual core does NOT increase battery life. It increases PERFORMANCE by ***DOUBLING*** the physical processing units. Battery life is increased through MINIATURIZATION and SIMPLIFICATION, which becomes *EXTREMELY* important as you increase the number of physical processing units.

It is the epitome of IGNORANCE to assume that there is some relation when there is not. The use of multiple cores relates to hard physical limitations of the silicon. You can’t run the silicon at 18 GHz! Instead of racing for higher frequencies, the new competition is about how much work you can do with the SAME frequency, and the ***EASIEST*** way to do this is to bolt on more cores!

For arguments sake, take a look at a couple of processors;
Athlon II X2 240e / C3…. 45 watt TDP, 45 nm
Athlon II X4 630 / C3…. 95 watt TDP, 45 nm
Same stepping, same frequency (2.8 GHz), same voltage, same size, and the one with twice the cores eats more than twice the power. Wow, imagine that! The X4 is, of course, FASTER, but not by double.

Now lets look at another pair of processors;
Athlon 64 X2 3800+ / E6…. 89 watt TDP, 90 nm
Athlon II X2 270u / C3…. 25 watt TDP, 45 nm
Different stepping, SAME frequency (2.0 GHz), same number of cores, different voltage, different SIZE, WAY different power consumption. JUST LOOK how much more power the older chip eats!!! 3.56 times as much. Also note that other power management features exist on the C3 that didn’t exist on the E6, so the difference in MINIMUM power consumption is much greater.

Conclusion: There is no correlation between a reduction in power consumption and an increase in the number of PPUs. More PPUs = more performance. Reduction in power consumption is related to size, voltage, and other characteristics.

It’s frustrating not know which angry know-it-all to believe. Check out this honey, she’s frustrated looking, right? If you click her into higher res you’ll almost feel the frustration.


Because I know you all are the least biased and most knowledgeable bunch, would you please settle this argument, whether or not the rapid influx of multicore processing into phones is a good thing, that a multicore phone is a better thing across the board than a single core counterpart? Meaning the phone wouldn’t be better with certain software specifically intended for such hardware and then suffer with software that hadn’t yet been updated?

Tl;dr, does Android’s kickass hardware make it kick WP’s ass even harder, relative to how hard it would otherwise whup dat ass?

Doug Simmons

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  1. Mutli-core does not save energy unless you simplify each individual core to make it more efficient. I will give you another simpler example. There are two metrics here: speed and battery life, i.e., energy.

    Say I have a core that runs at 10Watt and a program takes 10 secs to run when run on that core alone. I will consume 100 Joules of energy in running the program in 10secs.

    If I take two cores of the same strength** then power will be 20 Watts and the program will take 5 seconds to run. Energy consumed is again 100 Joules, so exactly the same energy but double the speed.

    Lets make it more real. Often times I cannot split a program up perfectly so two cores do not speed up my program 2x. Lets say with 2 cores my program takes 6 seconds. Total energy will now be 120 Joules. Thus, I have put more energy but gotten the job done faster.

    Which one I need depends on what I am doing. If its about running some program I don’t care about, I would rather it runs slow but leave my battery alone. If its this game that I want to run fast, I would rather it runs well but burn more battery.

    Now lets bring simplification into the picture. If I know that my program is going to be split into two parts anyways, I can use it to my advantage. When making multi-core, instead of using a core that burns 10W and runs the program in 10 seconds, I will use a SLOW core that burns 5 Watts and runs the program in 15 seconds. Total energy is only 75 Joules but time of execution is longer.

    Lets build a multi-core now. With 2 cores, the program will run in 7.5 seconds and consume 10 Watts. Thus, 75 Joules of energy and an execution time of 7.5 seconds. This is the best of both worlds as it gives highest performance for the same energy.

    The fundamental reason the above maths works is because I said the FAST core took 10 seconds and burned 10W. My slow core took 15 seconds, not 20, and burned half the power. Thus, the SLOW core, I am assuming is more energy-efficient (it does the same job with less energy). This is a proven assumption. Smaller, slower cores are always more energy-efficient. If you want to learn, this is because power is proportional frequency square. So if I halve my power, it only reduces my frequency by 30%. Thus, a core with half the power is about 70% the speed.

    I wrote a 200 page thesis on multi-core design and thats what I design for living for a big name company. Let me know if there are any questions.


  2. I wrote my own rant on “Multi-core: multi-nonsense or multi-opportunity” . Will appreciate any feedback.

    Multi-core: multi-nonsense or multi-opportunity

  3. I see you’re keeping up with the usual bullshit and lies.

    “whereas with WP it sounds like its OEMs are jumping ship as another takes over with its lower-ended phones”

    Care to back this up with what they call actual evidence? Please don’t use there being no new WP7 devices since launch as evidence. That is not evidence, especially since a new batch of WP7 devices will hit with Mango. In fact, if you do the research, HTC has as many as 3 new WP7 devices for later this year. Besides, WP7 doesn’t need 10 new phones every week. The rate of new Android phones is sheer lunacy. Nobody can keep up with them.

    As for multi-core processors, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that all. But the fact is Android is the only mobile OS of the big three that needs faster processors, because it’s unoptimized piece of shit that can even scroll smoothly. Why does WP7 need the latest and greatest multi-core processors when it’s already far more optimized and far smoother and more fluid than Android on far more powerful hardware? If you don’t believe me, follow the link.

    That’s a dual core Android and one of the more powerful phones on the market, against a 1GHz single core Snapdragon, and it still can’t keep up. In fact, it grinds to a halt until it freezes. Before you make this argument, both phones have 5MP cameras.

    The only thing the latest and greatest processors will benefit is gaming, and WP7 has already surpassed Android as a gaming platform, because of the quality of the games and because of Xbox Live.

    You seem to be worried about WP7, because you obsess over it constantly. This entire article is a moot point because WP7 will get the multi-core processors, even if it’s a bit behind Android in that area. WP7 needs a front camera and qHD resolution much more than it needs the latest processor.

    I don’t you expect you to acknowledge, because you have a habit of ignoring posts that destroy your arguments, or provides a compelling argument that you can’t simply dismiss.

  4. I might also add that Android has piss poor battery life, and multi-core processors aren’t going to make that any better.

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