We may be reaching the point where raw specs no longer matter and the software experience is paramount, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping manufacturers from pushing the boundaries. Chip foundry TSMC has created a 28nm ARM-based chip capable of reaching speeds up to 3.1Ghz. The chip is a dual-core Cortex A9 variant, and based on the “high performance mobile” process.
We've heard whispers on the wind of ARM chips reaching around 2Ghz, but this is the first time we’ve seen any mention of them breaking the 3Ghz barrier. We really have to wonder though: why does it matter? As the dual-core Snapdragon S4 proves, more cores and faster speed isn’t everything. A more efficient architecture and reduced power requirements will really make the difference when it comes to smartphone or tablet usage, not high clock frequencies.
Then again, OEMs like Samsung and HTC still seem to be stuck in the spec race. HTC is making use of NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core chip in the European HTC One X, and Samsung is using its own Exynos quad-core processor in the Galaxy S III. As for the American HTC One X proves, quad-core really doesn’t matter all that much, so while we’re sure a 3Ghz chip is a fine accomplishment, we can’t imagine it resulting in massive real world performance gains.