Pixel 6 Pro Tensor CPU leak paints a confusing picture

Ewdison Then - Sep 15, 2021, 8:19pm CDT
Pixel 6 Pro Tensor CPU leak paints a confusing picture

Major smartphone makers seem to have shifted their strategies a bit to market self-designed silicon, either for imaging or for running the entire device. Perhaps inspired by the attention that Apple has gotten with its new M1 Silicon, more and more manufacturers are getting into that same arena, from Vivo’s V1 imaging chip to the AMD-powered Samsung Exynos 2200 to, of course, Google Tensor. The latter has so far avoided being leaked to death, but this latest information might finally settle one debate while leaving pundits and experts scratching their heads.

There has been quite some speculation about the makeup of Google’s first-ever smartphone SoC, particularly in what configuration of cores it will use. Unlike what the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung have been using since last year, the Google Tensor was initially leaked to have a 2x2x4 setup. That doesn’t say anything about which cores would be used, but data extracted from what has been claimed to be a real Pixel 6 Pro finally sheds some light on that subject.

Confirming some theories, XDA says that the two most powerful cores will be Cortex-X1 cores running at 2.80GHz. The most common configuration, one that Arm itself espoused, uses only one Cortex-X1 core, usually assisted by three Cortex-A78 cores. Although not the latest Cortex-X2, this still gives the Google Tensor a theoretical lead over its contemporaries.

Unfortunately, the rest of the CPU information sort of negates that advantage. The two other powerful 2.25GHz cores have been identified to use the Cortex-A76 microarchitecture, while the four “efficient” cores running at 1.80GHz use Cortex-A55 cores. While the Cortex-A55 is more or less current, the Cortex-A76 from 2018 is two generations old now. That’s not even considering the fact that Arm already announced the Cortex-A710 and Cortex-A510 back in May.

These factors could affect how the Google Tensor performs in the wild, but it’s currently hard to gauge its actual performance with an incomplete picture. Cache size and GPU, the latter believed to be a Mali-G78 running at 848Mhz max, also play critical roles in the overall throughput of the silicon. Fortunately, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro might just be a few weeks away, and we’ll soon see just how good or bad Google’s first mobile AP really is.


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