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10-03-2012 12:27 AM
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  1. a5cent's Avatar
    Even though 4 cores are not useful now, it doesn't mean it wont be useful in 6 months. But if we blindly put the breaks on WP8 with 4 cores, then we don't give developers something to push for.
    <snipped>
    Its the chicken and the egg: Developers can't maximize for 4 cores if we tell them to hold and stay with a 2 core
    <snipped>
    But getting these threads to do something useful
    Hey ebsn. Apparently, you are still of the persuasion that all we need to do is add more cores and at some point down the road our WP apps will start using it. You’re trying to solve a chicken and egg problem. That’s great; but unfortunately, that chicken and egg problem doesn’t exist. The problem is a completely different one; one which I already tried to explain in previous posts. Either you haven't read some of my previous posts, or you didn’t understanding them, but I’m not sure exactly what it is you don’t understand. Maybe you need to reread them?

    We’ve had quad-core CPU’s in the PC space for almost six years now. In the consumer technology industry, that is a shear eternity. Nobody is stifling technology here, and yet barely a consumer software title exists (not talking about video editing, scientific simulations, server software or high end rendering applications) that makes good use of a quad-core CPU. What exactly is it about the size, temperature and power constrained smartphone industry, that makes you think they will fair any better?

    We might try an experiment... If you are a software developer, pick any number of apps you want from any smartphone platform. Then imagine what their threading model most likely looks like, assuming the app is targeting two cores. Then figure out how you would expand on that threading model so it makes use of four cores. Now explain how that change leads to a perceptible improvement in the user’s experience. Either you won’t be able to do it, or I’ll be able to explain where you’re thinking is wrong (you might be inclined to consider some irrelevant app like a benchmarking tool intended to show off quad-core CPU’s, but I think we should restrict ourselves to actual real applications and games).
    I will always be one to push technology instead of stiffle it.
    Adding more cores to a multi-core CPU architecture is a rather simple thing to do. If that is all that is required of SoC designers in order for them to charge you a premium for a supposedly high end phone, then that is all they will do. Objectively however, there is nothing that phone will be able to do noticeably better. Not now, not in six months, not in five years (I explained why in previous posts). Buy paying a premium for what is basically no real engineering effort (I’m just referring to the core count here), and which won’t actually make our devices noticeably better, you are part of the force that is stifling technology instead of pushing it.
    WP8 Kernel can theoretically handle 64 cores. So how long are we supposed to put the breaks at 2?
    Not just theoretically, also practically. And I too wish we would finally take our foot of the brakes... by collectively pushing for things that actually matter!
    We should be obsessing over much faster RAM which is currently the biggest bottleneck when it comes to app startup times. We should be picketing the entire industry for better battery life! We should also be worried that Microsoft might allow manufacturers to build WP8 devices with the measly Adreno 225 GPU. That would be terrible, as developers will primarily be targeting the lowest spec’ed WP8 GPU for the next 2.5 years. This really will make a HUGE difference in the quality of apps we can expect for WP8. Nothing less than standardizing on the Adreno 320 will do. But, how many people are up in arms about this? Instead, most of the enthusiast community is collectively drooling over things that will make almost no difference whatsoever... core count.

    @thecaringkind

    Hello thecaringkind. You raise a few good questions in your post. I hope you don’t mind me nittpicking two issues:
    I like the way that WP was originally designed in that the OS was coded to work VERY well with a single core chipset.
    This is not an accurate statement. WP was designed to work very well with one particular SoC (that happened to incorporate a single-core CPU). There is a LOT more to optimizing an OS to a hardware platform then just the number of general purpose processing cores.
    All of us would like an instant response, whether we are opening an app or browsing the web, however can any of us that may have the Lumia 900 truly say that the phone is 'slow'?
    A lot of people have said WP7 is so efficient, that even dual-cores are overkill. I don’t belong to that group. One very important app, namely IE, would have benefited tremendously from a dual-core CPU. The Lumia 900 certainly isn’t slow, but particularly on LTE networks the single core CPU does become the bottleneck preventing IE from being faster.
    Last edited by a5cent; 08-17-2012 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Spelling
    08-17-2012 02:07 PM
  2. sting7k's Avatar
    Dual core CPU and quad core GPU SoC. Apple has it right.
    a5cent likes this.
    08-17-2012 02:25 PM
  3. PG2G's Avatar
    Aren't there games being released on PCs that take heavy advantage of quad+ cores nowadays? Not to mention, all the consoles are multicore and will have even more cores next gen. Surely that is one class of application that has adapted well to multicore.
    08-17-2012 03:42 PM
  4. a5cent's Avatar
    Aren't there games being released on PCs that take heavy advantage of quad+ cores nowadays? Not to mention, all the consoles are multicore and will have even more cores next gen. Surely that is one class of application that has adapted well to multicore.
    Hey PG2G. Unfortunately, I'm currently somewhat time constrained. All I can give you is a quick answer. For everything else I will need to get back to you in about two weeks. Sorry.

    First of all, we must be very clear that only a small minority of all games actually have the type of workloads that are beneficially distributed across multiple cores in the first place. I’m referring to the technical masterpieces of the gaming industry; fast 3D games with lots of AI and real-time physics simulations like Battlefield3, Skyrim and Criysis. Card-, puzzle-, tower defence-, and even many simple racing games are just some examples of games for which there isn’t much benefit to distributing their workloads across multiple cores (usually none at all).

    Most of these high-tech games will draw upon all the cores of a quad-core CPU. For these games you might say they “take advantage of quad+ cores”. I’m not sure if it is correct to say that they “take heavy advantage of quad+ cores”. In most cases there isn’t any perceivable benefit between comparable dual-core and quad-core setups. Why? I could give you many reasons, but these are the most relevant:

    a)
    Of these few high-tech games, the majority end up being GPU bond. This gives individual CPU cores “breathing room”. This “breathing room” usually suffices to give dual-cores enough time to catch up with whatever a quad-core CPU would have completed quicker.

    b)
    So, of those games that end up being CPU bound instead of GPU bound, fewer still end up saturating all available cores to capacity (actually none at all). Typically, the core executing the master-thread will be saturated, with the remaining cores running far below that mark. A game running on a quad-core CPU that saturates three cores to 30%, will run just as well on a comparable dual-core CPU. Skyrim is one modern example of a game that behaves exactly so.

    Both of these issues also apply to games on smartphones... actually even more so. On the other hand, the differences between PC and smartphone gaming reduce the likelihood of getting titles, that make good use of quad-core CPU's on smartphones, even further:

    1)
    Smartphones power limitations and the differences in thread scheduling between mobile and desktop OS's will make developers think a lot harder about whether or not they even want to try to go quad-core (assuming they can find a use for it at all).

    2)
    Also consider that these high-tech PC games have huge budgets allowing software engineers to invest the months and months of effort required to make quad-core gaming work. These games retail at around $60 (at least in my part of the world). The budgets for smartphone games are laughably small in comparison... that means less money to spend on expensive engineers. What would you expect to happen under such conditions?

    Before I close, I need to make one important statement about comparing a games performance on dual-core vs. quad-core CPU's. Those comparisons are only fair, if the CPU's are identical in all aspects except core count. Making fair comparisons isn't as easy as it sounds, for example, none of Intel’s dual-core SB CPU’s can dynamically overclock like their quad-core counterparts (big difference). This gets even harder when comparing smartphone CPU's, as the differences are much larger still... to the degree where a single core on one of Qualcomm's dual-core SoC's can be twice as powerful as a single core on one of nVidias quad-core SoC's (no joke!).

    This is actually exactly how it should be. Assume you are a SoC designer targeting a certain SoC price from which you derive your transistor and power budget. You now have a choice to make. If you want to have four cores instead of two, each of those cores will have half of the transistor budget (and end up half as powerful) than what you would have achieved with a dual-core design. There is no way around that. Based on how the software on our smartphones work, two powerful cores will always be preferable to four weaker ones. I'm afraid many consumers will fall into this trap, and you can't really blame them... given the choice between two devices, identical in all aspects (incl. price) except CPU core count (one dual-core and one quad-core), it is likely many would buy the quad-core device, even though the dual-core would have been MUCH better (given that both CPU's had an identical transistor budget).

    Apple and Microsoft can both develop/standardize on hardware that is actually better (use two powerful cores) instead of focusing on marketability (use four weaker cores). The question is whether or not they will.
    Last edited by a5cent; 09-07-2012 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Rewrote the final paragraph
    grasshoper and Gaichuke like this.
    08-21-2012 11:37 PM
  5. cp2_4eva's Avatar
    Found this link a while ago. To sum it up, the programs that utilize quad cores the most are editing programs an things of that nature. Most newer games offload to those expensive video cards with nice GPU engines.

    http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=442625

    Sent from my PI86100 using Board Express
    08-21-2012 11:49 PM
  6. a5cent's Avatar
    Found this link a while ago. To sum it up, the programs that utilize quad cores the most are editing programs an things of that nature. Most newer games offload to those expensive video cards with nice GPU engines.

    Programs that actually use all 4 cores of a quad core chip... please contribute! - PC Perspective Forums
    Hello cp2_4eva. Thank you for the list. Unfortunately, it is very old (2007). PC gamers just barely started using quad-core CPU's at that time. Newer lists exist which will generally include quite a few "quad-core" games. Unfortunately, those lists tell you nothing about the circumstances under which a game becomes CPU bound. They also tell you nothing about the circumstances under which the cores beyond the second become significantly saturated. So, the usefulness of these lists for games really needs to be called into question.

    For the video authoring software you mentioned, multiple cores have always been very beneficial (under almost all circumstances). That explains why you found video authoring software listed on such pages way back in 2007, even though almost nobody outside of professional video studios actually had multicore CPU's in their Workstations/PC's.
    Last edited by a5cent; 08-22-2012 at 01:22 AM.
    08-22-2012 01:16 AM
  7. cp2_4eva's Avatar
    Well then. I stand corrected. Even still, quad cores aren't a necessity for mobile applications. Isn't that what was being argued? There are ups and downs to for and against all the cores. I wouldn't concern myself with it too much. At the expected builds, if you want a phone bigger than 4.3, then you will PROBABLY get the quad core anyways. Man...its late. I'm tired. Lol.

    Sent from my PI86100 using Board Express
    08-22-2012 02:11 AM
  8. a5cent's Avatar
    I wouldn't concern myself with it too much.
    If the majority of consumers thought about this the same way you do, this issue wouldn't be a problem.

    Unfortunately, I think the majority of consumers is likely to buy into the myth that quad-core is always better than dual-core and spend accordingly (when faster dual-core's is what actually would be best). Since it is our collective buying power that steers the tech industry, this is very likely to drive SoC manufacturers to arrange the transistors they normally would have invested into two powerful cores into four weaker cores instead. In fact, this has already happened (nVidia Tegra3 for example). That is what I'm bothered by.

    Currently, it looks like Qualcomm is the only one resisting this trend somewhat, while all others are going for spec sheet optimization.

    Something similar happened a decade ago during the Intel Prescott clock frequency race. Intel's marketing was so successful that they had convinced everyone more MHz was the be-all-end-all to CPU speed. That ended up giving us some of the worst x86' CPU's of all time. Then AMD came along and cleaned Intel's clocks which forced Intel to drop everything and totally rethink their design goals and marketing... their CPU designers went on to give us the best x86 CPU's of all time, while their marketing department switched gears and started marketing, you guessed it, more cores instead of more MHz.
    Last edited by a5cent; 08-22-2012 at 03:36 AM.
    grasshoper likes this.
    08-22-2012 03:30 AM
  9. PG2G's Avatar
    Currently, it looks like Qualcomm is the only one resisting this trend somewhat, while all others are going for spec sheet optimization.
    I think that is only the case because they have moved on to a more advanced design (Krait). It looks like Samsung's A15 SoC is going to be dual core as well, initially at least. Wouldn't be surprised if a quad core Krait was the standard come next Spring.
    08-22-2012 09:18 AM
  10. poiman's Avatar
    Glad you made this post. I don't really understand a lot of this stuff, but what I see is that devices like the Galaxy SIII, One X or the iPhone4S are capable what running games with 3D graphics that current WP7.5 devices can't (and they still have a decente bettery life).
    So my questions is (and I'm really confused now, so sorry for my language) what the h*ll do we need to be able to run 3D games like those (or even better ones) on our future WP8 devices too?
    08-22-2012 11:30 AM
  11. a5cent's Avatar
    Glad you made this post. I don't really understand a lot of this stuff, but what I see is that devices like the Galaxy SIII, One X or the iPhone4S are capable what running games with 3D graphics that current WP7.5 devices can't (and they still have a decente bettery life).
    So my questions is (and I'm really confused now, so sorry for my language) what the h*ll do we need to be able to run 3D games like those (or even better ones) on our future WP8 devices too?
    What you need is the best possible GPU and games that can make full use of it. The Adreno 320 is the best GPU we can expect to get for WP8, so this is what you should be looking for. Likely, this will not be advertised, so you will need to look up the specifications of the Qualcomm SoC in the device you intend to buy.
    08-22-2012 07:34 PM
  12. 1jaxstate1's Avatar
    As many as it can have,as long as it's being taken advantage of. Bring on the Quad core processors!

    Sent from my Lumia 900 using Board Express
    08-22-2012 07:47 PM
  13. X0LARIUM's Avatar
    My only argument still is, what an Android dual core smartphone can do, a single core WP7 phone do easily, without the dual core.

    But, don't get me wrong, a quad core is always welcome. :) :D
    08-23-2012 02:11 AM
  14. a5cent's Avatar
    As many as it can have,as long as it's being taken advantage of. Bring on the Quad core processors!
    Hey 1jaxstate1! I don’t intend to offend, but I must ask if you read anything in this thread before posting? It seems to me you didn't, which is why I'll attempt a small recap:

    For desktop and server CPUs it is common to find that, within a CPU generation/family, quad-core CPUs integrate about twice as many transistors as their dual-core counterparts. In the size, temperature and power constrained mobile space the opposite is true. Given similar power and transistor budgets, a single core of a dual-core CPU will often end up roughly twice as powerful as a single core of a quad-core CPU. As 99.9% of all smartphone apps can't make good use of more than two cores, almost all apps run better on dual core devices where they have access to two powerful cores instead of four weaker ones (while usually leaving two of those weaker cores completely idle). That is exactly what has happened with the galaxy SIII, where app performance is almost always better on the U.S. dual-core variant (multithreaded benchmarking applications usually being the exception).

    This won’t change anytime soon. Read the entire thread for more.
    My only argument still is, what an Android dual core smartphone can do, a single core WP7 phone do easily, without the dual core.
    For most everyday apps I would agree. IE is the one major exception, where a dual-core CPU would have helped tremendously, even for WP7.x! For twitch type 3D games I would disagree.
    But, don't get me wrong, a quad core is always welcome. :) :D
    For the reasons I’ve tried to explain and recapped in my answer to 1jaxstate1 I would disagree.

    I would say:
    Give me the fastest two cores possible. If adding any core beyond the second necessitates compromises (either to computational efficiency or clock speed of any one core) then I’d rather hang with two cores. If I can get four cores without any of those compromises (which currently doesn’t seem possible), then I’ll happily embrace mobile quad-core SoC’s too ;-)
    I have seen nothing suggesting that they will continue to release WP7.X devices outside of those that have already been announced. Nokia has suggested that they will continue to support their users with updates, but there hasn't been anything to suggest that 7.8 isn't the end of the road.
    In addition to what I’ve already stated, a few rumours have been cropping up lately, which also support the claim that WP7.8 devices will be around, including new hardware releases, for quite a bit longer than many expected:

    Nokia to launch 4-inch Lumia 610 successor with Windows Phone 7.8? | wpcentral | Windows Phone News, Forums, and Reviews

    But yes, they are yet only rumors, so no proof yet.
    Last edited by a5cent; 09-07-2012 at 09:05 PM. Reason: Spelling
    09-07-2012 07:22 PM
  15. Winterfang's Avatar
    As of right now 2. As the near future 4.
    09-07-2012 08:09 PM
  16. a5cent's Avatar
    As of right now 2. As the near future 4.
    And is that opinion based on fantasies and fairy dust, or something more substantial? ;)
    09-07-2012 08:40 PM
  17. Winterfang's Avatar
    And is that opinion based on fantasies and fairy dust, or something more substantial? ;)
    Most games and apps are made with Dual Core in mind, hence why the LTE Dual Core american devices like GS3 and One X raise above their Quad-Core counter pants. Very few apps actually take the advantage of Quad-Core yet but having a device with them will likely future proof your phone.
    09-07-2012 08:46 PM
  18. a5cent's Avatar
    Most games and apps are made with Dual Core in mind, hence why the LTE Dual Core american devices like GS3 and One X raise above their Quad-Core counter pants. Very few apps actually take the advantage of Quad-Core yet but having a device with them will likely future proof your phone.
    Hey Winterfang, thank you for adding some substance to that response. Actually, the vast majority of apps use but a single core. A small minority use two and almost none use more than that. Interestingly, even the handful of android games that use more than two threads perform better on the qualcomm S4 dual-core platforms. I've already explained why... possibly not very well, but I can answer questions if asked. If you are interested you might want to read the entire thread.
    09-07-2012 08:54 PM
  19. cursor system's Avatar
    The post is fantastic. I really enjoy it.
    a5cent likes this.
    09-08-2012 02:50 PM
  20. jfa1's Avatar
    y unscientific answer is that is needs as many cores as it takes to run smoothly and not lag stutter or stall out doing whatever we are trying to do or our device. other than that ...
    09-08-2012 05:15 PM
  21. astraith's Avatar
    65 cores. Because WP8 can only have 64. Lol jk
    09-08-2012 07:07 PM
  22. thebizz's Avatar
    all this talk about quad core not having a benefit should pick up the gsm unlocked s3 and one x they both have been said to perform better than the more efficient s4. And the us s3 has double the ram, now I'm not going to say wp8 needs quad core but I'm not going to say it has no place. Oh and those who say that the quad core processor would be useless please remember that 4 cores will only be used when needed when not needed they go to sleep. Personally I don't want quad core I would rather have a dual core a15 chip
    09-08-2012 08:31 PM
  23. a5cent's Avatar
    pick up the gsm unlocked s3 and one x they both have been said to perform better than the more efficient s4.
    Hmm... I suspect you are being hoodwinked by people who have no clue what they are talking about. At least the measurements made by Anandtech (one of the few tech websites with technical staff that actually understand what they are measuring) would dispute that statement:

    HTC One X International (Tegra 3 quad-core) vs. HTC One S International (Snapdragon S4 dual-core)

    Result: The dual-core beats the quad-core 5:1 (I have removed battery and GPU related measurements as we are only discussing the general purpose CPU cores here). Unfortunately, I have nothing better to offer you than these synthetic test results, but they are all we have at this point. Although the quad-core is left munching dust, it would have looked much worse had we compared performance using actual apps and games.

    Another one:

    Samsung Galaxy S3 International (Exynos 4412 quad-core) vs. HTC One S International (Snapdragon S4 dual-core)

    Result: Here the dual-core wins by 4:2 (again, I have removed battery and GPU related measurements and included the BaseMark OS score which is missing in this listing but included here).

    Again, if these were actual apps and games instead of synthetic benchmarks, the dual-core Snapdragon S4 would have utterly destroyed the quad-core competition. Of course, it is also possible to find devices where the manufacturer has paired their SoC's with terribly slow RAM, which will kill a device's performance no matter how good the CPU is, which is why I chose HTC's One S... HTC did a very decent job on this one.

    And the us s3 has double the ram
    Assuming you're testing process isn't totally screwed, whether you've got 512 MB or 1 GB of RAM should be totally irrelevant for these types of tests. Much more important are RAM bandwidth and latency.

    now I'm not going to say wp8 needs quad core but I'm not going to say it has no place
    This I agree with. WP needs the best possible hardware that is most efficient at running the games and apps we all use every day. I couldn't care less if that turns out to be a 1000-core or a 0.5 core CPU ;). At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, a dual-core CPU with the most powerful cores we can get represents the sweet spot (on average).
    09-09-2012 02:03 PM
  24. brmiller1976's Avatar
    The claim that "specs don't matter" was popular with Apple in the late PowerPC days, when Microsoft and Intel were talking about MHz and Apple insisted that 900 MHz Pentium IVs weren't faster than 350 MHz G4 chips.

    We all know how that ended.

    A software platform should have support for the fastest chips available. Someone will ALWAYS be willing to pay a premium (and differentiate a platform) by its hardware capabilities.

    Saying "this is enough for you" doesn't work, long-term. Offering choice is what wins. That's the whole lesson of the Windows PC era, and I'm a little sad that people are forgetting it in the Windows Phone era.
    09-09-2012 02:27 PM
  25. a5cent's Avatar
    Microsoft and Intel were talking about MHz and Apple insisted that 900 MHz Pentium IVs weren't faster than 350 MHz G4 chips. We all know how that ended.
    Well, the MHz race of yesteryear gave us the worst Intel x86 CPU's the industry ever saw (we had to wait for AMD to come along and prove how ridiculous the MHz marketing ploy was before things got better). Today we're witnessing the exact same nonsense, except now everyone is salivating over core count instead of MHz. On the other hand, Apple's claims back then were also just nonsense... nothing new really.

    Saying "this is enough for you" doesn't work, long-term. Offering choice is what wins. That's the whole lesson of the Windows PC era, and I'm a little sad that people are forgetting it in the Windows Phone era.
    Assuming you are referring to my posts (I could be wrong), all I can say is that you have completely misunderstood the statements I've made here so far and seem uninterested in explanations or evidence (or you don't understand them, which would be my fault. I'm certainly not the best teacher in the world).

    In fact, I want the fastest performing hardware I can possibly get, just like the next guy. I don't care how we get there and better performance is always welcome... there is no "enough"!

    All I'm saying is that focusing exclusively on core count is not the way to get there, while also trying to explain why (apparently unsuccessfully) ;)

    Oh yeah... and CPU specs (the kind used today to sell devices) really don't matter... actual, real, measurable performance that is fully exploited by software does!
    Last edited by a5cent; 09-09-2012 at 07:14 PM. Reason: Added first paragraph
    09-09-2012 02:46 PM
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