Octa-core processors not mean faster than Quad-Core

When you want to buy an Android smartphone, there are many criteria you should look at. One of them is the processor.

Octa-core and quad-core are commonly processors used by smartphone vendors. Usually, it is used to simplify the technology so it is easy to understand. However, sometimes this just makes the vendors not completely honest with customers.

For example in terms of processor. Just because the octa – core processor has 8 cores, that does not mean it’s always better than quad – core processors. Just like a camera. Having a bigger resolution does not promise better photo results. A more in-depth explanation of the core of this mobile processor can be seen in the following article:

In the midst of fierce competition of gadget vendors to get customers, we are often crammed with technical terms that are not easy to understand. Have you ever gone to a mobile store and the guard said, “It’s quad-core, octa-core, RAM is 2GB?” Do you understand or pretend to understand what those words mean? Or, you think more and more “cores” mean better? Let’s see this article.

In the computer world, all data is processed by a single component named processor. Therefore, he often compared with the brain in humans. Processed data has a variety of forms, ranging from user instructions and software that is running.

All computer devices, including laptops, tablets or phones you are currently using to read this article have a processor. Especially for mobile phones, usually the processor is placed with other components in one place, so commonly called System on Chip (SoC). Usually, the processor name is inseparable with its speed when we buy a computer. Often, do not you hear the 1.2GHz or 2.5GHz processor and so on.

As the main unit that functions as a data processing center, or in lay language is the “brain” of a device, the processor is often used as a reference to measure the capabilities or performance of a device, including mobile devices.

Manufacturers compete with each other to deliver high-speed processors with more cores, as more and more core processors are used and the faster the speed, the performance of a device will be better. Is that right? Is it true that mobile devices require more processor cores in it?

The history of multi-core processing

The term core or core in the processor begins when multi-core processing systems are found by computer experts. In fact, multi-core processing systems have been around for more than 10 years. It all started when the processor makers for the server successfully implemented a multi-core processor architecture to improve performance on a server processor.

Unlike the previous generation, processors that use multi-core processing systems have faster data processing capabilities and lower power. Why is that? Because each task assigned to the processor can be done in parallel by each of its cores so that data processing can run faster. Imagine when you have many tasks, then have friends to share the burden.

In line with the development of technology, The number of cores on the processor is also growing from the previous two only core (dual-core) and now into eight cores (octa-core).

Not only on server computers or PCs, multi-core processing systems have also been present in mobile devices. The advantages of the system are very much in line with what is required by mobile devices, namely higher processing speed and lower power consumption.

Dual-core, quad-core, or octa-core?

Most consumers are usually not too familiar with various terms in the computer world. They just want a device that is comfortable to use and has a performance as fast as possible. For this reason, the manufacturers of mobile devices are competing to highlight the processor with a growing core and faster processing speed.

But really the more the core on the processor, the faster the speed of the data process, then the higher performance?

In theory, yes. The more processor cores are used, the more units that can be used to perform data processing in parallel. The higher the speed of data processing, the faster the data is processed that leads to the increase of mobile device performance.

If the analogy is simple, the more people work, of course, a job will be quickly completed, and the sooner the worker will work, the job will be completed faster too. Workers in terms of multi-core processing are the core processor.

Comparison of dual-core processor performance with quad-core

It is important to know, more and more processor cores also have an unavoidable side effect, namely the increasingly wasteful power consumption. Indeed, the use of multi-core processing systems does reduce power usage, but that is when compared to the use of dual processors that do not have multi-core processing system.

For example, devices using an octa-core processor have a much lower power consumption than using eight separate processors without using multicore processing systems.

More and more processor cores mean more power is used. This factor is now a major challenge for vendors because mobile devices certainly have a limited battery capacity. For that, Some manufacturers are using a new concept called big.LITTLE system.

The system works by combining two types of processor cores that have different roles, ie one type of high-performance, power-intensive processor core and another low-performance, yet power-efficient processor core.

If you ask for help from a solid friend who eats a lot to lift 100kg load, but if you only lift 10kg burden you ask for help with thin-skinned friends with small portions of food. And another processor core with the low performance but power efficient. If you ask for help from a solid friend who eats a lot to lift 100kg load, but if you only lift 10kg burden you ask for help with thin-skinned friends with small portions of food. And another processor core with the low performance but power efficient. If you ask for help from a solid friend who eats a lot to lift 100kg load, but if you only lift 10kg burden you ask for help with thin-skinned friends with small portions of food.

Comparison of dual-core processor performance up to quad-core

By combining both types of processors, a mobile device is able to work more flexibly and power saving. The workings of the big.LITTLE system uses the concept of adaptation; When the device is in an idle or silent state, then the processor used to work is a processor with the low performance but efficient power, while when the device is in a busy condition, then the processor used is a high-performance processor but more extravagant power.

The big.LITTLE concept has been widely used in various SoCs, such as Exynos7 Octa from Samsung and MT6595 from MediaTek.

Octa-core is better than dual-core?

As we wrote earlier, that theoretically more and more core processors are used, the better the performance. Unfortunately, it is just a theory, and theories can be wrong when applied in the field.

In fact, the performance of a device is influenced by many factors, and the number of cores from the processor used is just one of many factors.

Call it the iPhone 6 that uses dual-core processors, but its performance can beat Android devices that use octa-core processor.


Behind the number of core processors and their speed, there are several factors that greatly affect the performance of a device. These factors include memory bandwidth, latency, and the ability to execute a thread.

All these factors affect the performance of a device that is calculated by the unit of instruction per cycle (IPC). The bigger IPC, the faster performance of a device.

Comparison of iPhone 6 performance and flagship Android phone

IPC is rarely mentioned in the specification table of a device. But that’s what Apple has been pursuing all along. They do not want to follow in the footsteps of other competitors, such as MediaTek and Qualcomm who only pursue the addition of the number of processor cores without considering its IPC.

The result, the iPhone 6 is superior in terms of performance than Android devices that use octa-core processors.

In addition to the number of IPC, the optimization of the operating system and other supporting software is also very influential on the performance of a mobile device. Ever, right, you bought an Android phone that was initially very fast but over the course of the day, it feels more slowly?

In the case of iPhone 6 above, Apple does have its own advantages. In addition to designing their own SoC, They also create their own operating system, so they can freely optimize the performance of each of their devices with ease.

Unlike Apple, most Android devices use SoCs made by other companies (such as Qualcomm and MediaTek). Its operating system also uses the base operating system made by Google, so that device manufacturers like LG, Sony, Samsung, and others can not freely optimize their various devices. This will certainly affect the performance of a device. Its operating system also uses the base operating system made by Google, so that device manufacturers like LG, Sony, Samsung, and others can not freely optimize their various devices. This will certainly affect the performance of a device. Its operating system also uses the base of the operating system made by Google, so device manufacturers like LG, Sony, Samsung, and others can not freely optimize their various devices. This will certainly affect the performance of a device.

The more cores that a processor has does not merely mean it is better. More cores will be better only if the software used on the phone can take advantage of that many cores. There are many factors that determine the performance and efficiency of the processor, Like the architecture of the processor itself.

The most important thing that determines the efficiency of processor cores is software. For example, mobile games are usually optimized to take advantage of multiple cores to provide the best performance. However, not all games can take advantage of many cores.

Not all apps are designed like games. In fact, most apps are made to only use one or two cores only. Even so, the processor will still activate all the cores, and this is actually wasting the phone battery.

Another thing that affects the performance of the processor is the design. Currently, there are some companies that make processors for Android phones. However, there are only 2 main aristors, ARM and Intel. These two companies have different concepts regarding how a processor works best.

Many processor manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Samsung, NVIDIA, and MediaTek use ARM design as a reference when creating processors. While Intel makes the processor based on its own architecture.

ARM Currently

industry .ARM is becoming a leader in the mobile industry. They work with various mobile processor manufacturers. ARM is also a pioneer of big.LITTLE ideology. Aristektur big.LITTLE means, a processor will have 2 quad – core processors.

One quad – core processor focuses on delivering high performance, while one other processor works to save power while not delivering equally good performance. Typically, these two processors do not work at the same time.

Octa-core vs. Quad-core

Octa means “eight”. So, technically, quad – core processors with big.LITTLE architecture can also be called octa – core processors. However, it is not claimed to be an octa – core because the eight does not work at the same time.

That’s why, No vendor of smartphones that advertise smartphones they use processors “octa-core real”, that is, when the eight cores in the processor to work at the same time. Funnily enough, there are many apps and games that can run well on quad – core processors.

In theory, octa – core processors work better than quad – core processors. However, if an app can not optimize the eight existing cores, then more cores will not perform better.

In addition to the number of cores, Another thing that distinguishes the processor performance is the pair of processors used. For example on the ARM Cortex-A processor range, each has a different performance. This is the line of processors in the Cortex-A line, from the best performers to the less good: A72, A57, A53, A17, A15, A9, A7 and A5.

MediaTek MT6592 which was first announced in 2013, has 8 ARM Cortex-A7 that can run at the same time, with speeds between 1.7GHz to 2GHz.

Meanwhile, NVIDIA Tegra 4, also announced in 2013, is a quad-core processor that uses the ARM A15 core. Although Tegra 4 is a quad-core processor, because it uses cores with better quality, it provides better performance than MT6592.

This proves that not all octa-core processors are better than quad-core processors.

How to choose the best smartphone?

Processor architecture is a complex issue. There are several factors that determine the quality of the processor on your phone, for example, the manufacturing process. In addition, the processor is not the only element that determines the performance of your device.

So, you should not use jargon like “quad-core” or “octa-core” to determine the quality of smartphone performance. Instead, consider how the performance of a whole device.

Before buying a new phone, we recommend you search for reviews related to the phone. Therefore, You can know how the phone is performing. Sometimes, it will be compared to its competitors.

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