RESEARCH PAPER: Do 8 CPU Cores Really Matter in Smartphones?

In a recent live benchmarking session, Moor Insights & Strategy answered the question “Do 8 cores really matter in smartphones?” with a series of benchmarks and real application tests. This brief supports the video with performance and experience results.

As the smartphone industry has begun to mature, one-upmanship among smartphone manufacturers and SoC vendors has bred a dangerous trend: ever-increasing processor core counts and the association between increased CPU core count and greater performance. This association originated as SoC vendors and OEMs have tried to find ways to differentiate themselves from one another through core counts.


Table of Contents

  • Summary
  • The 8 Core Myth
  • Not All Cores Are the Same
  • ARM’s 64­bit Cores Become Attractive
  • The Mobile Benchmarking Problem
  • Making a Good Mobile Benchmark
  • Good Benchmarking Practices
  • The Benchmarks, Apps, Tools, & Phones
  • The Benchmarks
  • The Apps
  • The Tools
  • The Phones
  • Benchmark Tests & Results
  • PCMark
  • Basemark X
  • CamSpeed Gold
  • Application Testing
  • Call to Action
  • Table 1: Phones, SoCs, & Cores
  • Figure 1: Same Number of Cores, Different Levels of Performance
  • Figure 2: Fewer Cores, Effect on Performance
  • Figure 3: Frame Rates
  • Figure 4: Fewer Cores, Effect on Frame Rates
  • Figure 5: Fewer Cores, Higher Frame Rates
  • Figure 6: Camera Speeds
  • Figure 7: Fewer Cores, Effect on Camera Speeds

You can download the paper here.


Companies Cited

  • AllWinner
  • ARM
  • Basemark
  • Futuremark
  • HTC
  • Intel
  • LG
  • MediaTek
  • Nvidia
  • Qualcomm
  • Samsung
  • Sofica
  • Xiaomi