Peter Clarke, European News Director
8/6/2013 12:00 PM EDT
There seems to be a certain amount of excitement brewing around Samsung's Exynos Octa versus Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragons and MediaTek's forthcoming True Octa-ness. I thought I would share some of the "big-little" thinking of ARM that I received on a recent trip to Cambridge, Mass.
Big-little is the approach whereby differently optimized cores implementing the same instruction set architecture are deployed in an SoC. This means tasks can be assigned to different cores depending on the context in which the device finds itself. However, it should also be remembered that big-little is a special case and does not cover the entire heterogeneous multiprocessing (HMP) landscape. HMP also includes the possibility of running software tasks on CPU cores, graphics processing units (GPUs), and other cores besides.
But ignoring GPU-compute at present, big-little comes in three flavors. There may be more flavors in the future. The technique may even evolve into little-big-biggest-other, but for now, ARM identifies three modes of operating big-little.
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