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Qualcomm Says Eight-Core Processors Are Dumb

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the also-hates-eight-cylinder-engines-and-eight-year-olds dept.

Hardware 526

itwbennett writes "Following rival MediaTek's announcement of plans to release an eight-core processor in the fourth quarter, Qualcomm has declared eight-core processors 'dumb'. 'You can't take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari. It just doesn't make sense,' Qualcomm's senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher said, according to a transcript of his comments to Taiwan media provided on Friday. Asked whether Qualcomm would one day launch its own octa-core processor, Chandrasekher said, 'We don't do dumb things.'"

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The Onion said it best (5, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | about a year ago | (#44458063)

Fuck everything, we're doing five blades.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/fuck-everything-were-doing-five-blades,11056/ [theonion.com] ...and then someone made one with five blades, and it's better enough that people will buy it.

Re:The Onion said it best (5, Funny)

Golddess (1361003) | about a year ago | (#44458243)

Reminds me of a TV commercial from a while back, put out by one razor blade company, to make fun of another razor blade company for continually adding additional blades. I seem to recall that not long after those ads started airing, they disappeared, and the first company began adding additional blades as well.

Re:The Onion said it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458283)

In keeping with the lawn-mower analogy, why do anything at all with lawn mowers when you could hire a cheap Mexican or two to cut your grass for you while you drink beer and watch football? That's the problem Qualcomm solves by all of their lobbying and hiring of H1-B [sandiegoreader.com] visas.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:The Onion said it best (5, Insightful)

Dracos (107777) | about a year ago | (#44458585)

More metal blades doesn't make a better razor after 2 or 3. After that, the manufacturers are just one-upping each other to keep the marketing going.

I'd gladly pay much more for a razor with only two ceramic blades. But that'll never happen, because metal razor blades are by definition planned obsolescence.

Re:The Onion said it best (0)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year ago | (#44458707)

Electric-razor-using master-race here, I haven't had to buy razor blades for the last 5 years, and my face is as smooth as glass.

Stay pleb, bladed-razor users! xD

Re:The Onion said it best (1, Informative)

jonfr (888673) | about a year ago | (#44458633)

The Onion is behind a paywall. It is like a censorship wall, but you have to pay for it too see the useless junk behind it. For that reason, The Onion can jump off a next digital cliff they find for all I care.

Re:The Onion said it best (4, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | about a year ago | (#44458645)

I remember when 2 cores was considered dumb or even 2 cpus with their own dedicated ram. Those were specialty devices. I remember when 12 or 16mhz was fast. Who would need that speed? I remember when 32bit was unheard of, for that matter 16bit. No one would need that much power. And then hyperthreading, and multitasking and multithreading (well maybe we still haven't done much with that).

The fact is that necessity is the mother of invention.

We will also fill the void. I am not impressed with this Qualcomm exec's views. You can't take 4 cores and make a Corvette either, however we still have 4 cores in our phones and desktops. Think of Intel's multi-pentium core processor that beat the pants off anything anyone had produced to date. That had a very large number of cores. It's all in how you design and implement them. I understand the lessening return, however, if we had held that view the whole computer industry would have stagnated and dried up.

Re:The Onion said it best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458681)

I know this is about Gillette, but for some reason, Winamp comes to mind.

qualcomm is right (5, Insightful)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44458085)

eight core processors are dumb. though not for the reason he gave. they are dumb because nothing supports 8 cores, so 99% of the time, the extra 2-6 cores are totally wasted. if the software would catch up to the hard ware, we might see more use in 8+ cores

Re:qualcomm is right (5, Funny)

PhxBlue (562201) | about a year ago | (#44458157)

And I suppose 640k is enough for anybody, too?

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44458359)

Sure it forces you to think.

Re:qualcomm is not right (4, Interesting)

HermMunster (972336) | about a year ago | (#44458701)

It is the fallacy behind the Pi. I have 4 of them and use them for everything. However I'm not interested in taking significantly limited resources and programming against that in an effort to build my skills. I want the power. So a quad core Pi with SATA, Wifi, 2-4 GB of RAM, using just 5 watts of power, and much more, for $20.00 is just fine by me. I'd use that too. So would every other developer. I'm sure current developers hate the limitations of some of the devices out there.

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | about a year ago | (#44458191)

Many high-end scientific computing applications will already take and use as many cores as you give it. Definitely a niche market though.

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#44458409)

Of course these applications are FPU based. Last I checked the latest ARM had the performance of a 1997 pentium pro in that area. They do not have lower power consumption for nothing. Phone users do not care about FPU so it is mute, but not in that usage case you have given.

Re:qualcomm is right (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458515)

Of course these applications are FPU based. Last I checked the latest ARM had the performance of a 1997 pentium pro in that area. They do not have lower power consumption for nothing. Phone users do not care about FPU so it is mute, but not in that usage case you have given.

I don't see what the FPU being unable to talk has to do with anything... And furthermore I disagree with your line of reasoning that we can conclude the FPU is mute from the (probably valid) premise that phone users don't care about it. Really though, all of this is a moot point if you just have trouble distinguishing between similar sounding words.

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#44458621)

Don't scientific and mathematical apps use floats to store numbers with large amounts of decimals and to perform mathematical operations on them? FPU would be the bottleneck for such applications like Mathmatica or Autocad.

Re:qualcomm is right (2)

Reeznarch (2465314) | about a year ago | (#44458659)

I do a lot of music production as a hobby, and having more cores is definitely a good thing for that as well. Still a niche market.

Re:qualcomm is right (5, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44458209)

The reason he gave was one step ahead of that: even if you get apps that can use all eight cores, it's going to be murder on battery life, and most of the cost will be wasted (because most apps won't be using all that core power still.)

Re:qualcomm is right (5, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#44458399)

I would think that a highly multithreaded app combined with a highly parallel CPU would actually be more power efficient, as you're doing the same work in less clocks.

Granted, all tasks cannot be highly multithreaded, but that particular street goes both ways.

Re:qualcomm is right (4, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44458579)

I'm somewhat inclined to agree, actually! Samsung's S4 uses different cores running at different clock speeds for different tasks, and is obviously about improving power utilization. Given that, it really just looks like Qualcomm is trying to spin their business decision (to not do eight-core chips, probably because they don't think they can compete) to their investors as cost-saving for their customers. I didn't get the impression that power consumption was the bigger concern. But, hey, maybe that's their niche.

Re:qualcomm is right (4, Interesting)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year ago | (#44458743)

Not so sure about that. Parallel code tends to have plenty of overhead even after optimization, e.g. expecting approx. 2.5 times speed increase from single-core when running on 4 cores is more realistic than a 4 times increase. Data must be shuffled around, OS threads prepared, contexts are switched, etc.

Re:qualcomm is right (5, Interesting)

a1cypher (619776) | about a year ago | (#44458745)

Parallelization does introduce it's own overhead. Some problems can be made to run parallel very easily without much effort. For example, lets say you have an unordered database of names and you want to count how many letter "A"s are in each name. You can very easily divide the database into eight equal parts and send it off to eight cores for processing and they will happily churn away until you have your answer with almost no additional overhead.

However, different problems cant be as easily parallelized. For example, lets say you take the same database of names and you want to sort it alphabetically. You can send each chunk of the database off to be sorted on each core, but now you have 8 pieces of the database that are all sorted and need to be merged back into the original list. This extra work of merging and communicating becomes the overhead.

This is a very simple example, but for many problems the speed gained by parallelization is reduced for every new thread. So you might get an almost 50% speedup by adding a second core, but the third core will give you maybe only 20% speedup, and the fourth 15%, etc...

And as mentioned by others, parallelization is almost always done to improve performance, not efficiency. It would be more power efficient for the one core to do the job if you are measuring efficiency by something like cycles per watt. This doesnt make much sense in a mobile device whose paramount concern is to run a long time on a battery.

Re:qualcomm is right (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44458511)

well, that's if you're sticking it in a phone and not something else..

btw a ferrari engine is pointless in a groceries getter car as well, horrible fuel economy and most drivers would never redline it anyways.

Re:qualcomm is right (0)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44458553)

Battery life? My eight cores run off of atomic power and masses of water flowing through the Niagra power facility.

Re:qualcomm is right (2)

HermMunster (972336) | about a year ago | (#44458735)

Instead of slimming down a phone as you reduce component size add more battery. And find a way to better manage battery use. And, make use of those battery technologies we hear so much about on Reddit.com. Seriously I hear about so many battery technologies that would overcome their limitations it's sick thinking about them not being available NOW.

Re:qualcomm is right (4, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | about a year ago | (#44458737)

I would think that an eight core processor might make sense for a high end smartphone; you could have four cores with scalable clock speed for high performance computing (gaming, video editing, etc.) and switch to four low-power cores on the fly, which will still multitask very well but will conserve power. If only any smartphone manufacturer [samsung.com] would introduce such a beast. [wikipedia.org]

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44458229)

Nothing?

So databases don't exist? Scientific applications don't exist?

Lots and lots of ARM64 cores will be a big deal in the server room one day.

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year ago | (#44458487)

Especially on I/O bound applications... When I've read articles on some of the multi-core arm systems being worked on, my natural thought is they would pair well with an application platform that does async operations to database servers, and other backend systems.. fielding lots of users.

Re:qualcomm is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458685)

The topic is about phones.

Re:qualcomm is right (2)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44458291)

Low utilization isn't a problem so long as the extra resources don't cost much to make and don't draw significant power unless they are needed. Parallel processing definitely has valid uses on a phone; the only question is whether additional general-purpose cores can beat out more special-purpose units that operate in parallel. The new Moto-X has a "natural language processor", a "contextual computing processor", and it goes without saying that it has a GPU of some sort. So what's better, a mainly-serial CPU and a big bag of co-processors, or several general-purpose cores? It remains to be seen. But the GPU itself has hundreds of more limited "cores", so there's no question the basic, purely sequential processing model is long gone and will not return.

Re:qualcomm is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458305)

If you're doing Virtualization, the additional cores produces better resource management with more granularity.

If you're doing gaming, many games spread load across multiple cores.

Plus the "per core" output is often 2-3x what a previous generation quad core had anyway, so even with a single threaded game it'd be substantially better.

Re:qualcomm is right (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458333)

You're just missing vision. Imagine Ubuntu Phone on an 8 core processor, you could have it run virtual machines and seamlessly switch between Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, IOS... who doesn't want that?

Plus you'd still have enough oomph to run a torrent server, a tor node or just use your phone to mine some bitcoins.

Re:qualcomm is right (5, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#44458425)

You're just missing vision. Imagine Ubuntu Phone on an 8 core processor, you could have it run virtual machines and seamlessly switch between Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, IOS... who doesn't want that?

Plus you'd still have enough oomph to run a torrent server, a tor node or just use your phone to mine some bitcoins.

And your phone will be out of battery life by the time you unplug it and show up to work

Re:qualcomm is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458505)

You're just missing vision. Imagine Ubuntu Phone on an 8 core processor, you could have it run virtual machines and seamlessly switch between ...

all your MMORPG's [wikipedia.org] .

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44458343)

Usually with multi-Core. you can expect to run 8 things at once at full speed. Writing code for parallel processors takes some fore though. Most of the time we just write stuff that follow normal top down. 8 Core Phones work if you have 8 Apps that need to run in real time.

However the trend to more cores is due to the size of the chip getting smaller, but not the performance per chip.

Re:qualcomm is right (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#44458363)

On a phone yes.

On a server no. I am surprised ARMS have not been in the server room yet as power consumption is the biggest cost and where I/O in SQL latency is the bottleneck and not cpu performance.

The more cores the more virtualization can be had and more threads and processes can be thrown on it.

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year ago | (#44458527)

There are a few companies offering ARM systems for the server room.. unfortunately cost/performance wise they're so much more than x86 it doesn't come close to offsetting the power savings compared to a 4socket AMD or Intel server.

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#44458573)

Performance in servers are different. For app servers I would agree. For apache and Java servlets it is not how fast, but how wide your platform is. Meaning more slower cpus that equate to higher performance as these are heavily threaded and i/o bound more than FPU or integer bound.

But I suppose with iscsi, raid, and fibre channel ethernet or FDDI the power savings go back out again.

Re:qualcomm is right (2)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#44458367)

8 core general processing CPUs on a phone are dumb for now given the power consumption and battery limits.

If you have 8 processes running 100% max, it's likely something is wrong somewhere - you either want to kill the processes (and save battery life) or you should be running the workload on a PC/laptop.

Maybe in the future we would have wearable computers that continuously do video capture, video compression and image+audio recognition (includes 3D location and separation of audio items[1] and 3D visual mapping), navigation (GPS and via visual mapping), augmented reality stuff, run "iSavant" apps (be Rain Man without hopefully the autistic bits) and also allow you to do virtual telepathy (brain computer interfaces) and telekinesis (by interacting with location servers - that help people control stuff at a location).

But till then, what 8 core apps make sense on phones?

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi4ACLfaWy0 [youtube.com]

Intel and Nvidia must be retarded then. (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#44458373)

If 8-core procs are dumb, then Intel, AMD, and Nvidia must be absolutely fucking retarded to make products with hundreds of cores in them.

Just because software doesn't use it right now, it doesn't mean that software won't use it soon.

Re:qualcomm is right (2)

Bomarc (306716) | about a year ago | (#44458499)

eight core processors are dumb. though not for the reason he gave. they are dumb because nothing supports 8 cores, so 99% of the time, the extra 2-6 cores are totally wasted. if the software would catch up to the hard ware, we might see more use in 8+ cores

Ever open Task Manager (in windows)? There are other things going on in every OS besides just the application you are running.
Ever run more than one application?

Short sided people - are not (still?) not using - or seeing, or bothering to code for multi-core systems.

Re:qualcomm is right (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#44458731)

eight core processors are dumb. though not for the reason he gave. they are dumb because nothing supports 8 cores, so 99% of the time, the extra 2-6 cores are totally wasted. if the software would catch up to the hard ware, we might see more use in 8+ cores

Uhhmmm. Image & video processing libraries? You know, the ones used by camera apps, and video chat apps.

Uhhmmm. Rendering libraries? You know, the ones used by games.

Uhhmmm. Speech recognition? Speech Synthesis?

They dont do THUMB things? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44458099)

But, but, i thought it is by design, to have the THUMB doing the DUMB things? Why the redirection? Why not just doing the DUMB without the THUMB!

and 640K is all you will ever need. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458101)

another soon to be famous quote

Re:and 640K is all you will ever need. (4, Insightful)

jkonrath (72701) | about a year ago | (#44458467)

It is if your software can only address 640K. You don't add 8 gigs of RAM to your 8088 PC.

Re:and 640K is all you will ever need. (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44458615)

The 8088PC could address one megabyte. It's just that 384K of that was ROM, leaving a max of 640K for RAM.

8 cylinder (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | about a year ago | (#44458105)

No, but if you hook them up right you could end up with an 8 cylinder lawn mower..

Re:8 cylinder (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44458375)

Add a scoop, spoiler, neon trim and a fart can on the exhaust. Mowed in sixty seconds.

cut the rug (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458115)

If I tie 8 lawn mower engines together, can I belt up the blades to cut the lawns on each of the 8 motors as well? That would allow for a very wide cut of a large lawn. I think it all depends on the problem set, and how you solve it.

Re:cut the rug (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44458231)

if you do it you'll have to put them in two rows so that routes they go over overlap.

otherwise you'll look stupid after your first run with them on the field :(

qualcomm is being a bit stupid with analogies though. if you put the cylinders on the same _block_ you would have an 8 cylinder briggs&stratton - AND THAT WOULD FUCKING ROCK! would be rather pointless in a push arrangement lawnmower though, unless you like running like the proverbial wind.

Re:cut the rug (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44458643)

would be rather pointless in a push arrangement lawnmower though, unless you like running like the proverbial wind.

... or you had 16 foot mowing blades

Re:cut the rug (2)

maz2331 (1104901) | about a year ago | (#44458673)

Sure, since grass cutting is an entirely parallelizeable problem and the cutting of each blade isn't dependent on any other blade. Now, let's assume that you have 16 lawns to cut. Would it be faster to make one monster 8-wide mower that can cut each in three passes then move to the next lawn, or would it be faster to send one mower to each and cut them each in parallel with 24-passes? Remember, there is overhead involved in the move from one lawn to the next.

More cores only helps when you are solving a problem that doesn't have any non-parallel parts to it. Multitasking different programs fits that description reasonably well (except for contention for a system resource, that is). Crunching a graphic can fit if the algorithm doesn't have any feedback in it.

Otherwise, cores will be waiting for something to do and you would be better off with fewer that are individually faster.

640K Ought to be Enough for Anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458123)

It's still true for some people.

Not that I disagree... (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44458129)

...but every time some company says something is dumb, this usually means one of three things:

1) Our competitor has too many patents so we can't make it
2) We can't reach the quality/price of our competitor or
3) Not the product is too dumb, we're just too dumb to produce it.

What he meant to say (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#44458285)

"Eight core processors are dumb (until we produce one) !!"

Re:What he meant to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458709)

some companies lump gpu, media decoders and other bullshit into their "core" totals, in those cases, 8 cores ain't enough... and the companies that do that aren't just dumb, they're fucking stupid.

but a true eight core processor in a phone isn't just dumb, it's also fucking stupid..... until the software on the phone is optimized to take advantage of all of them in a power-efficient manner... and to throttle them down or completely shut them off when not needed.

Re:Not that I disagree... (2)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#44458627)

He's talking about cpus used in tablets and phones. By the time operating systems and applications are available to use these efficiently these devices will be in the trash.

VM (5, Funny)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about a year ago | (#44458145)

And my virtual machines say, "Shut your pie hole, Chandrasekher."

Re:VM (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458415)

to be fair you're not running VMs on a phone/mobile unit.

Re:VM (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year ago | (#44458559)

Yet...

Re:VM (3, Interesting)

froggymana (1896008) | about a year ago | (#44458565)

to be fair you're not running VMs on a phone/mobile unit.

Are you sure? Android phones will most likely be running a Dalvik Virtual Machine.

Re:VM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458503)

Shouldn't that be "shut your black hole, Chandrasekhar [wikipedia.org] "?

Paul the Octacore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458161)

If more cores... more prescience? No need for spice melange, prices plummet. Recession.

Prediction (2)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year ago | (#44458175)

Aug __, 201_

Qualcomm's senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher was on hand for the unveiling of their new 8 core processor. Calling it a masterpiece of engineering, Chandrasekher compared it to a Ferrari, and called single core processors dumb. "Why drive around on a lawnmower when you could ride an 8 cylinder Ferrari? That's dumb." When asked if they would be continuing to sell single core processors, he replied "We don't do dumb things."

Related to Seymour Cray - 1024 Chickens (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458177)

Sounds like what Seymor Cray's famous quote

"If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use: Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?"

Note quite exactly the same..but it's similar...BTW Cray turned out to be wrong. That being said I'd GLADLY pay money to watch 1024 chickens plow a field!

Octomom (1)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#44458205)

Is she eight times the mother of a woman with one kid?

Similar quote from Seymour Cray (5, Insightful)

Crash McBang (551190) | about a year ago | (#44458213)

If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use? Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?

Re:Similar quote from Seymour Cray (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44458253)

Too bad cray was wrong. Go into any server room and see.

Re:Similar quote from Seymour Cray (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458453)

Imagine all those fucking chickens creeping up on your house, harrar! Cluck a doodle doo!

Re:Similar quote from Seymour Cray (1, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44458483)

Why would that bother me?

I would round them up and sell them. You are a pretty terrible troll. Not creative either.

So what is wrong with your life that you choose to spend it this way? Have you considered making a change for the better? Maybe doing something useful with your life? Or just ending it?

Re:Similar quote from Seymour Cray (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458481)

based on the context of the day, the server room you're point at has 1024 strong elephants

Re:Similar quote from Seymour Cray (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44458537)

Sure, but not the strongest.
This is why AMD still manages to sell CPUs for VMware setups. Well until recently, when things got even worse for them. Lots of cheap CPUs are really good for some tasks.

Re:Similar quote from Seymour Cray (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458259)

If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use? Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?

I've got to go with the 1,024 chickens; that would be awesome.

8 lawnmowers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458235)

Example, Two suzuki hyabusa engines have been retrofitted together on a custom block to make a 2.6L v8 that revs to 13,000 rpm and puts out an insane amount of Horse power and torque. Its an engineering masterpiece that works. But lawnmower engines produce 5-7 hp on only 150ccs or 0.15L so 8 would be 1.2L. THen you have all that torque and horse power working together to spool up the engine there for producing way more power than was really imaginable.... All im saying is why not go for it,give a person more computing power the more productive a single human can be....

Power/Heat? (1)

HWguy (147772) | about a year ago | (#44458261)

How much power will this thing take when all eight cores are running? Unless there is some significant breakthrough that MediaTek has yet to announce, this seems like a major issue for this chip, at least for mobile applications.

Re:Power/Heat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458385)

If it's about the 8-core A7: Definitely less than 4 A15 or 4 of Qualcomm's cores. It will also be more power-efficient. The biggest problem will be finding applications that will actually make use of them.

Niche market (1)

Aryden (1872756) | about a year ago | (#44458309)

most people aren't going to use 8 cores, right now. For datacenter purposes, yes 8+ is needed, but your average user isn't running software that can make use of all 8 cores. Hell, I am an avid gamer and software developer and almost nothing I do uses up the 4 cores I have.

Re:Niche market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458547)

I avoid running anything that uses up all CPU resources, as such software makes it harder to use the other software I have running.

Context is Everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458311)

In a very limited sense that's a valid argument...

Well, there are perhaps 3 reasons for it making sense:

1. Yield: are tabbing processes good enough to get reliably high yields of such a complex part? At what cost?
2. Performance: when considering the likely thermal profile of an 8-core part, is it going to be particularly demanding or expensive to keep cool?
3. Support: do our current software designers, compilers and programmers have the experience and tools to make effective use of such a highly scalable platform?

It's also fair to say that it's entirely possible to get parallelism from lots of processors without the need for lots of cores in the same part. Any supercomputer engineer will tell you that.

However, what interests and disappoints me is the acute shortage of decently multi-threaded code in use today. I wonder if that Executive would make the same bold claim if we had a good source of multi-threaded apps to consume? Writing good, thread-safe code is hard. It was Bill Gates who famously pushed Intel to scale with speed rather than parallelism because his developers couldn't write good threaded code as they found it too complex (lots of poor tools at the time, I guess).

Umm, you can join engines together (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44458315)

You can't take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari.

If Ferrari is the one doing it then yes they can claim that for whatever that gets them. And you certainly can join engines together to make a larger one. A W-16 is basically just two V-8s lashed together.

Asked whether Qualcomm would one day launch its own octa-core processor, Chandrasekher said, 'We don't do dumb things.'"

Maybe not but he clearly says dumb things.

Tell that to IBM or Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458317)

Their servers also have a lot of lawnmower cores, nothing like the latest Haswell.

Dumbest thing I have read in a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458323)

Including Microsoft switching to Hardware and Services as a company. Or the late Steve Jobs saying what was it, 10inch tablets are dumb, or 7 inch? I always forget which one.

8 cores is no more dumb than 4 or 2.
In fact, 8 cores is even less dumb for a mobile. 1 core can be dedicated entirely to doing those background app tasks from inactive applications, 1 for system, the rest for the active process(es).
Any not needed, just let him rest his little ol' head for a bit.

If only we could sleep part of our brain. Maybe one day I can just take some drug and it lets me go lucid thought so no need to since you could just create a lucid environment where time seemingly doesn't exist. (but is really just heavily slowed down)
Dream-like thought here we cooome! Coming to you never! (unless you are a mental freak where you researched on yourself to force hallucinations without going insane, in which case tell me all!)

"Dumb"? (1)

harvestsun (2948641) | about a year ago | (#44458341)

Seriously, since when did it become acceptable for high profile executives to describe their competition in terms like "dumb"? Have we devolved to 5-year-olds? What is "dumb" is trying to make an argument without using any facts, and resorting to a vague metaphors about lawnmowers and spaghetti.

Re:"Dumb"? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44458657)

Seriously, since when did it become acceptable for high profile executives to describe their competition in terms like "dumb"? Have we devolved to 5-year-olds? What is "dumb" is trying to make an argument without using any facts, and resorting to a vague metaphors about lawnmowers and spaghetti.

maybe 130 years ago. it's a pretty old american business pr tactic. your competitor is doing something that can be seen as more advanced and you don't want to since the old thing is more profitable and you can provide that, so you just call them dumb for doing the new thing.

like streaming movies online is dumb, distributing on floppies instead of cartridges is dumb, letting competitors write sw for your platform is dumb, letting the users write sw for your platform is dumb, letting subscribers to use the internet for unlimited amounts is dumb and so forth. usually it means that the company is screwing it's customers and would like to keep doing so.. oh well wp8 phones don't really need more than one core anyways, since can't do shit on them anyways so why bother coupled with that you can just bribe MS to dictating which soc's the vendors are allowed to use. yeah, qualcomm is pretty sucky and since they don't(?) have their own fabs their yield risks are maybe going through the roof if they try too fancy shit.

9 Women Can't Have a Baby in a Month (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458351)

But 9 Women can do 9 math problems in parallel much faster than any one of them could do all 9 serially.

It all really depends on how many processes are running at once at a given time. If your O/S has a million services running in the background and at any time 8 of them could be competing for CPU-thread time, then no, 8 cores are not dumb.

If you're running DOS, then yes, 8 cores are useless.

Cores matter depending on the software (3, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#44458361)

Software that's single-threaded, no it doesn't benefit from more cores. But modern heavily-multi-threaded software can benefit. More cores means more threads can execute simultaneously, and if the workload's heavily parallelized you can get it done quicker. No, you can't get a supercar engine from 8 lawnmower engines. But if I have a truckload of boxes to move into a warehouse, it'll go twice as fast with 8 normal guys who can carry 1 box per trip each than with 1 really strong guy who can carry 4 boxes per trip. And when you consider that with CPUs the really strong guy isn't 4x as strong as the normal guys, he's more like maybe 50% stronger, the performance improvement for the 8 guys is even better. Assuming of course that you've got individual boxes to move. If they're all packed up inside a shipping container and you have to move the entire shipping container, then yeah you need 1 guy with a crane rather than 8 guys by hand. Modern software, though, is leaning towards breaking things down into small chunks that can be dealt with in parallel, so octacore CPUs are going to help and Qualcomm's living in the 90s.

Don't u feel dum. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44458377)

They used to say no tractor needed 8 jet engines, either!!!!1!2111!!

Forgive then Lord, they dont know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458407)

$99 US, 16 core chip

http://www.parallella.org/

Exynos Octo (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#44458447)

People realize that the Exynos Octo they're talking about isn't usable as an 8-core CPU, right?

The thing has four A15 cores, and four A7 cores. Only one of those groups can be used at a time. If you're using one or more A15 cores, the A7s are disabled, and vice versa.

I'm not actually sure what the point of what Samsung is doing is. The A15s can presumably be power gated, so switching to the "low power" option only makes sense if it can use less power than a single A15 core in a lower power state. Do the four A7 cores use less power than a single A15?

It seems to me like pairing up a single A7 with four A15s in a 4+1 solution (similar to what nVidia does with Tegra, except not using the same type of core as the +1) makes more sense.

Partially true, depends what you care about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458459)

There are diminishing returns, if you have a task that needs 3 processors, and you have 8, then you are "wasting" 8. To be most efficient, in this sense, you should have only one processor.

But the fact is, if you have a task that can be done with 3 processors and you have 8, it's STILL faster than if you had only 1. And THAT's what *I* care about.

Plus, if you have something that can be done with 7 processors, but you only have 4, it's going to be slower, than if you had 8 processors.

Course, the other problem is having smart enough control mechanisms (not sure if they are implemented in hardware or software) that will realize a task can be done with X processors, and will split up the task to use X processors. This, and the overhead of splitting the task in the first place, is why there are diminishing returns.

Still, if the processors themselves are cheap, and you care more about the time for the final result, rather than about the efficiency, then more seems like it's better.

Maybe what he meant was "going from quad processors to octo is too small of a jump to be worth the time -- check out our new tera-processor !" If so, that would put a completely different angle on his statement ...

Re:Partially true, depends what you care about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458497)

er - that first line should say: need 3, have 8 -- then you are wasting 5. sorry about the typo.

Eight-Core Processor Says Qualcomm is dumb dumb... (1)

pergamon (4359) | about a year ago | (#44458507)

dumb
dumb
dumb
dumb
dumb
dumb

Apparently Qualcomm is Evil (1)

xylo36 (1000020) | about a year ago | (#44458519)

"Dark Helmet: So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb."

Qualcomm has management that knows tech (1)

jphamlore (1996436) | about a year ago | (#44458549)

It's surprising to me that tech forums aren't praising Qualcomm to the skies for actually having management that understands tech. How many other major American companies have a CEO who earned a Ph.D. in EECS from Cal-Berkeley [wikipedia.org] ? I think Qualcomm's CEO as an example is especially important considering the utter disaster Dr. Hector Ruiz was at AMD.

Except you can.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458557)

How do you think the one british company makes (or made.. not sure if they still do or not) a V8 from two Hayabusa motors?

http://www.bimmerboost.com/showthread.php?7183-How-to-make-a-V8-from-two-Hayabusa-engines (Just one of the first links I found but I remember reading about the guys that did this YEARS ago)

8 cylinder vs 8 engines - both have one task (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458653)

the car does one task, it moves on the roads. Computers do more than one task so is that car bit really a good analogy? Now if he said software/OS don't support those 8 cores or something with meaning but maybe the guy was not technical and/or talking to marketing types who would believe him.

Chandrasekher! (0)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#44458697)

Man, I love Super Troopers!

8-core owner (1)

sunami (751539) | about a year ago | (#44458719)

As an owner of an 8-core CPU, he's right.... for now. There's a pitiful number of uses for me to have anything more than 4 cores (some games I've seen dip into a 5th core for asset loading, and that's it). Hopefully when the PS4/XB1 come out developers will start writing games to use more than 3 cores for game logic. Unless browsers start loading pages outside of a single thread, I'm unlikely to need anything beyond a 2-core system for non-gaming.

Strapping motors together - Bugatti Veyron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44458747)

Actually, you can take two V8 Volkswagon engine and strap them into a Bugatti Veyron, and have a 1100 horsepower beast.

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