What on the planet is occurring?
Google is constructing the Pixel 6, and with it, the corporate is dumping Qualcomm and introducing its first in-house major SoC (with assist from Samsung): the “Google Tensor SoC,” aka “Whitechapel.” Aside from some speak about Google’s particular AI sauce, there’s hasn’t been a lot data concerning the core components of Tensor like, say, the CPU. A reasonable expectation for a corporation constructing its first SoC is that it will not be too formidable—we’d count on Google to play inside the guardrails arrange by ARM, and after delivery a modest, cookie-cutter SoC, the corporate would be taught from its first design and iterate. However a brand new report from XDA Builders’ Mishaal Rahman claims that even with its first design, Google is not afraid to blaze its personal path in SoC design.
Recall how ARM SoCs usually include three tiers of CPU cores: a giant CPU for bursty processing duties like app-launching, medium cores for sustained efficiency, and small cores for background responsibility and low-power processing. Rahman says he has a supply with a real-life Pixel 6 Professional and presents the next CPU specs: two 2.8GHz Cortex-X1 cores, two 2.25GHz Cortex-A76 cores, and 4 1.8GHz Cortex-A55 cores.
If that data is true, Google’s lineup of CPU cores might be not like the rest in the marketplace. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 and Samsung’s Exynos 2200 each have one Cortex X1, three Cortex A78s, and 4 Cortex A55s. You are not speculated to have two X1 cores. These are the large cores that may do some critical processing, and cramming two of them right into a smartphone might result in unimaginable efficiency. Or it might result in excessive overheating. You are additionally not supposed to make use of A76 cores, that are from final 12 months. Each different firm’s “medium” cores are the newer, quicker A78 cores.
In comparison with the everyday design, Google swapped out one of many medium cores for a second large X1 core after which turned down the remaining medium cores by switching to cores from final 12 months. Possibly downgrading the remaining medium cores is an try and stability the warmth output? At launch, ARM mentioned a 5 nm Cortex A78 had 20 % better-sustained efficiency in the identical thermal envelope as a 7 nm Cortex A76. However since Google is utilizing 5 nm A76s, the A76 cores needs to be placing out much less warmth than the A78.
So what precisely is the objective right here? Is Google making an attempt to grab the Android benchmark crown with this twin X1 Frankenchip? It will be a disgrace to spend all these engineering assets on a customized resolution and switch in a medium-performance benchmark when chips with medium-performance benchmarks are available, out of the field, from a number of distributors. There’s quite a lot of effort being spent right here that may hopefully repay by some means.
The Android neighborhood’s collective head-scratching Tensor journey began with this surprise entry within the Geekbench 5 database, which lists a “Google Pixel 6 Professional” with that unprecedented 2 x 2 x 4 core format. Geekbench data reads from an easy-to-fake file, however this entry did not seem to be a pretend because it was already fully unbelievable by itself. Rahman says, “The construct fingerprint, kernel model string, CPU frequencies, CPU clusters, GPU data, and extra match the values from our supply’s Pixel 6 Professional.” So it is vitally possible that this entry reveals a legit Geekbench run.
And for a flagship smartphone, this Geekbench 5 rating is horrible. A Snapdragon 888 scores someplace within the vary of 3300-3500, whereas Google’s Pixel 6 is scoring decrease than a Pixel 4. We’d guess that this is because of numerous optimization and configuration work that also must be completed and that it could be flawed to attract any conclusions from the rating.
We’re beginning to get a clearer image of what is within the Google Tensor SoC, even when the real-world efficiency continues to be a wild card. Samsung’s Exynos unit helps design the chip, and the opposite core elements are very Samsung-y. The GPU is reportedly the identical because the Exynos Galaxy S21, an off-the-shelf ARM Mali G78. The modem can be from Samsung (an Exynos 5123), which can mark the primary time shortly that an Exynos modem has come to US shores. Google is hyping up the AI-centric components of the chip design and guarantees that the chip will energy onboard voice transcriptions.
As a result of it has entry to somebody with a Pixel 6 Professional, XDA was additionally capable of corroborate loads of the opposite specs which have been floating round. The Samsung-made 50MP “GN1” picture sensor for the principle digicam represents the Pixel line’s first image-sensor improve in a number of years. That rectangular digicam half is a 4x optical telephoto lens powered by a Sony 48 MP IMX586, whereas the wide-angle digicam continues Google’s love affair with Sony picture sensors from 2016—it is a 12 MP IMX386.
Different reported specs promise a computing powerhouse with an enormous 5000 mAh battery, 12GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and Wi-Fi 6E. After taking a 12 months off with the Pixel 5, Google appears to be returning to the flagship race.
Google is definitely hyping the Google Tensor SoC in its promoting. In Japan (which is seemingly Google’s new second-favorite nation), the corporate is celebrating its first-ever in-house SoC by promoting “Google Original Chips” on the Google Retailer—these are actually luggage of edible potato chips, styled after every coloration of the Pixel 6. All of them are available a “Googley Salty Taste” and also have a large stripe throughout them to match the digicam block. The video ad for the chips—through which a girl expenses a bag of Pixel potato chips with a USB-C plug—is absolutely one thing.
We nonetheless don’t know when this telephone is definitely popping out. Android 12 is rumored for October 4—so a launch would presumably be someday after that.
Itemizing picture by Google