What on this planet is occurring?
Google is constructing the Pixel 6, and with it, the corporate is dumping Qualcomm and introducing its first in-house essential SoC (with assist from Samsung): the “Google Tensor SoC,” aka “Whitechapel.” Apart from some discuss Google’s particular AI sauce, there’s hasn’t been a lot information concerning the core components of Tensor like, say, the CPU. A reasonable expectation for an organization constructing its first SoC is that it will not be too bold—we’d anticipate Google to play inside the guardrails arrange by ARM, and after delivery a modest, cookie-cutter SoC, the corporate would study 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 typically include three tiers of CPU cores: an enormous CPU for bursty processing duties like app-launching, medium cores for sustained efficiency, and small cores for background obligation and low-power processing. Rahman says he has a supply with a real-life Pixel 6 Professional and affords 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 info is true, Google’s lineup of CPU cores might be not like anything available on the market. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 and Samsung’s Exynos 2200 each have one Cortex X1, three Cortex A78s, and 4 Cortex A55s. You are not alleged to have two X1 cores. These are the large cores that may do some severe processing, and cramming two of them right into a smartphone may result in unimaginable efficiency. Or it may result in excessive overheating. You are additionally not supposed to make use of A76 cores, that are from final yr. Each different firm’s “medium” cores are the newer, sooner A78 cores.
In comparison with the everyday design, Google swapped out one of many medium cores for a second huge X1 core after which turned down the remaining medium cores by switching to cores from final yr. 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 p.c 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 must be placing out much less warmth than the A78.
So what precisely is the aim right here? Is Google making an attempt to grab the Android benchmark crown with this twin X1 Frankenchip? It might be a disgrace to spend all these engineering sources 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 a number of effort being spent right here that may hopefully repay someway.
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 structure. Geekbench information reads from an easy-to-fake file, however this entry did not appear 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 information, and extra match the values from our supply’s Pixel 6 Professional.” So it is rather probably that this entry exhibits 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 a lot of optimization and configuration work that also must be carried out and that it could be fallacious 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 remains to be a wild card. Samsung’s Exynos unit helps design the chip, and the opposite core parts 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 also be from Samsung (an Exynos 5123), which is able to 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 digital camera represents the Pixel line’s first image-sensor improve in a number of years. That rectangular digital camera half is a 4x optical telephoto lens powered by a Sony 48 MP IMX586, whereas the wide-angle digital camera 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 yr off with the Pixel 5, Google appears to be returning to the flagship race.
Google is actually hyping the Google Tensor SoC in its promoting. In Japan (which is outwardly 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 shade of the Pixel 6. All of them are available in a “Googley Salty Taste” and also have a huge stripe throughout them to match the digital camera block. The video ad for the chips—through which a girl fees a bag of Pixel potato chips with a USB-C plug—is basically one thing.
We nonetheless do not 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