CPUs with hybrid cores base their operation on ARM’s big.LITTLE concept, in which we find low-power cores for everyday tasks that do not require high performance and high-performance (and higher consumption) cores for when they do. requires more power. However, in terms of raw performance they have not explained what the benefits of using this technique will be, and that is exactly what we are going to see now.
Are hybrid cores synonymous with better performance?
We have already seen many times that the main objective of this type of architecture with hybrid cores is none other than to improve efficiency, as we have explained in the lines above and what we have also talked about before in depth. However, better efficiency is not necessarily synonymous with better performance, especially when we talk about raw performance in terms of computing power, so what can we expect?
For starters, the fact that a hybrid architecture CPU incorporates “large” cores and “small” cores leaves more physical space within the die of the processor, and that means that the ODM (who designs the chip in this case) can incorporate a greater number of cores, so that for example when we talk about light tasks they can incorporate a greater number of small cores to have a better performance in this type of tasks since a greater number of them can be executed in parallel.
In addition, more of these small cores also serve to lighten the load of the large ones, so that when the system requires higher performance they can do what matters, while the small ones continue to take care of background tasks without that they interfere in the work of the great ones. For example, think that when you move the mouse the CPU must process it, and although it is a really light task it is taking up CPU time; If you have small cores to take care of it themselves, the big ones shouldn’t waste CPU time on superfluous tasks.
Similarly, the ODM can dispense with some of these small cores to make room for a greater number of large cores, and then we will have a higher raw performance at the expense of greater consumption.
Ok, but how much return do you earn in comparison?
Unfortunately we are not at the moment in a position to quantitatively compare how much performance is gained, first because we still do not have CPUs with hybrid cores on the market and second because it will depend to a great extent on the implementation of these. As we have pointed out before, the ODM has the option of using the extra space that the integration of small cores gives both to incorporate a greater number of these and to make room for more large cores, but in addition to this it will depend on the way in which have implemented them.
That said, we cannot but mention the Intel Lakefield architecture that is yet to come and that will be the definitive trigger that will show us what performance and efficiency gains we can obtain with the use of hybrid architectures. Intel seems pretty sure of itself about it, but then when push comes to shove it will be the empirical data that will give us the answer.