Intel: Android Support for More Than One CPU Core Is Worse Than Bad

The company's tests showed either little benefit or a worsening of the performance

By on June 11th, 2012 11:18 GMT
We've seen our share of big words, but the ones Intel has uttered most recently may take the cake, sharp as they are, like claws trying to shred consumer expectations apart.

And by that we mean that Intel had some very choice words to say about the Android operating system and its performance on dual-core processors.

Android has supported dual-core CPUs fine since April 2011, when the 2.3.4 version came out.

Now, naturally, adding an extra core to a system should lead to a performance rise. Sure, programs need to be created with support for multiple cores, but nowadays pretty much all of them can handle two or four cores just fine. It's at 6-core and above that things get tricky.

Intel says Android can't really do jack even with two cores though. In fact, the global manager of Intel's mobile and communications group said having two cores was worse than settling for one.

“If you take a look a lot of handsets on the market, when you turn on the second core or having the second core there [on die], the [current] leakage is high enough and their power threshold is low enough because of the size of the case that it isn’t entirely clear you get much of a benefit to turning the second core on,” Bell said.

“We ran our own numbers and [in] some of the use cases we’ve seen, having a second core is actually a detriment, because of the way some of the people have not implemented their thread scheduling.”

Intel used Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in its tests and found that two cores either showed no difference or behaved worse than a single core would. The conclusion would be that Android's thread scheduler just isn't ready for multi-core operation.

Of course, the Santa Clara, California-based company neglected to say what devices were tested, what processors they used or what the tests even were. In other words, we haven't much of a reason to see this as more than a marketing stunt intended to convert people from Android to Windows 8. Alas.
Intel says dual-core is worse than single-core on Android
   Intel says dual-core is worse than single-core on Android
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