Smartphone Processors – Is Octa core better than Quad Core?

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If you are going to buy a smartphone, you will certainly be in doubt which phone-processor will fulfill your need. You would also like to know the differences between a quad core processor and an octa core processor. Let me help you with this blog. 
A regular smartphone user would indeed want to know the difference between quad core and octa core processors. He or she would certainly have doubts whether an octa core smartphone runs faster than quad core smartphone or not.
Having these doubts are obvious and you should better clear them than regretting later. You will also not want your phone hanging a game app because of slower processor.After all, you will certainly want to use a smartphone better than your friends.

But before I begin to make differences, let me explain what exactly a processor’s core is all about.

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Whatever you do with your phone; even sliding the unlock bar, or typing the security pin, everything is performed via the processor chip. It’s a logic circuitry that responses to the instructions input by users and then deliver the results. In a processor, core is processing unit which reads these instructions.

Does that mean adding more processing units to processor execute instructions faster?

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Smartphone Processors  – Perceptually, it is true but in practical scenario, things do not work this way. Because all cores would be using same memory interface, more cores will make it crowded. Often time, the app you want to run, might not be created to distribute it tasks in four or eight cores. This is one big issue and it can’t easily be solved just by increasing the number of cores in a phone’s processor.
Smartphones are actually handheld computers and they can do lot more than basic computing. They have HD camera, and sensors that keep collecting data to perform several tasks. With more cores, these tasks can be divided among those cores. But because other resources will still be the same, substantial improvements aren’t possible.

Impact of Increasing Number cores in App Performance

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Apps themselves are major blockage in delivering better performance besides a device has any number of processor’s cores. Most of the apps do not use more than 1 to 2 cores of a device. Now, if the number of cores is increased, you may experience an upgrade in performance, but increased cores will not make any difference to apps.
But apps can be designed to use more cores and Gameloft has created such games. The company its game – Mortal Combat 5 for octa core processors and proved that more core can deliver enhanced experiences of effect and game-play. So app makers will need optimizing apps for octa core processors….

Does increasing core means rapid draining of battery power?

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Not exactly and in several cases, it’s seen that more cores in a processor do not pose major impact on device’s battery. But adding more cores means there will need of more transistors on chip which ultimately result in more heat and consumption of battery power even when under-clocked in idea state.
Both MediaTak, which introduced the first true octa core process, and Samsung are aware of this problem and that’s why they prefer low power cores and architectures like ARM big.LITTLE. It is technique of coupling relatively battery-saving and slower processor cores in a processor. It keeps the power consumption to a minimum. But we cannot ignore the fact that high performance always requires more power.

Is “octa-core” more of marketing than an actual advantage in processor technology?

Yes it is. Because most of the apps will not use more than 1 to 2 core of apps and even games do not use more than 2 cores. Currently, apps aren’t designed to distribute themselves on all 8 cores of an octa-core processor.
So in most common usage cases “increasing the number of chips will also increase performance” just a myth. The effect of increasing isn’t that much noticeable in present mobile devices as you are not increasing the number of rest of the resources with increasing the number of core.  It’s more a marketing stunt than the practicality.

What should users do?

This is really critical question and answer is both yes and no. If you are heavy gamer, you may go for an octa core processor device and if you are moderate users who use gaming and use other apps to, quad core still has everything for follow all your commands.
But to have the real fun of octa core gaming, you will need gaming apps deisgned for octa core device. Unfortunately, there are not enough such apps available.

Vivek Verma

Author: Vivek Verma


  1. Today’s smartphone and mobile processors are very powerful, so powerful that it is almost as powerful as a desktop computer. Processors are now coming up with more cores. Initially it was Single core, then came Dual core, we now have Quad core, Hexa core and even Octa core.

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