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What is a mobile processor and what influences its performance?

This article will help to understand better that what is a mobile processor and what factors influences mobile processor performance?
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The most common answer to the question “what is a mobile processor?” Is that “it’s the brain that controls the device.” In essence, this answer is correct, but to understand how it works and what affects its performance, it is good to know the basic specifications and concepts. And we will try to provide you with this information below.

The efficiency of the processor affects every action performed on the smartphone. For better illustration, imagine that you want to open a photo on a smartphone, the processor records this request and stores it in the phone’s temporary memory. This is the loading phase, during which your request is written and decoded into a language that your phone “understands”. The photo is then displayed, so the phone executes the instruction you entered. However, how quickly it processes this information and shows it to you on the device display depends on several factors.

What affects the speed of CPU responses?

The speed of the processor’s response depends on several factors. For example, from the frequency at which it works, from the number of cores and the like. Below we have prepared a description of those key specifications for you.

Processor frequency indicates that how many instructions the processor is able to process in 1 second. When the processor has a frequency of 1GHz, it means that it is able to process 1 billion instructions in one second. In general, we can say that the higher the frequency of the processor, the more tasks the processor is able to process. Here, however, it must be said that it is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. By default, we can meet with processors with the same frequency, number of cores and the like, while their real performance is different. Thanks to technological advances, a processor chip can work more efficiently even with a lower frequency than one with a higher computing power. This is because several other factors affect processor performance. So what else affects CPU performance?

Number of cores in mobile processor

Today’s mobile processors have 8 cores in most cases. However, this does not mean that every core is equally powerful. Some cores operate at a higher frequency as a rule and others at a lower frequency and can also be adapted to other tasks. The reason is better energy management, including “coordination” of work. In other words, multiple cores share tasks while allowing multiple processes to run simultaneously. We can most often meet brands of processors such as Snapdragon (Qualcomm), Exynos (Samsung), Kirin (Huawei), A Bionic (Apple), and processors from MediaTek.

Manufacturing process

Another parameter that is often forgotten is the production process. Processors can have the same operating frequency, but at the end of the day they can have completely different features, including performance. The manufacturing process is called “nm”, which means “nanometer”. Processors generally consist of millions of small transistors that perform calculations. The abbreviation “nm” in this case means the size of the transistor. Here, the smaller this value, the more powerful the processor, because a larger number of transistors, including cores, can fit on the same surface. For better illustration, we will use the Intel Pentium 4 processor, which was a top at the time. It offered a frequency of 2GHz and was manufactured by a 180-nm process. In 2004, a version of the processor with the Prescott core was introduced, which already offered 3.8GHz. The “magic” was that we managed to move from a 190nm process to a 90nm process. In other words, although the “design” remained the same, so many transistors reached the same surface almost once. At the same time, due to the fact that they are more densely arranged with each other, the distance between them also decreases, which means that they need less voltage. This has the effect of equal or lower energy consumption at higher power.

As is probably clear to everyone, shrinking processors is not possible indefinitely. Talks about Moore’s Law , which states that roughly every 24 months we can reduce the size of chips by half while maintaining the same price. According to several experts, in 2025 we will have a “stop sign” when we come across the final one.

Currently, the hottest topic is mobile processors with a transistor size of 5 nm . Such a mobile processor is, for example, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 .

Which mobile processor are among the most powerful?

Not so long ago, we brought you a ranking of the performance of individual processors, which was created on the basis of AnTuT (it is a benchmark service that compares the performance of devices. You will find a complete ranking at the link). Currently, the list below shows the 20 most powerful processors on the market (in parentheses is the number of points achieved on a scale from 0 to 40):

  • Snapdragon 865 5G (40)
  • Exynos 990 (37)
  • Dimension 1000+ (36)
  • Snapdragon 855+ (34)
  • Kirin 990 5G (32)
  • Snapdragon 855 (31)
  • Exznos 9825 and Kirin 990 (30)
  • Exynos 9820 (29)
  • Dimension 1000L (27)
  • Kirin 985 5G, Kirin 980 and Dimensity 820 (26)
  • Snapdragon 845 (24)
  • Kirin 5G (23)
  • Eyznos 9810 (22)
  • Exynos 980 (21)
  • Snapdragon 765 5G and Snapdragon 765G 5G (20)
  • Dimensity 800 (19)

Other specifications that affect the performance and operation of the smartphone

Other specifications that affect the performance of the smartphone are, for example, RAM memory (which we discussed in this article), including storage space. Even in this case, it is necessary to look for the highest possible values. However, it should be added that, for example, 128GB of space is not always “equal” to 128GB of space. We are not talking about capacity now, but the type of storage space, which is called UFS. This topic was addressed in the article What is UFS 3.0… ?. Current flagships to date are presented with a memory type of UFS 3.0, or a higher value. In essence, it is a Flash memory, which is responsible not only for power consumption, but also for the speed of reading and writing data from / to storage. For better orientation, SSD disks are the opposite of UFS memories in the computer world. In the case of RAM, the bus, which is responsible for data throughput, is important. RAM can be characterized as a temporary storage, where they store information from currently active applications.