ARM first announced big.LITTLE processing on 2011, and since then we’ve seem several mobile processors providing two CPU clusters with “big” cores such as Cortex A15 or A57 and “LITTLE” core such as Cortex A7 and A53 to optimize performance and power consumption. With its latest Helio X20 (MT6797), Mediatek brings TINY.medium.huge processing with the first mobile processor using three CPU clusters, although a 3-level architecture has also been used before in Dhanush wearables SoC.
The three clusters are divided as follows:
- TINY – Four ARM Cortex A53 core @ up to 1.4 GHz for best power efficiency
- medium – Four ARM Cortex A53 cores @ up to 2.0 GHz for a good performance / power balance
- huge – Two ARM Cortex A72 cores @ up to 2.5 GHz for maximum performance
All three clusters are linked together and the memory bus via Mediatek Coherence System Interconnect (MCSI). Mediatek claims their tri-cluster processor consumes less than big.LITTLE processing across all performance demand conditions, and compared their solutions to 2-gear and 3-gear cars with the latter leading to better fuel efficiency.
We’ve seen previously that ARM Cortex A72 cores should be up to twice as fast Cortex A15 cores at the same frequency, so it’s not a surprise to find out the Antutu 5.6 score for Helio X20 is a massive 70,000 points, and provides a 40% jump in performance compared to Helio X10 (MT6795). The SoC will also include a Cat 6 LTE modem, but other details about X20 such as the GPU are still unknown at this stage. Mass production of the chip is said to be scheduled for July 2015, so I guess we’ll find out more soon.