According to a report in AnandTech, MediaTek is planning to release Helio X20 chip by the end of the year which will have 10-core processor into three segments or a ‘Tri-cluster’ architecture. There will be a dual core 2.5GHz ARM 72 processor for the most demanding work, four 2GHz Cortex A53 cores and four 1.4GHz Cortex A53 cores for relatively less demanding work loads. The Helio X20 will be an update to the octa-core Helio X10 which is present in the HTC One M9+.
If this goes through, MediaTek will be the first company to have a tri-cluster processor demarcation, one higher than the big.LITTLE architecture. According to MediaTek’s Mohit Bhushan quoted in Re/code, such a configuration runs more power efficiently without losing any performance.
Apart from having a 10-core processor, the Helio X20 is expected to support two main cameras, 2K displays and an always on micro-controller to listen to voice inputs and handle music playback without activating the other processing cores.
When asked if all 10 cores can run simultaneously, Finbarr Moynihan, MediaTek’s general manager of international corporate sales said that it is possible, but the Helio X20’s software will always be optimised to pick out the right clusters for handling different threads.
This way, low power apps such as mail and messaging will run on the low-power cluster; casual games and multimedia apps can on the mid-power cluster which will leave the high-power cluster to only be bothered by really demanding apps.
“In theory, the scheduler can turn on all ten [cores] if necessary; of course, subject to any thermal constraints that the device may have,” said Moynihan.
So will 10-core chipset be the new octa-core in 2016? We will have to wait to find out.