Google has revealed some points about its Tensor SoC, which is powering the two new phones, now that the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are officially completely public after months of controlled leaks and teasers. So here we are to uncover all the details about this new Google SoC.
How Good is Tensor Processor?
The Google Tensor SoC is based on a 5nm architecture and includes eight cores, including two ARM Cortex-X1 cores clocked at 2.8GHz, four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz, and two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.25 GHz, as well as a Mali-G78 MP20 GPU for graphics.
According to Google, the Tensor SoC was co-designed with Google Research, allowing them to construct an AI/ML platform. Face Unblur, Motion Mode, Speech improvement mode for films, HDRnet for videos, and other machine learning-based experiences were featured. Furthermore, Google claims that the Google Assistant uses the most accurate Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) the business has ever published and that all of these components use very little power.
"Google Assistant on Google Tensor uses the most accurate Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) ever released by Google. And for the first time we can use a high quality ASR model even for long-running applications such as Recorder or tools such as Live Caption without quickly draining the battery." Google on its Blogpost.
Apart from that, the Google Tensor SoC is used to power computational photography and video features, with the company claiming that the photographic duties are done swiftly due to the chip’s subsystems working together better. Finally, the Tensor chip features the Tensor security core, which is a novel CPU-based subsystem that protects user data in conjunction with the Titan M2 security chip.
Comparing with competitors like Snapdragon 888 & Exynos 2100
The Tensor SoC relies largely on Samsung’s expertise, which can be found in the company’s latest Exynos processor. The modem, for example, is thought to have been taken from the Exynos 2100. In the meanwhile, both chipsets use the same Mali-G78 GPU, however, the Google SoC has a 20-core version and the Exynos has 14 cores. Similar AV1 media decoding hardware support is said to be one of the similarities.
We’ll have to wait and see if the Snapdragon 888’s graphics performance is a few frames ahead or behind the Exynos 2100’s, but it should come out on top. Still, those hoping for real flagship-tier performance from the Pixel 6 will be relieved. However, the chip’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) is expected to provide even more competitive machine learning and AI capabilities.
The 2+2+4 CPU configuration used by Google is a more unusual architectural choice. The main point is that two powerful Cortex-X1 CPUs should give the Google Tensor SoC more muscle for single-thread tasks, but the older Cortex-A76 cores may make the chip a worse multitasker, which we’ll get to later. It’s a unique combo that harkens back to Samsung’s doomed Mongoose CPU configurations. However, there are some doubts about the design’s power and thermal efficiency that Google has previously attempted to answer.
This processor and the Pixel 6 series appear to be quite competitive on paper with the Exynos 2100 and Snapdragon 888 series featured in some of 2021’s greatest smartphones. When the reviews come out in a few days, we should know how well the gadgets work.