Fuck Qualcomm right in their Qualcomm-hole


#21

Jesus, if it was up to you guys, all progress in computing would have halted by 2005. Who needs faster anything? It’s good enough for us, by gum! 640kb should be enough for anyone!


#22

I don’t understand why you think that cherry picking a single benchmark over and over makes it the only benchmark.


#23

Speaking of geekbench in your chart there…


#24

Right, for example the SOC in the iPhone 3G was tiny and manufactured on an process that was already obsolete at the time. 90nm in 2008! That’s four years behind the curve. By the end of your graph in 2012, they were on 32nm, just two years behind. And not only had density increased by a factor of 10, but they’d also increased the die size by a third. That’s like 12x the transistor budget, and noticeable perf/watt improvements.

So it’s not a huge surprise that with these kinds of advantages they could get a 10x improvement in speed in that time frame. And between 2012-2016 they increased the die by another third (the A10 is just massive, larger than a i7-6700k), despite also getting something like a 4x increase in transistor density from process improvements. We’re at the end of the road.

You keep repeating that “mobile CPUs are now where desktop CPUs were in 2000”. That’s just nonsense. Where do you think these huge future improvements are going to come from, when the manufacturing technology is stagnating?

(There are very few companies in the world that I’d rather see get fucked than Qualcomm, I have no problem with that. Just objecting to the fairy tales about future SOC improvements).


#25

And you think picking a score for each core and multiplying it by the number of cores represents real world performance at all?

Let me quote from this 2013 review of AMD’s A10-6800K CPU. As you may recall, this is a CPU which has terrible per-thread performance, but MOAR CORES. Guess how it performs in the real world?

The CPU performance was good in some applications—those that use multiple threads well, like image processing tools or video encoders.

But AMD was asking folks to accept some compromises in other areas. Single-threaded performance was relatively pokey, which leads to reduced responsiveness in everyday tasks and momentary hiccups while gaming.

Spoiler alert: badly.

Or how about this A8-7600 from 2014? Lots of cores, man! So many cores!! MORE CORES = MORE POWARRR! How does it perform in the real world?

To AMD’s credit, Steamroller appears to have higher per-clock performance than the Piledriver cores familiar from Richland. Kaveri’s advantage seems to be especially prominent in multithreaded tests, and it’s nice to see the company making progress on the CPU performance front. There’s more work to be done, though. The Core i3-4330 beat the A8-7600 in the bulk of our non-gaming tests, including most of the multithreaded ones. Intel continues to have advantages in single-threaded performance and power efficiency, as well.

Spoiler alert: badly.

Or even back in the hoary old days of the iPhone 6:

We know even from big desktop PCs that the user experience is often dominated by the performance of one big, hairy thread that’s difficult to execute. Apple’s decision to pursue higher per-thread performance instead of expanding the core count seems like the smart course.

For reference, an old ass 2014 iPhone 6, at a geekbench single threaded score of ~1400, is within 20% of any Snapdragon 820 or 821 android device (~1700), and within 33% of the brand new Snapdragon 835 (~1900). And where are we today?

The single most relevant factor to actual real world performance in real world apps is, by far, single theaded performance.

Now if you encode videos on your phone all day long, or render raytracing scenes, you’re absolutely right: multiple cores will dominate. But “makes perfect use of (n) cores” is extraordinarily rare to achieve in software. Hell, even “makes reasonable use of (n) cores” is extremely difficult.

Unfortunately, most people use their smartphones to browse the web, run a few basic apps, and play games. Outside of playing games, where the GPU will dominate as you’d expect, all of these things, every typical daily use task for a smartphone or tablet you’d see people doing out on the street, correlate directly with single threaded performance.

(Bear in mind in all of this, that everything is dual core minimum these days. Nobody that I know of sells a single core CPU on any mobile / tablet / desktop / laptop, so the value of a second core is indisputable. It’s just the added performance return on investment in cores 3-16 that becomes debatable.)


#26

This is a fair point, that mobile ate the world, and due to massive ramp in scale, it was able to “catch up” to the latest and greatest CPU process size as we track forward into 2015 and beyond.

But answer me this, then: if Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 has 3 billion transistors and a 10nm manufacturing process

if the Apple A10 has 3.3 billion transistors on a 14nm, at a die size of 125mm2 versus the 3 billion in the Snapdragon 835 at 10nm … as a little old lady once said… where’s the god damned beef?

You tell me, then: where is Apple getting these massive year over year performance increases that seem to be completely beyond the grasp of Qualcomm?

I fully expect the A11 (iPhone 8, 7s) to be fully twice the speed of the Snapdragon 835. In fact I’ll bet money on it. And as bad as that is, it’s merely continuing the sad trend that started with the iPhone 6 and beyond…


#27

[quote=“wumpus, post:26, topic:129747”]
if the Apple A10 has 3.3 billion transistors on a 14nm, at a die size of 125mm2 versus the 3 billion in the Snapdragon 835 at 10nm … as a little old lady once said… where’s the god damned beef?[/quote]
Right, the A10 and the 835 have comparable transistor counts. The A10 uses a 2+2 core setup, the 835 a 4+4. So Qualcomm spent their CPU silicom budget on more cores, Apple on bigger cores. And predictably 835 wins the multicore benchmarks, the A10 wins the single core ones. There’s no magic there, just different tradeoffs.

Now, one might ask why Qualcomm chose to use more cores rather than bigger cores. They kind of didn’t have a choice there. The 835 is just a semi-custom variant of the A73. And that’s the biggest core that ARM has for sale. So it was either that, or another stab at a fully custom design. Why doesn’t ARM have a bigger design in their back pocket? Maybe they’re just as incompetent as you suggest Qualcomm is. Or maybe, just maybe, single core performance isn’t actually what sells phones.


#28

This.


#29

This is moronic. You are arguing that AMD / Samsung could have been competitive wth Intel / Apple on IPC, if they really wanted to, but decided no, fuck that, let’s just make MOAR CORES instead. Because boy howdy AMD sure ran the table on Intel with that strategy. Our terrible performance is next level strategery, you can’t possibly be expected to understand!

So they are limited to cloning whatever ARM has on hand. This is a fair point, but speaks so poorly of literally everyone involved. As in, they literally suck at their jobs. Like… a lot.

The other hypothesis – strangely not mentioned – is that Apple has fucking geniuses in the CPU design department, churning out custom ARM CPUs that nobody in the god damn world can even get within 2x of. I mean John Gruber gets a huge boner just reading this stuff.

Sadly, though, we have basically ruled all other alternatives out. So it has to be this, doesn’t it?

I don’t know if it sells phones ipso facto, but seeing your shiny new Qualcomm device get lapped by an iPhone in countless YouTube videos of app performance and web benchmarks is not doing anyone any favors. I would also say iPhones start to look pretty amazing, price wise, if you consider you get 2x the performance in real world apps for considerably less than 2x the price. Certainly justifies that Apple premium over cosmetic design machine aluminum rounded edge fripperies.

Not to mention secure enclave, and all the other security benefits of an iPhone.


#30

A third alternative is that phone manufacturers simply aren’t asking Qualcomm to make faster single threaded cores.

A fourth is that Qualcomm can make them faster, and possibly do, but no phone vendor is willing to pay for the price at which Qualcomm will do it, which kind of stagnates Qualcomm in this area. Apple has an advantage here by bringing it in house, I.e. in that their chip design and fabbing people aren’t intending to make a profit when delivering it to the phone design people.


#31

This is highly illogical. It would be like assuming that Intel and AMD have zero customers asking for faster CPUs.

There is a certain fiction you can perpetuate for a little while with MOAR CORES for some of the “blast processing” impressed (that is, dumber) audiences, but just ask AMD how far that has gotten them in the past.

Perhaps Google and others should “bring it in house”, then.

Note that Samsung’s Exynos CPUs are not particularly impressive, ether.


#32

Wow, 2X real-world performance! That sounds amazing. Let’s see how it would impact the way I use my phone (music, ebooks, browsing qt3, news via Feedly, talking to people via Slack and Hangouts, occasional games, Netflix, etc.)

1 average hour =

  • 53 minutes enjoying the activity du jour with no blockers or impediments.
  • 4 minutes waiting for the post/movie/article/whatever to be fetched from the Internet.
  • 2 minutes navigating between apps.
  • 30 seconds staring off into space not interacting with the phone at all.
  • 30 seconds waiting for the phone’s processor to complete some task.

Wow, doubling my performance would slice that last category in half and save me 15 whole seconds! iPhones are awesome!

… Oh, but wait, C-C-C-Combo Breaker!

  • +15 seconds for typing a post like this one because iPhone keyboards make asterisks require 4 taps instead of a single long-press, and numerals require 3 taps instead of 1.
  • +15 seconds for changing my music because I have to go all the way into the music app instead of pausing or going to the next track from the notification shade.
  • +15 seconds reading news in Feedly because when I’m done reading the article I have to scroll up a little ways to make the back button appear in the top left corner and then reach up and tap it, rather than just instantly tapping an always-available back button.
  • +15 seconds from having to fully open the to-do list or calendar app rather than being able to see them at a glance in a widget on the homescreen.
  • +15 seconds navigating between apps because fewer fit on each page, and my preferred organization schema requires gaps and manual placement, which makes it a thoughtcrime violating the enforced sift-to-top that all good citizens should embrace.
  • +15 seconds manually going into Photos to give permission to delete the stuff that’s already been uploaded to the cloud.
  • +15 seconds finding some random rarely-used app without the aid of a simple alphabetized app list.
  • +15 seconds transferring files from my PC to my phone via iTunes sync or some cloud-based workaround rather than just drag-and-drop into the desired folder.
  • etc.

I use both on a daily basis (Note 5 and iPhone 6s). There is indeed the occasional moment that I notice the iPhone completes a particular task marginally quicker. But there’s an order of magnitude more miscellaneous niggles and irritations with the OS. If I could buy an Android phone with an Apple SoC I would, but since I can’t I won’t lose any sleep about it.


#33

As far as I understand, there are third party keyboards on iOS now. I don’t use them though. Here’s one called “Markdown Keyboard” for example.

You can do this from the slide up menu on iOS. Slide up, swipe left or right. I don’t really use it though.

on iOS you can tap the header of any app to scroll all the way to top immediately. It always perplexed me why Android never had this (and still doesn’t).

iOS has widgets on the homescreen. I don’t use them much though.

drag down on home, then search. That’s what I do. But I barely have 2 pages of apps.

Yeah, you have to get used to clouds like dropbox on iOS. Most people seem fine with it. Being able to directly manipulate the phone’s filesystem is kind of an artifact of the old computing world, though. That said you can still browse photos in the filesystem on iOS but not write to them.

Sounds like a personal problem. Believe me, I’m no fan of Ye Olde Icons on a Fucking Background as a UI metaphor to span the ages because fuck, that’s Windows 3.0 … but search is the metaphor my friend. Not “did I put this on page 5 or page 6 of apps?” or “did I put this in some wacky folder?”

Are you sure you actually… know what you’re taking about, here? Because I don’t think you do.

Anyways, preferences are fine. That’s not what this is about. I’d love it if there were five different SoCs that people could choose from on their Android devices not… just Qualcomm or fuck you, as choices.


#34

Oh, I know there are third-party keyboards now, but the implementation and selection is equivalent to 2010-era Android. I spent a while searching for a keyboard that supported 1) swipe-based typing, 2) always-available number row on top, and 3) overloaded keys to long-press for common punctuation symbols. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t exist on iOS for any price.

The reason you don’t really use it is because it’s a garbage half-assed implementation of the idea. You can’t access it unless you’ve already exited whatever app you’re in and gone back to the main menu screen, at which point it’s not actually significantly faster than just opening the music app. By contrast the Android notification shade is available by pulling down from the top of the screen in any app.

Two taps at the top of the screen is still less convenient than one at the bottom. Fair point about the scroll-to-top shortcut, though I can’t actually think of many times I’d use that if I had it. How often do you want to go to the beginning of whatever you’re reading rather than navigating up one level to pick something else?

As with the keyboards, this is poorly implemented copy of an idea without getting what made it useful. iOS widgets are ghettoized into their own separate screen rather than freely placeable on any homescreen, and sorely limited in terms of available functionality and app support.

It’s better than nothing, but I’d still rather have a list available as well. Search exists on Android too, but options are good for everybody.

Or maybe “most people” don’t have to be fine with it because they’re on an OS that doesn’t lock off useful options like that.

Are you a fan of “put my few most frequently used apps at the bottom of the main home screen to be as close to my thumb’s resting position as possible”? Because you can’t even do that without making sure every slot above them is filled.

Believe me, the feeling is very much mutual.

And of course, attempting to rebut my personal specific UX preferences ignores my actual point, which is that idly waiting around for the phone to complete some single-core processing task represents a vanishingly small proportion of real-world usage time with any modern phone. No benchmarks or contrived “open-every-app” videos are going to change that. Improvements in that area are welcome, of course, but not worth ignoring various other points of preference when making a choice between phones.


#35

Um, I just tested, and nope, the now playing panel is available all the time in any app, just by swiping up and right. Here’s me opening it from Safari. Hell, here’s a screenshot of it I made just for you:

I ask again: are you sure you know what you’re talking about?

Fine, weasel out of it with “poorly implemented copy”, whatever, don’t care. As you pointed out – this isn’t about X vs Y this is about fundamental lack of hardware choice on a platform that is supposed to be built around the ENTIRE CONCEPT of hardware choice!

I already addressed this in

If you feel a slow device is good enough for your usage, god bless you. Keep on keeping on.

I find that I expect my phone to be as fast as my desktop, though the watt budget there is wildly unrealistic, or at minimum a modern ultrabook CPU where the watt budget is in the realm of reasonable for a phone. I mostly notice it when browsing the web, which I do pretty much 24/7, and have for the last 17 years.


#36

Videos opening in half a second rather than one second are not worth the extra cost, in my opinion.


#37

I’m with wumpus on this. @Thraeg’s iOS “gotchas” are largely inaccurate. Thraeg’s overall point is flawed in regards to spending more time with an unfamiliar UI paradigm vs. waiting on a processor, and the majority of his examples given are incorrect or incomplete. His argument doesn’t consider that I, as an iOS power user, get both processor speed benefits and my deep familiarity with iOS means none of his slowdowns apply. So I still win in a speed contest.

For example, although he is correct that you cannot freely position app icons on the iOS home screen, his example of wanting most recently used (MRU) apps always at the bottom ignores the fact that you can freely place 4 items at the bottom of the home screen, plus the iOS MRU functionality is usually accessed by double clicking the home button. That’s actually the MRU list!

His example of needing two clicks to go back in Feedly ignores that this is an app specific flaw. In a superior app like Reeder, going back is always a single click or swipe away. Or, in the event that you actually want to go back to another app, it is a single click away since iOS 9, which places a breadcrumb link at the top left that shows you the name of the app you would flip back to. I’d argue this is superior to the confusing Android back button which hides what will happen if pressed. But again, different strokes when it comes to UI. Perhaps you’ve memorized the rules for what Android’s back button does in whichever context you’re in. I haven’t!

I use the media controls in Control Center in any app all the time. Constantly. I also use the “home screen widgets” constantly, which I prefer in the iOS paradigm because they are separated from notifications. That way I have notifications in my face when I pick up my phone, which I can act upon or not, and with a simple swipe (no unlock or click necessary) I can see my chosen widgets organised how I like them. Albeit not in a free layout like Android allows, but in a customisable list. Android does have a lot of unique features that I admire, I’m not blind to that!

I use the Gboard keyboard exclusively, and long pressing on the period gives me most commonly used symbols, albeit not an asterisk. Gboard also has swipe typing. There are tons of other keyboards that might suit your needs better, if you cared enough to find one.

I have over 328 apps installed on my phone. An alphabetical list is utterly useless to me. Search is how I manage to launch most anything not on my home screeb, and it’s always available with a down swipe. No need to leave an app.

I could go on (eg about transferring files and file systems in general) But I feel my point has been made. Familiarity cancels out all of the UI delays @Thraeg listed, and iOS has equivalent functionality to almost everything Android does, even if in a different way.


#38

You might be surprised. With Android you can slight your thumb down the right side (maybe left as well, I don’t know) and the letter of the apps will pop up. It’s supper fast so say I wanted to open the Overdrive app and I had 300 apps installed. It would probably only take a second to slide down to the letter O.


#39

That does sound pretty good, and it’s the way that Pokemon Go handles scrolling through your captured Pokemon, so I know what you mean. I’m sure it’s very quick once you get used to it. But again, muscle memory means that I’d have to retrain myself, and at this point I can launch an app on my creaky iPhone 6+ called Overcast in… 4 seconds, from the lock screen. I also tend to launch apps a lot via Siri, with a long press on the Home button followed by “Launch Overcast”. And I also noticed that I forgot about the MRU / Suggested Apps list that iOS throws into the Home Screen’s swipe down search field. So that’s another quick way to launch apps that Thraeg didn’t mention. Overcast was in the Suggested Apps list, by the way. Siri somehow read my mind ;).


#40

But why not? YOUR TYPING PERFORMANCE IS TERRIBLE!

Serious question though, does iOS have a built in gesture typing yet? Cause that’s the real time saver for typing. The idea of actually typing keys is like a freaking cave man at this point.