The fascination with speed has been the core catalyst behind the advancements in computing hardware. Faster processors not just make existing tasks faster but also enable new features that would not have been possible previously. However, there’s a downside with all this computing power and its heat. If you put a lot of electricity inside a silicon chip that doesn’t do any physical work, there’s only one thing all that energy can turn to, and that’s heat.
Now, this heat if not managed can damage the internal components. Thus, we see tech companies use a cooling system to cool the processor down. But unlike a full-fledged desktop PC which has big fans and liquids to cool the processor, there’s only so much they can do in a smartphone that has a very small form factor. So as another safety mechanism, companies use throttling to drop the performance until the temperature reaches normal.
However, don’t interpret warm as hot. A slightly warmer feel after playing a game for 15 minutes is absolutely normal. Now with that said, the latest Android chipsets the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Exynos 2200, and the Dimensity 9000 are all crazy powerful. But regardless of which is better, all three of them are suffering from the same issue and that’s heating. All of them have a hard time managing the heat, which leads to faster performance degradation and more energy usage. Now, we all thought this is happening because of Samsung and their foundry.
I mean Qualcomm only designed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Samsung made it a real product with their foundry. But the thing is the heating issue is not exclusive to the 8 Gen 1 or Exynos 2200 both of which are made by Samsung. Mediatek’s Dimensity 9000 also suffers from it which is made by TSMC. In fact, the heating is worse in Mediatek’s chipsets. So what exactly is causing the heating issue then? Well, according to industry insiders in South Korea, the culprit is ARM’s latest architecture.
You see the CPU is the “brains” of your phone, but it’s not exactly smart. A CPU only works when given very specific instructions, and these instructions are given to the CPU by ARM’s instruction set through the Cortex cores. Every year, the Company ARM designs these instruction sets and Android companies use it as it is unaltered to design their chipsets. Now some you wonder, Apple also uses ARM architecture to design their A series bionic chips then why don’t they have the heating problem as bad as the Android chipsets. Well, that is due to optimization.
Apple works closely with ARM and fine-tunes their processors for use in iOS something Android companies don’t do because it’s a lot of work that requires lots of time and money. Qualcomm and Samsung design their chipset in such a way that everyone can use them, they prioritize compatibility over optimization. And that’s the reason we’re dealing with this heating problem. If ARM messes up, they all suffer. However, Samsung said they will change that going forward.
The CEO said they will start developing processors that are tailor-made for Galaxy smartphones just like Apple which hopefully means we should finally get a chipset that’s optimized to the fullest, thereby offering optimized performance and battery life like iPhones. Of course, let me know your thoughts down in the comments and as always I’ll see you tomorrow…peace out