When technology companies release new smartphones, their marketing attempts often include buzzwords that normal people do not understand. You’re not alone if an ad leaves you scratching your head, wondering what a 64-bit Octa-Core processor is. It turns out that processors play crucial roles in how smartphones work. They may have weird names, but they are essential pieces of technology that are building the future of communication.
The Basics of Smartphone Processors
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The first step in understanding what processors are and what they do is to stop thinking of your smartphone as something as simple as a phone. Your smartphone may be small, but it is a sophisticated computer. Like your desktop or laptop machine, these computers rely on complex parts.
The processor is one of the most important parts of your smartphone. Some experts compare them to the human brain because they perform essential calculations and execute code. When you open an app on your smartphone, it sends instructions to the processor. The processor executes those instructions so you can listen to music, plan your day, or call a friend.
Big Technology in a Little Package
The difference between your desktop computer and your smartphone is that designers need to pack a lot of technology into a little package. Your desktop computer has several types of processors in it, including its graphics processing unit (GPU) and its central processor unit (CPU). In addition to this, it has memory and external buses. All of these pieces communicate with each other through the motherboard.
That’s too large for a smartphone, so engineers have developed chipsets that combine all of these components into a single unit. Engineers call this System-on-a-Chip technology. Your phone’s processor is the most important part of that chipset. Without it, nothing would work.
32-Bit Versus 64-Bit Processors
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When you look at most computers and smartphones, you will find that they use either 32-bit or 64-bit processors. If you’re like most people, you automatically realize that the 64-bit option sounds better. You also might not know why the 64-bit option is preferable.
The number of bits that your processor has describes how it can access your device’s memory. It may sound amazing, but a 64-bit processor is capable of accessing more than four billion times more memory than a 32-bit processor. Having a 64-bit processor essentially means that your phone can communicate with more of its physical memory (at a much faster speed) than versions with 32-bit processors.
If that still sounds confusing, just remember that the more bits you have, the more efficiently your smartphone can work.
The Number of Cores Matters
The processors that smartphone companies choose to put in their products ultimately determines how fast they can operate. The more powerful the processor is, the more work it can do in an extremely short amount of time.
There is more to speed than just bits, though. The number of cores also matters. From the perspective of a smartphone user, a core is nothing more than the part of the processor that can execute instructions. It’s the most active part of the processor, and that makes it vitally important.
Samsung includes a 64-bit Octa-Core processor in its Galaxy S6 Edge. This is one of the fastest processors currently available. Octa-core processors actually have two clusters of four-core processors. The first cluster is designed to perform the most work. It also uses significantly more power. The second cluster handles menial tasks that do not require much power.
By integrating these two clusters into the same processor, your smartphone can complete tasks without using more power than necessary. This means that you essentially get more work from your processor without draining your battery.
Unless you pursue a degree in engineering or computer science, you may never understand everything about how your smartphone’s processor works. That’s OK. You don’t need to know everything about it.
What’s important to understand is that some processors work faster and harder than others. Currently, a 64-bit processor with eight cores is the most advanced option you can buy. If you need help deciding which phone to buy, always go for the one with the better processor.