Google’s Tensor SoC Might Arrive With Two X1 Cores: A Good Decision Or An Overkill?

What is this eerie "Core" combination leading the Pixel 6 Pro to?


With the Pixel 6 series launching next month, Google’s all set to showcase its Tensor hardware, turning the statement “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware” into a reality.

Although not many details about the phone or the Tensor SoC have been revealed yet, XDA Editor-in-chief Mishal Rahmaan claims that Google’s new SoC will have not one but two Cortex-X1 high-performance cores.

Two X1 Cores: An Overkill?

For those new to the smartphone world, a typical flagship smartphone of today’s comes with the latest and greatest processor from Qualcomm, Samsung, and Mediatek. Most of the SoC’s manufactured by these companies are octa-core processors with one “Prime core” (the highest performing core), three high-performance cores, and four power-efficient cores.

If you want to know more about the recent architecture that Qualcomm has adopted, check out our Snapdragon 888 VS Snapdragon 898 article.

The “Core” Knowledge

As per the XDA article, the Google Tensor will arrive with two X1 cores, two Cortex-A76 cores, and four Cortex-A55 cores. This is a baffling and weird combination. Let’s leave the X1 cores at the side for a second and talk about the other six cores.

Cortex X1

The Cortex-A55 is a four-year-old, and the A76 is a three-year-old cortex core. These have already been superseded by the Cortex-A57 and the Cortex-A78. You might think that “Maybe, the older the cores, the more power efficient the phone will be.” But it’s the opposite.

Two Cortex-X1 cores clocked at their maximum clock speed (3.0GHz) would result in a battery nightmare. But we have seen Apple underclocking its A13 Bionic for better battery life and typical “Apple reasons.” Google might end up underclocking the two X1 Cores significantly, right?

cortex a76

But, remember the Cortex-A76 and Cortex-A55 cores that we talked about? If Google underclocks the X1 cores, that won’t help as the A76 and A55 are old. A Geekbench listing revealed the single-core and multi-core scores of the Pixel 6 Pro, where it scored 414 and 2074, respectively, making it a below-average performer compared to Samsung’s S21 series with Exynos 2100. The XDA team found this benchmark to be legitimate.

Pixel 6 Pro Geekbench

The scores suggest that Google might underlock its cores and get its software to do magic behind the scenes, improving performance and battery life. However, some software optimizations can be done. So, it’ll be pretty interesting to see what the giant does here.

The End Result

Finally, the XDA article also shares what we might be looking at in Tensor SoC. And here’s what the folks think.

  • 2x ARM Cortex-X1 clocked at 2.802GHz (Original, Per-core clock speed ~ 3.0GHz)
  • 2x ARM Cortex-A76 clocked at 2.253GHz (Original Clock speed ~ 3.0GHz)
  • 4x ARM Cortex-A55 clocked at 1.80GHz

What are your thoughts on the Tensor SoC? What do you think Google’s plans could be? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a Linux and Tech Writer. Hailing from a Computer Science background, the start of his love for Tech dates back to 2011, when he was gifted a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Tech, you'll find him binge-watching anime and Tech content on YouTube or hunting heads in competitive FPS games. You can also find his work on Android Police and How-To Geek.
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