back to article Researchers propose ‘overclock’ scheme for mobiles

It’s getting increasingly difficult to pack enough processing power into mobile phone form factors, so US researchers are proposing a new scheme: seriously over-spec the processors, but only use their power when it’s needed. The research paper, authored by scientists from the Universities of Pennsylvania and Michigan, suggests …


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  1. Donald Becker

    Amusingly, this story appeared adjacent to an ad for the Tegra 3 based Transformer Prime.

    For those that don't know, the Tegra 3 has "a knob that goes to 5". It runs on a slow, efficient low-voltage core while mostly idle, and turns on up to four much faster cores as needed. It already uses every technique suggested in this summary, and many others.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A knob that goes to 5 what?


    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      re Tegra

      Indeed, the story did remind me of what I had read of the Tegra's use of its 5th core, and of Intel's 'thermal capacitance, but of a far greater logical progression of these tricks (most of many capable cores sat at close to ambient temperature most of the time, so each can be over-clocked aggressively) becoming the norm for mobile devices... In what ways will this affect OS and application development?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >short bursts of intense copulation punctuated by long idle periods waiting for user input

    There fixed for you. You mean you weren't referring to my lovelife ?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Since these are smartphone apps we're talking about, "short bursts of intense masturbation" might be more appropriate.

      Really, did no one think of the simpler solution: don't run resource-hungry applications on machines that aren't suited for them?

  3. BrowserUk


    Perhaps: "Long periods of utter boredom interspersed with short periods of abject terror".

    To understand see:

    It's a long and difficult read and you will probably regret starting many times before you finish. But if you make it to the end, you'll be -- not glad -- but, you won't regret it.

    1. Ru


      There's a parody of the same quote... goes something along the lines of 'short periods of abject terror followed by long periods of being dead'. Possibly that one was courtesy of Spike Milligan.

  4. James 51

    There's a long running discussion on the forums about how over clocking a phone CPU can improve battery life with race to idle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      From a processor standpoint how is this any different

      ...than the turbo/burst modes in Intel and AMD chips?

      Not sure I understand the point of discussing this one aspect of power optimization without mentioning the Tegra 3's companion core, or the big/little scheme ARM is developing. Lots of ways to crack this egg, but the most effective approach will most likely be a combination.

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Flawed premise

    "It’s getting increasingly difficult to pack enough processing power into mobile phone form factors..."

    What? So unless we do something quickly the phones of tomorrow will be completely unusable even if they are built exactly the same way because they are somehow losing processing power?

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Flawed premise

      Exactly! - the answer of course is to use smaller electrons! I always keep a battery in the 'fridge for long phone calls and have found remarkable increases in phone life when using the thermally smaller electrons.

      I've been selling these "ultra-cold" batteries on the Internet for a while - and making a tidy packet from them ...

  6. Craig 8

    This is not news

    Symbian was working on this 5 or 6 years ago. The cost of the SoC is the only problem.

  7. Iain Leadley

    Novel suggestion

    They could always make the code more efficient.

    1. Ru


      Increased demand for complex UI frippery, combined with decreased desire in coders to use good old-fashioned manly programming languages like C mean that we're basically all doomed to an eternity of ever increasing compute power without increasing performance, ever shortening battery lives and yet more girly creampuff managed memory virtual machine based languages.

      It was already too late with the advent of series 60. Dooooomed, I tell you.

  8. Colin Millar

    So where's the overclocking?

    This ain't overclocking. It's just carrying spare capacity.

  9. RcR

    Cave dwellers in PA

    Well, duh...

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