P-Cores vs E-Cores: A Deep Dive

September 21, 2023

P-Cores vs E-Cores: A Deep Dive

Summary: Hybrid CPUs can dynamically switch between the P-cores and E-cores depending on the workload, allowing you to get the best performance for your tasks and improved battery life while reducing heat generation.

  • Better performance for tasks that can be parallelized
  • Improved battery life
  • Reduced heat generation


In this background article we will explain P-Cores and E-Cores, their use cases, benefits without getting too technical. Although it is not a new concept and has been used by ARM in the previously, for x86 it is relatively new.

P-cores and E-cores are two different types of CPU cores that are used in hybrid CPU architectures. P-cores stand for performance cores and are designed for high-performance tasks, such as video editing, gaming, and 3D rendering. E-cores stand for efficiency cores and are designed for low-power tasks, such as web browsing, email, and office productivity.

Table 1: Key differences between P-cores and E-cores

FeatureP-coresE-cores
SizeLargerSmaller
Clock speedHigherLower
FeaturesMore (e.g., Hyper-Threading, larger caches)Fewer
Power consumptionHigherLower
PerformanceHigherLower

Why hybrid CPU architectures?

Traditional CPU architectures have always strived to achieve the best possible performance for all types of tasks. However, this can lead to a trade-off in power consumption. For example, a CPU that is designed to handle high-performance tasks will also consume more power, even when it is being used for low-power tasks.

Hybrid CPU architectures address this trade-off by using two different types of cores: P-cores and E-cores. P-cores are designed for high-performance tasks, while E-cores are designed for low-power tasks. This allows the CPU to dynamically switch between the two types of cores depending on the workload.

Benefits of hybrid CPU architectures

Hybrid CPU architectures offer a number of benefits over traditional CPU architectures, including:

  • Better performance: Hybrid CPU architectures can provide better performance than traditional CPU architectures for tasks that can be parallelized, such as video editing and gaming. This is because the P-cores can work together to process multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Improved battery life: Hybrid CPU architectures can improve battery life by offloading low-power tasks to the E-cores. This allows the P-cores to remain in a low-power state, which saves battery power.
  • Reduced heat generation: Hybrid CPU architectures can reduce heat generation by offloading low-power tasks to the E-cores. This is because the E-cores are more efficient than the P-cores and consume less power.

How do P-cores and E-cores work together?

Hybrid CPU architectures use a variety of techniques to manage the allocation of tasks to P-cores and E-cores. One common technique is to use a hardware scheduler. The hardware scheduler monitors the workload and dynamically switches tasks between the P-cores and E-cores based on their priority.

Another common technique is to use software-based thread scheduling. Software-based thread scheduling allows the operating system to explicitly assign tasks to P-cores or E-cores. This can be useful for tasks that require high performance or low power consumption.

Which CPUs use P-cores and E-cores?

Intel was the first company to release hybrid CPUs with its 12th generation Alder Lake processors. AMD is also expected to release hybrid CPUs in the near future with its Ryzen 7000 series processors.

Table 2: Examples of CPUs with P-cores and E-cores

CPUP-coresE-cores
Intel Core i5-13600K68
Intel Core i7-13700K88
Intel Core i9-13900K816
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X612
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X816
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X1632

 

When choosing a CPU with P-cores and E-cores, it is important to consider the type of workload that you will be using it for. If you are only using your computer for basic tasks such as web browsing and email, then a CPU with fewer cores may be sufficient for your needs. However, if you are using your computer for demanding tasks such as gaming, video editing, and 3D rendering, then you will need a CPU with more cores.

You should also consider the power consumption of the CPU. If you are using your computer on a mobile device, such as a laptop, then you will need a CPU with low power consumption. However, if you are using your computer as a desktop PC, then you may be able to afford to use a CPU with higher power consumption.

Conclusion

Hybrid CPU architectures offer a number of benefits over traditional CPU architectures, including better performance, improved battery life, and reduced heat generation. If you are looking for a new CPU, then you should consider a CPU with P-cores and E-cores.

Background Information


About AMD: AMD, a large player in the semiconductor industry is known for its powerful processors and graphic solutions, AMD has consistently pushed the boundaries of performance, efficiency, and user experience. With a customer-centric approach, the company has cultivated a reputation for delivering high-performance solutions that cater to the needs of gamers, professionals, and general users. AMD's Ryzen series of processors have redefined the landscape of desktop and laptop computing, offering impressive multi-core performance and competitive pricing that has challenged the dominance of its competitors. Complementing its processor expertise, AMD's Radeon graphics cards have also earned accolades for their efficiency and exceptional graphical capabilities, making them a favored choice among gamers and content creators. The company's commitment to innovation and technology continues to shape the client computing landscape, providing users with powerful tools to fuel their digital endeavors.

AMD Website: https://www.amd.com/
AMD LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/amd/

About ARM: ARM, originally known as Acorn RISC Machine, is a British semiconductor and software design company that specializes in creating energy-efficient microprocessors, system-on-chip (SoC) designs, and related technologies. Founded in 1990, ARM has become a important player in the global semiconductor industry and is widely recognized for its contributions to mobile computing, embedded systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. ARM's microprocessor designs are based on the Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) architecture, which prioritizes simplicity and efficiency in instruction execution. This approach has enabled ARM to produce highly efficient and power-saving processors that are used in a vast array of devices, ranging from smartphones and tablets to IoT devices, smart TVs, and more. The company does not manufacture its own chips but licenses its processor designs and intellectual property to a wide range of manufacturers, including Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, and NVIDIA, who then integrate ARM's technology into their own SoCs. This licensing model has contributed to ARM's widespread adoption and influence across various industries.

ARM Website: https://www.arm.com/
ARM LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arm

About Intel: Intel Corporation, a global technology leader, is for its semiconductor innovations that power computing and communication devices worldwide. As a pioneer in microprocessor technology, Intel has left an indelible mark on the evolution of computing with its processors that drive everything from PCs to data centers and beyond. With a history of advancements, Intel's relentless pursuit of innovation continues to shape the digital landscape, offering solutions that empower businesses and individuals to achieve new levels of productivity and connectivity.

Intel Website: https://www.intel.com/
Intel LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/intel-corporation/

Technology Explained


CPU: The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the brain of a computer, responsible for executing instructions and performing calculations. It is the most important component of a computer system, as it is responsible for controlling all other components. CPUs are used in a wide range of applications, from desktop computers to mobile devices, gaming consoles, and even supercomputers. CPUs are used to process data, execute instructions, and control the flow of information within a computer system. They are also used to control the input and output of data, as well as to store and retrieve data from memory. CPUs are essential for the functioning of any computer system, and their applications in the computer industry are vast.


E-Cores: E-Cores (Efficiency Cores) are a type of technology used in the computer industry to provide a more efficient and reliable way of powering and cooling computer components. They are made up of a combination of copper and aluminum, and are designed to be more efficient than traditional copper cores. E-Cores are used in a variety of applications, such as in CPUs, GPUs, and other computer components. They are also used in servers, laptops, and other electronic devices. The technology is designed to reduce heat and power consumption, while also providing a more reliable and efficient way of powering and cooling computer components.


P-Cores: P-Cores (Performance Cores) are a type of processor technology developed by Intel that is designed to improve the performance of computer systems. This technology is based on the concept of multi-core processors, which are processors that contain multiple cores or processing units. P-Cores are designed to increase the speed and efficiency of computer systems by allowing multiple cores to work together in parallel. This technology is used in a variety of applications, including gaming, video editing, and data analysis. P-Cores are also used in servers and other high-performance computing systems. The technology is also used in mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to improve battery life and performance. P-Cores are an important part of the computer industry, as they allow for faster and more efficient computing.



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