QuadCore – Android head unit processors

The word quadcore and its derivatives like quad-core and 4-core are used extensively in the language of android headunits. We will explain what the different versions of the quadcore names mean and how they affect the android headunit operation.

Quadcore Answers

No. There are no very fast quadcore based processors in an android headunit

No. The quadcore based android headunits are disappointingly slow and often lack the necessary RAM to run quickly.

No. Quadcores are not bad. They are just not suited to powering an android headunit due to their low computational power. The Quadcores are good at running battery powered devices and low power boxes like satnavs, IoT devices and other low demand products.

Quadcore meaning

The name quadcore refers to the number of ARM Cortex cores in a single processor.

A Quadcore, quad-core or 4-core processor (SoC) has 4 ARM cortex cores in the silicon chip.

ARM Cores

ARM Cortex cores are the processing power in the processing chips. There are different versions of the ARM Cortex designed over the years and improvements in terms of speed and power consumption are made. Different graphics chips can be employed and co-processors can be included. One Quadcore can have one type of ARM core used for its 4 cores and a different Quadcore could have a different generation of ARM cores utilised. This would lead to two Quadcores having very different performance characteristics.

4 Cores

In order to make processors faster the GHz reaches a maximum that can’t be exceeded reliably. The solution is to make more cores in one chip. Instead for impossibly doubling the processor speed (GHz), the number of cores can be doubled, easily. The doubling of cores improves the processing speed. Multiplying the cores by 4 makes a huge leap. A quadcore has 4 processing cores in one chip. This quadcore technology was a giant leap in 2013 and unlocked the doors to quick (in 2014, android 4.4 terms) handheld, in-car and IoT devices.

Only 4 Cores

The QuadCore designs have one overriding limiting factor. They only have 4 cores. In the improvements in ARM Cortex core design, each next generation quadcore is faster than the previous, but it can’t compete with the generation of 6 and 8 core processor designs.

Typically the quadcore processors are designed for low power devices like set top boxes, the amazon fire stick, sat-navs and the Raspberry Pi. The android headunits need the power of a modern phone because they run the same operating system and use the same apps. Quadcores are not designed to and don’t run modern android. A Quad-Core reporting android 10 is a fakery. Modern phones have high speed, 6 and 8 core processors.

Quad-Core Limited RAM

Because the Quad-Cores are designed for low power and low speed, cheap devices the amount of RAM is not important in these devices. The QuadCores, by design are often limited to a maximum of 2Gb RAM. This low level of RAM is not enough for a modern android expectation. The android headunit needs more than the 2Gb to run well.

Bring on more cores

How do you make the quad-core quicker?
That would be by adding more cores. Double the 4-cores to 8-cores and you no longer have a quadcore. The 8 cores becomes an octacore and that can run much more quickly than the 4-core can.

The Quadcores can’t compete on speed with the hexacore (6 core) or octacore (8 core) designs. Having more cores makes the processor more powerful and faster to run android and the apps. Only 4 cores is not up to the modern specifications for android headunits that demand more processing power.

Avoid the 4 core

Avoiding all the 4 Core processors fitted when looking for an android headunit will help avoid the fakery and the disappointment with the poor performance of its processor (SoC). The cheapest of the cheap headunits are all quadcore based. Even some of the more expensive ones are 4-core powered and these are not recommended for use in an android head unit.

An android-headunits.com staff blogger. I am a multi-skilled dogs-body and I also make the coffee ☕

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