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John O | March 2018

ARM processors expected to beat the heat and add performance to Samsung DeX

By Josh Perry, Editor


A review by AndroidCentral of the newly-released version of DeX dock from Samsung, which runs Android software on a desktop computer, described a few issues from converting app software designed for phones to the larger screen of a laptop, but it also noted the potential for the system to improve in future iterations.


Because of better thermal management, ARM processors in laptops will add performance to Samsung’s DeX dock. (Wikimedia Commons)


The cause for optimism is the success that Chromebooks have had while running on ARM processors similar to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 that Samsung is using with DeX because, unlike in smartphone packages, the cooling systems are more robust to avoid throttling or even shutdown due to thermal concerns.


“Samsung has made the transition from a small screen to a larger screen fairly well, and on the software side, the usability issues are mostly an Android fault or an app fault because things were made for a smaller display,” the article explained. “A bigger issue is on the hardware side, and it turns out that even the best and fastest phone hardware can get pretty laggy and perform poorly when you try to scale it to the desktop.”


The suggestion is to monitor the power that processor requires for running DeX to avoid reaching the throttling threshold. As the article noted, inside a standard Snapdragon SoC (system on chip) the component-density is extremely high and the SoC can only withstand higher temperatures (around 80°C) for small stretches.


In comparing ARM processors running on phones and those running on laptops, the article added, “A Chromebook will always outperform a phone with the same hardware because a Chromebook can better handle the heat.”


With fewer space constraints inside a laptop package, engineers are capable of adding heat sinks, fans, and other cooling solutions that allow the ARM processor to work better for longer. As Samsung moves into different packaging, the expectation is that newer versions of DeX will be able to take advantage of the potential thermal management improvements to avoid issues of lag.


“Companies like Google use ARM chips in the servers that power the internet, companies like NVIDIA use ARM chips to process some insanely complicated machine vision and artificial intelligence applications, and on a small scale, things like your wireless router use an ARM chip because it's more power efficient when processing small bursts of data coming very quickly,” the article concluded, while dismissing some concerns in the industry about the effectiveness of ARM processors.


As long as the processors are packaged right and cooled properly, the review expects Samsung DeX to be a success.


Read the full article at https://www.androidcentral.com/why-arm-processor-chromebook-isnt-same-arm-processor-your-phone.

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