Which is the best embedded multicore processing chip? Let me start by way of analogy.


Suppose you are the owner of a car dealership. One day a customer comes in who wants to buy “the best” car on your lot. Smiling, you begin asking questions. One thing you know from experience is that there is no one “best car.” Some customers are looking for no-frills while others want luxury. Customers wanting highest levels of fuel efficiency are only satisfied with hybrid vehicles. When it comes to “performance,” “best” can mean the fastest time from zero to sixty, or the highest towing capacity. Asking the right questions is tantamount to matching a car with each potential driver.


The same is true of processor chips. Unfortunately, there is no “best” for all applications. Power consumption, integration, cost, and performance characteristics all come into play. Likewise, application structure, programming model and scalability could also be factors. What is best for your application might not be right for mine.


Why then, do we gravitate immediately to the number of processor cores? Assuming that more cores are better is a lot like insisting that a V12 engine is always better than a four cylinder. It’s exciting, but it just isn’t so. Let’s take a break from core counting for a moment and get back to asking questions more relevant to embedded computing. I for one know of several applications that would benefit from something other than ever increasing cores. I suspect you do, too.