Now, this would not be the first time that Google designed its own chipset. As it does design its own chips for its servers for Google Cloud. But for smartphones, this would be a first for Google. Apple has been designing its own chipsets for all of its products for nearly a decade. And just moved its own chipsets over to the Mac last year, with great success. And now Google is looking to do the same.
Google is getting ready to take a page out of Apple’s own book, as it prepares to launch the Pixel 6 with its own chipset that was made in-house.
So far, Google has not confirmed its own chipset, which we expect to be under the name “Google Silicon” with a model number of “GS101” – that’s where the “Google Silicon” name comes from. And we also expect it to launch in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro later this year. So here’s everything you need to know about Google Silicon and its first smartphone chipset.
google whitechapel GS101 chipset everything you need to know
What is Google Silicon?
Google Silicon is actually just a rumored name at this point. We don’t know if that is what the chipset will be called or not. But given the name we’ve seen for the first chipset, it seems likely.
Essentially, it’ll be made up of chipsets that Google makes in-house. And as mentioned already, this would not be the first chipset that Google has made in-house. It has dabbled in smartphone chips with the Pixel Visual Core and the Titan M security module. In addition to making chipsets for its own servers that are used around the world.
While the GS101, which is codenamed “Whitechapel” would be the first smartphone chipset, it likely won’t be the last. And we could see Google making chipsets for other products too. Like the Pixel Buds, Fitbits and even Nest products.
How powerful will the Google Silicon GS101 be?
This is just pure speculation right now, but we expect it to be similar to the Snapdragon 780 chipset. That’s not the latest and greatest silicon from Qualcomm, but Google doesn’t need the latest and greatest. Since Google will be able to control every part of the experience, from the hardware to the software, it can really optimize the Pixel 6 to work with the Google Silicon GS101, and make it even more powerful than you’d expect.
Just take a look at Apple with the iPhone. The iPhone just moved to a six-core chipset last year with the A14 Bionic. Previously it used a quad-core chipset and even stuck with dual-core for a long time. While still outperforming the latest and greatest eight- and even ten-core chipsets from Qualcomm and MediaTek. And that comes down to optimizing the software running on that processor. Which Google can do since it also develops Android, as well as the Pixel experience. Advertisement
Of course, we won’t know for sure until we have a device in-hand that has the GS101 inside.
According to leaks that we have seen, the GS101 will be a tri-cluster design, with three distinct cores. That’s pretty common in the industry actually. We’re expecting to see two Cortex-A78 cores, two Cortex-A76 cores and four Cortex-A55 cores. The four A55 cores will be used for lighter tasks, and in standby. While the A76 cores will be used for high-intensity tasks, reserving the A78 for the most powerful tasks like gaming. Then on the GPU side of things, we’re expecting to see an ARM Mali GPU. Nothing special here, but ARM’s GPU’s have been pretty impressive in the past few years.
Sure, it won’t be the most impressive chipset on the market, mostly because it won’t be using the Cortex-X1 cores that the Snapdragon 888 has. But for most users, that’s not necessary. And the GS101 will have plenty of performance for Pixel 6 users. Google is expected to have Samsung manufacture the chipset. Which could be why we’ve seen Google and Samsung working closer together on Samsung’s products in the past year. It’ll be fabricated on a 5nm node. Don’t forget that Google’s focus is on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, so performance for those will be more important than raw performance. Which is why they are not targeting the Snapdragon 888, but something a bit slower.
Here are the specs that are currently available for the GS101 or Whitechapel chipset. These are subject to change and won’t be official until the Pixel 6 is announced. Advertisement
Process Technology 5nm FinFET (Samsung)
CPU cores 2x 2.8GHz Cortex-A78
2x 2.6GHz Cortex-A76
4x 2.0GHz Cortex-A55
GPU 14-core Mali-G78
AI & ML in-house NPU
5G modem Samsung’s in-house 5G Modem
or Snapdragon X55 5G Modem
Additional Chips Titan M Security Chip (codenamed ‘Dauntless’)
Pixel Visual Core
Pixel Neural Core
Display help Up to 120Hz full HD+
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