The Tablet Conundrum – Part 8 - Geek Guru
 

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The Tablet Conundrum – Part 8

 

At the heart of every device is a chip which contains its processor. They vary in speed and functions but nearly all tablets use a similar type. Read on to find out more about tablet processors.

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You may or may not have heard them mentioned before, but sometimes the manufacturer of a tablet will include the name of the device’s chip on advertisements. Nvidia’s Tegra, Samsung’s Exynos, Apple’s A series (A6, A7 etc), Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, and MediaTek – all of these chips have one thing in common. Their actual internal processors are all built on the same ARM (or ARMv8-A) architecture. For comparison, most common PC processors use x86 or x86-64 architecture. Architecture is the term used to describe a set of instructions – so all of these tablet processors use a similar set of instructions to get the job done.

The term “Chip” is used instead of processor, because often in tablets and other small devices, there is more inside the chip than just the processor itself. Other features such as a graphics processor, RAM, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS can be included inside the chip itself. This is known as SoC (System on Chip) – Hence the use of the word “Chip” to describe it.

This type of chip is used because it has been developed specially to consume less power, produce less heat and be cheaper to manufacture – three great qualities that are highly desirable to manufacturers. It uses less complex instructions than the standard PC processor, but for the most part this isn’t an issue. Where more processing power is required, manufacturers have included multiple processing cores. This of course requires more power, but the constant development of both processor and battery technology means we’re provided with consistently faster, more efficient gadgets.

So what does this really mean for us as consumers? Well, generally, the more cores or the higher the processor speed, the faster and better your device will perform. Some multi-core chips like the Nvidia’s Tegra are designed to let the device run on the lower-power, more efficient core when idle or doing only simple tasks, which means your battery will last longer.

The more powerful the processor, the more you can do with the tablet. If you need a tablet for complex tasks and large data files, you’re going to want one with a fast processor and as much RAM as possible. If the most you’ll be doing on it is watching videos, checking email and browsing, you can choose one with lower performance, which will be cheaper.

Even if you don’t have a use for the power of a mid or high-end tablet, we would always recommend getting one that’s slightly more powerful than you currently need if it’s within budget. This means it’ll be usable for longer, before becoming obsolete. This also leaves room for you to do more with the tablet, should you choose to.

Most chips have “performance” and “power saving” modes – it’s just a case of choosing one. Generally speaking, the most powerful tablets are the most expensive ones. When it comes to individual models, review sites and discussion forums can often give a good idea of the performance and battery life of a product. If you’re in doubt, or just want a friendly pointer, though, Geek Guru are always here to help!

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Next time in our blog we’ll be looking at WiFi, GPS, NFC and Wi-Fi Direct.

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If you’d like more help, advice or information on choosing a tablet, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted on by Emily
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