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More cores isn't al­ways bet­ter. Kryo is Qual­comm's first cus­tom-de­signed 64-bit CPU core that has been en­gi­neered ex­pressly to work with the other el­e­ments of the SoC, and the Snap­dragon 820 has four of these.

They are split into two dual-core clus­ters that are op­ti­mized to op­er­ate at dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cies and power lev­els. The two cores in the lower power clus­ter op­er­ate up to 1.6GHz and share a 512KB L2 cache, while the other two in the high-per­for­mance clus­ter can go up to 2.2GHz and share a larger 1MB L2 cache.

The ben­e­fit of a dual-clus­ter de­sign like this is that they can split work­loads ac­cord­ing to how de­mand­ing they are. So if the phone was run­ning low-in­ten­sity tasks like web brows­ing or tex­ting, the low-power clus­ter would fire up. But launch a graph­i­cally-in­ten­sive game, and the per­for­mance-ori­ented clus­ter would take over. The over­all re­sult of this is lower con­sump­tion and bet­ter bat­tery life.

Fur­ther­more, Kryo is based on Sam­sung's ef­fi­cient 14nm Low Power Plus FinFET process, so over­heat­ing is­sues should be a thing of the past.

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