sexta-feira, 3 de junho de 2016

Otimizando desempenho e bateria em um smartphone - MediaTek Corepilot

Costumo dizer que as pessoas hoje em dia quando avaliam a autonomia de bateria de um smartphone têm sido por demais cruéis e até injustas. Pense nos seus próprios hábitos de uso de um dispositivo móvel. A quantidade de tarefas e operações que você faz hoje é a mesma (quantidade e abrangência)? Com toda certeza não é! Até algum tempo atrás o Brasil vendia menos smartphones do que telefones comuns (chamados de “feature phones”). Com a popularização da tecnologia smartphone virou predominante, mas além disso um imenso número de aplicativos passaram a integrar a rotina do dia a dia para milhões de brasileiros. Há quem nem use mais regulamente os computadores de mesa ou notebooks, apenas seu aparelho móvel.

Por isso o que se conseguia em termos de autonomia de bateria há 3 ou 4 anos não teria como ser repetido hoje, pois os telefones estão bem mais finos, mais leves, em alguns casos cresceram de tamanho (que implica em maior consumo com a tela). E os usuários anseiam e precisam de 12, 14 ou 16 horas de smartphone sem ser conectado a um carregador. Telas maiores, dispositivos mais rápidos, mais finos (menores baterias), usados mais intensamente, mais aplicativos... é uma equação de difícil solução.

Obviamente os fabricantes de componentes e dos próprios smartphones têm trabalhado incansavelmente nisso. Os SoCs (System on Chip), a base de um smartphone (equivalentes à placa mãe e processador dos computadores convencionais) estão evoluindo muito, bem como os diversos componentes de software dos próprios aparelhos, aperfeiçoados pelos fabricantes. Todos trabalhando na mesma direção.

Um destes grandes fabricantes de SoC é a MediaTek, solução que vai embarcada em um bom número de dispositivos do mercado. Eles desenvolveram uma tecnologia que considero extremamente interessante visando conciliar a necessidade de desempenho com economia de energia (bateria). A propósito, recebi deste fabricante um artigo extremamente interessante que detalha a solução que eles desenvolveram visando conciliar o que parece ser inconciliável! O texto na íntegra está replicado abaixo. Mas quero tecer alguns comentários, que espero estimule o leitor a mergulhar neste interessante texto da MediaTek.

Nós temos experiência no mundo dos computadores, no qual um processador tem 2, 4, 6, 8 ou até mais núcleos de trabalho. Por definição estes vários núcleos são todos exatamente iguais. Alguns programas podem demandar 1, 2 ou mais núcleos (ou todos) se a necessidade de processamento for extrema.

Mas a MediaTek percebeu que no universo dos smartphones a necessidade é diferente. Ela criou uma solução com 10 núcleos de processamento dos quais 2 têm desempenho extremo (2.5 Ghz), 4 têm desempenho intermediário (2.0 GHz) e 4 têm desempenho mais modesto (1.4 Ghz). Mas uma central de gerenciamento chamada Corepilot faz a distribuição das tarefas em um ou mais processadores (ou todos), de acordo com a necessidade. Você que está lendo já percebeu o benefício, somente o recurso necessário será utilizado a cada momento.

Se apenas a tela está sendo exibida, unicamente um núcleo de baixo desempenho estará em uso. Se o aplicativo de navegação em tempo real WAZE estiver sendo executado, possivelmente os dois núcleos mais poderosos estarão alocados. Conforme mais aplicativos são acionados, eles vão sendo distribuídos nos núcleos mais adequados. Por fim, quando o smartphone estiver em standby, uma mínima fração do núcleo mais fraco estará sendo usado, com grande reflexo na economia.

Quem faz esta incrível orquestração de tarefas no SoC é uma tecnologia chamada Corepilot que segundo a MediaTek tem como analogia o ato de escolher a marcha do automóvel mais adequada a cada momento em função da força necessária, seja para acelerar rapidamente em alta velocidade ou vencer uma íngreme subida.

O texto abaixo conta melhor essa história, entra em alguns detalhes mais técnicos, mas ainda assim é de ótima leitura e de muito simples compreensão. Fica o convite para continuar a leitura do conteúdo abaixo, de autoria da MidiaTek.





Alto desempenho de smartphones e consumo
de energia em uma equação bem resolvida



Os primeiros smartphones com os chipsets de alto desempenho Helio X20 estão chegando e deverão estar disponíveis para o consumidor brasileiro já no segundo semestre. Uma das principais características inovadoras desse chipset é a sua capacidade de oferecer uma redução de até 30% de consumo de bateria comparando aos chipsets que adotam a arquitetura convencional dual-cluster.

Há uma forte tendência dos consumidores por escolher aparelhos de formatos mais finos e com telas maiores – de 5 polegadas ou mais. “Quando se alia essa demanda a uma maior necessidade de capacidade de processamento para poder usufruir de jogos, vídeos e aplicativos mais sofisticados, coloca-se um grande desafio para a indústria que é o de fabricar dispositivos móveis com alta eficiência térmica e energética”, observa Samir Vani, gerente sênior de Vendas Corporativas da MediaTek para a América Latina. “Ninguém quer ficar recarregando o seu smartphone várias vezes por dia”, explica ele.      

A tecnologia que a MediaTek entrega a seus clientes resolveu esse desafio por meio da arquitetura multinúcleos e do algoritmo de scheduling CorePilot. No caso do Helio X20, o chipset possui 10 núcleos com arquitetura Tri-Cluster, sendo administrado pela versão avançada do algoritmo, o Corepilot 3.0. Essa arquitetura e o algoritmo são os elementos-chave para a redução do consumo de energia.    

Arquitetura Tri-Cluster

Para entender como o Corepilot® 3.0 funciona é preciso explicar, antes, a arquitetura Tri-Cluster, que parte do princípio de que o consumidor não demanda a performance máxima de seu celular durante o dia todo, mas ao contrário, em boa parte do tempo, mantém seu aparelho parado ou o utiliza para atividades muito simples que requerem apenas um processamento básico, como atender chamadas e mandar mensagens. No X20, a Tri-Cluster consiste de um grupo de dois núcleos ARM Cortex-A72 (rodando a 2.5GHz para desempenhos extremos) e dois clusters de quatro núcleos ARM Cortex-A53 (um rodando a 2.0GHz para cargas médias e outro rodando a 1.4GHz para atividades leves).
O gerenciamento desses núcleos é feito pelo CorePilot de forma semelhante a de um motor de um carro, que faz uso de sua potência de forma diferente no plano e nas diferentes subidas ou nas variações de tráfego. Ao dividir os núcleos em 3 clusters, que são ativados conforme a demanda, o chipset aloca mais eficiência para as tarefas que são realizadas com ótima performance e menos para as mais básicas. Como o consumo energético é proporcional ao esforço, consegue-se a economia de energia e, consequentemente, maior duração para a bateria.
“Não adianta ter um motor superpotente, no momento em eu que estiver preso no trânsito, para o qual um outro de baixa potência seria suficiente. Logo, o desafio não é apenas entregar a maior potência, mas como gerenciá-la eficientemente, liberando-a de acordo com as demandas variáveis do cotidiano, o que preserva energia”, comenta Vani.   


CorePilot, tecnologia e atuação

O que permite ao CorePilot 3.0 atribuir e mover as tarefas das aplicações de forma dinâmica e inteligente entre os núcleos disponíveis, dependendo dos requisitos de desempenho, é a tecnologia de computação heterogênea ou multiprocessamento heterogêneo que utiliza.  Para gerenciar o chipset, o algoritmo programa as tarefas de todas as CPUs e GPUs, enquanto faz a gestão da energia e dos efeitos térmicos para que a performance extrema possa ser alcançada gerando menor aquecimento.   


Outra atuação do CorePilot é a de melhorar a forma como os componentes interagem e as tarefas os papéis e são atribuídos no chipset. Na prática, dessa forma, possibilita ao consumidor desfrutar de mais horas de jogo, chamadas ou vídeo.       

Sobre a MediaTek

Desde 1997, a MediaTek tem sido uma empresa pioneira de semicondutores e líder de mercado em chipsets de ponta para comunicação sem fio e conectividade, HDTV, DVD e Blu-ray. Seu design inovador de chips, fortemente integrado, ajuda os fabricantes a otimimizar as cadeias de logística, reduz o tempo de desenvolvimento de novos produtos, e oferece  vantagem competitiva na disputa por mercados. Através do MediaTek Labs, a empresa também está construindo um hub desenvolvedor para apoiar a criação de dispositivos, desenvolvimento de aplicativos e serviços para a Era da Internet das Coisas. Pela construção de tecnologias que ajudam os indivíduos a se conectar ao mundo à sua volta, a MediaTek está possibilitando às  pessoas expandir seus horizontes e atingir seus objetivos mais facilmente. Nós acreditamos que qualquer um possa conseguir algo incrível, todos os dias. Chamamos essa ideia que conduz tudo o que fazemos de Everyday Genius.


Visite www.mediatek.com para mais informações. 

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