We've known for a while now that AMD plans to switch to a big.LITTLE hybrid processor architecture in the future, but we've seen very little about how this architecture will work. That changed this week, as patent filings from AMD have been unearthed, giving us our first glimpse at the new chip design.
As per the patent filed by AMD in December 2019 and spotted by Kepler, the chip manufacturer was developing a method to relocate a task being executed in a less-powerful core to another more capable core. AMD describes the method to relocate tasks in three steps: monitor metrics associated with the task; compare at least one of the monitored metrics of one core to the same metric of another core; relocate the task to a new core and execute it based on the results obtained from the comparison.
— Kepler (@Kepler_L2) June 12, 2021
Some metrics that define which core the processor will relocate the task to include a memory utilization metric, a core utilization metric, and the direct memory access (DMA) data rate.
AMD has yet to unveil chips featuring a hybrid architecture, but rumours suggest Strix Point APUs may be the first. According to these same rumours, the Strix Point APUs will feature Zen 5 and Zen 4D cores, but it's unclear which ones will be “big” and which will be “small”.
KitGuru says: AMD hasn't officially announced its first ‘hybrid' processor, but the Ryzen 8000 series could be the first to introduce this technology. Intel is also working on hybrid processors, so we're set for another big CPU face-off between Intel and AMD in the years ahead.