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As far as I understand:

  • CPUs can change their frequencies relatively quickly, which can be used for performance-power tradeoff based on load and priorities.
  • big.LITTLE goes further – you can switch between powerful and energy-efficient cores in order to save more energy than underclocking allows you. Those cores vary by architecture, otherwise it would not make much sense. Usually, there is a mix of powerful cores with out-of-order execution and energy-efficient cores with in-order execution.

However, according to GSMArena, Nokia 7 plus has the following CPU:

4x2.2 GHz Kryo 260 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 260

That is, you have eight cores of the same type, but four of them can go up to 2.2 GHz, while other four of them can go up just to 1.8 GHz.

I believe we cannot use the same justification as for big.LITTLE. Instead of switching the cores, we could just scale the core's frequency.

Also, if the upper frequency is fixed (that is, if there are four physical cores that never go beyond 1.8 GHz), it implies uneven distribution of load and heat generation.

2

I think you are mistaking the "Kryo" brand from Qualcomm from being different than just a customized version of ARM big.LITTLE.

As stated in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660/630 announcement article from Anandtech:

Snapdragon 660’s Kryo 260 CPU uses four semi-custom Cortex-A73 cores in the “performance” cluster and four semi-custom Cortex-A53 cores in the “efficiency” cluster in a big.LITTLE arrangement. The Kryo 260, however, does not hit the same peak frequencies as Kryo 280, and Kryo 260 uses 1MB/1MB of shared L2 per cluster instead of 2MB/1MB of L2 for Kryo 280.

The confusion probably is from the fact that while there are 2x2 sets of CPU cores on the chipset, Qualcomm's branding the package of the 2 "performance" and 2 "efficiency" cores as the Kryo CPU. The obfuscation is probably due to Qualcomm emphasizing their customization trying to differentiate from ARM's reference big.LITTLE A73/A53 CPU core set.

Honestly while GSM Arena is a good starting point, if there is confusion/conflict further research should be done.

  • It is 2*4 cores, not 2*2, but that's a minor thing. According to Wikipedia and Anandtech, Kryo 260 is a line of CPUs, so you actually have Kryo 260 Efficiency, Kryo 260 Performance and Kryo 260 Gold, but those are actually various architectures. However, Qualcomm's page qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon-660-mobile-platform does not make it clear if Kryo 260 refers to a CPU core or whole CPU. They mention “Powerful Kryo CPU” (suggesting whole CPU) and “CPU Cores: Qualcomm® Kryo™ 260 CPU, Octa-core CPU” (suggesting eight equal CPU cores). Ugh. – v6ak Oct 7 at 7:15
  • Well, I meant, according to Wikipedia and Anandtech, Kryo 260 is a line of CPU cores. – v6ak Oct 7 at 10:16

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