Google Tensor chipset announced with barely any official details

Vlad, 19 October 2021

Now that the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are finally fully official after months of controlled leaks and teasers, Google has also issued a blog post purportedly talking about its Tensor chipset, which is powering the two new phones.

The company isn't at all interested in letting us in on any details of the SoC, however. There are literally zero specs in its entire 18-paragraph post, but thanks to Engadget we found out that we're dealing with a chip built on a 5nm process, with a CPU that has a tri-cluster architecture, with two big ARM Cortex-X1 cores running at up to 2.8 GHz.

Google Tensor chipset announced again, with barely any additional details

That's an extra X1 core compared to the likes of the Snapdragon 888, although Qualcomm's lone X1 core is clocked slightly higher. Moving on, the Tensor's CPU also has two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at up to 2.25 GHz, as well as four Cortex-A55 cores running at up to 1.8 GHz. Tensor also features an ARM Mali-G78 GPU, although we have no official information on how many cores it has - rumor has it it's 20, and that would be something.

What Google does say is that Tensor was co-designed with Google Research, which allowed it to build an AI/ML platform that's fit for the future. Tensor unlocks "new experiences that require state of the art ML", like Motion Mode, Face Unblur, Speech enhancement mode for videos, and applying HDRnet to videos (at up to 4K60).

Tensor uses the most accurate automatic speech recognition ever released by Google, and for the first time a high-qualuty model can be used even for long-running apps like Recorder or Live Caption without quickly draining the battery. Tensor also powers the Live Translate feature on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, and chat apps like Messages and WhatsApp will allow for direct translations. Live Translate also works on media like videos with on-device speech and translation models. The new on-device neural machine translation model uses less than half the power on Tensor.

Google Tensor chipset announced again, with barely any additional details

Thanks to Tensor, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro should also have more accurate face detection in photos and videos, locating and focusing on your subject quicker. Together with the Titan M2, the Tensor security core and TrustZone running Trusty OS, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have the most layers of hardware security in any phone, Google boasts.

The Tensor security core is a new CPU-based subsystem that works with the Titan M2 security chip to protect your sensitive user data. Independent security lab testing showed that Titan M2 can withstand attacks like electromagnetic analysis, voltage glitching and even laser fault injection.


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Reader comments

That is exactly what I think. They would also have the option to use the 2 X1 cores only rarely for short bursts which means the SOC will rely in most of the tasks on the 2 A76 cores and small cores. But this means performance of the Snapdragon 765 l...

  • Anonymous

Since its designed and made by Samsung on Exynos lineup, it will be a disaster in battery consumption.

There's some GB scores already: 1029 / 2742 https://browser.geekbench.com/v5/cpu/10489746 Quite disappointed tbh, but maaaaaaaybe it will be slightly more efficient than 888 (doubt it will reach 865 efficiency tho)

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