MediaTek has released more details of an upcoming 10-core SoC [anandtech.com]:
MediaTek first unveiled the Helio X30—its next-generation high-end SoC—last fall, but today at Mobile World Congress the Taiwanese company announced its commercial availability. The Helio X30 is entering mass production and should make its debut inside a mobile device sometime in Q2 2017.
The Helio X30, like the Helio X20 family [anandtech.com] before it, incorporates 10 CPU cores arranged in a Max.Mid.Min tri-cluster configuration. Two of ARM's latest A73 CPU cores replace the two A72s in the Max cluster, which should improve performance and reduce power consumption. The Mid cluster still uses 4 A53 cores, but they receive a 10% frequency boost relative to the top-of-the-line Helio X27. In the X30's Min cluster we find the first implementation of ARM's most-efficient A-series core. The A35 consumes 32% less power than the A53 it replaces (same process/frequency), while delivering 80%-100% of the performance, according to ARM. With a higher peak frequency of 1.9GHz, the X30's A35 cores should deliver about the same or better performance than the X20's A53 cores and still consume less power.
While some smartphone SoCs like the X30 are a bit of an exception due to cluster configurations, there are going to be many CPUs with 8+ cores sold in 2017. Some examples that come to mind: AMD's Ryzen 7 desktop CPUs, the AMD APUs in the Xbox One, PS4, and PS4 Pro (with 7 cores usable in these consoles), and other smartphone SoCs like the Exynos 7 Octa 7880, which uses equivalent cores rather than clusters. Will games and popular applications be able to exploit this newfound glut of cores?