The CPU-Central Processing Unit of a device is the core driver, load carrier and manager of all the internal stuffs in the device(in our case, a phone/smartphone). Like computers, feature phones/smartphones also use a special processing unit/CPU or chipset.
The CPU on most of the phones we have around us today are very tiny micro chips with a lot of capabilities. Your Samsung, Nokia, Apple iPhone, iPad, Sony Xperia, Motorola, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, HTC, Nexus, Pixel, Alcatel, Wiko, Gfive, Teclast etc and even clone devices like Sony XBO all have coordinated operations from the CPU/Chip powering it.
There are so many CPU or SoC(System on Chip) manufacturers and these chips are used on smartphones as well as feature phones. If you don’t know the CPU/Chipset that is powering your device, some technical operations wouldn’t be possible unless you meet someone more learned.
Like in every collection, there are the popular and the less popular ones. Some OEMs(Original equipment manufacturer) use a particular mobile chipset while others make use of two or more chipsets on their products.
Knowing the chipset on your mobile device makes fixing software related issues a breeze and helps you choose the best platform.
List of Mobile CPU Types
Below is a numerical list of chipsets/CPU types used in mobile devices. (Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, Feature phones, Blackberry etc.)
- Allwinner Technology
- Apple Inc.
- ARM Holdings
- Infineon Technologies
- Intel Corporation
- MStar Semiconductor
- Samsung Electronics
- RDA Microelectronics etc
These lists are kinda long, but not all of them are popular or widely used by different OEMs. Some of the most popular ones include,
- Qualcomm Snapdragon
- Mediatek MTK
- Spreadtrum SPRD/SPD
- Apple Mobile Processors
- Samsung Exynos
- Intel Atom / Core M
- Nvidia Tegra
We are going to show you some very simple ways to know which CPU type your device uses and the software you can use to easily fix, upgrade or transfer files to and from the device.
At the end of this post, questions like,
- How to know your device chipset/CPU.
- All Android chipset list.
- How can I tell which chipset I have.
- How to find chipset of any Android phone/Tablet.
- How to find the true specs of your device.
- How to know if my device is Qualcomm, MTK, SPD, Kirin, Allwinner, Intel, Broadcom etc.
- Which Flashtool should I use to flash my device.
and more should be cleared from your mind because I will make sure everything is touched.
If you happen to use one of the CPU type above which isn’t discussed here, kindly leave a feedback in the comments box.
How To Know Your Device Chipset/CPU
If you own an Android device, Apple device, Blackberry or whatever, I shall be showing you some of the ways you can use to quickly know the CPU that’s powering your device.
CPU-Z is an Android app that can be installed on any Android phone. It has the ability to show you an extensive information about your Android device like CPU type, architecture, device model, RAM/ROM, screen details, Android OS version, battery stats, sensors etc.
Platform Detection Tool By Infinity Box Team
Platform detection Tool as the name implies, is a freeware from the popular Infinity box team(Nokia Best, Chinese Miracle….) that is as small as as img file but has the ability to do wonders. If you have access to a PC, you can use the software to comfortably know which CPU your phone uses.
To use it, just download the software from the link below, double click the PDT.exe and it would load immediately.
Now just connect your device via a USB data cable and hold the volume button/boot key and it would show the platform type within seconds. Even without boot keys, give it a shot.
Whether it’s SPD, Qualcomm, Broadcom, MediaTek, Nokia etc., it detects it right away.
It’s faster and would help you know the CPU of most phones before venturing into flashing the firmware.
Infinity Platform Detection Tool – Download
Windows Device Manager
The windows device manager always comes handy when detecting devices connected to the computer. Sometimes it’s easy to know the device/CPU type by just connecting it to your PC and watch what the PC installs.
If you see USB Mass Storage, that isn’t your device’s CPU type okay!
Although this method is limited, it could be helpful in certain scenarios. To know your device CPU or get a glimpse of what it’s related to, open device manager on your Windows computer. To open device manager on any Windows version, whether 10, 8, 7, Vista etc,
1. Press Win+R (Windows logo key and R key) at the same time. A Run dialog will appear.
2. Type devmgmt.msc in the run box and click OK button.
Then Device Manager will open. To get a clue or know what CPU your phone uses, connect the USB data cable to the device while it’s off and watch what is added to the device manager or what the computer installs.
Manually Accessing The device’s Mother Board
This could be the last alternative and should be carefully done by a professional or under supervision.
If you can get into the mother board, PCB(Printed Circuit Board), Panel, Main Board, you will be able to see the CPU that powers your device.
Some manufacturers protect it under some other components so that it won’t be accessed anyhow.
Like in the image above, the device uses a Samsung Exynos processor and your guess is as good as mine, it’s a Samsung Galaxy phone.
Using this method is mostly recommended on dead phones or for experimental/training purposes.
Mobile Device CPU Types and Flash Tool For Firmware Flashing
Every CPU type on a mobile device has a way of communicating with it via a PC. The CPU manufacturer and the OEM might have different software for the same purpose.
If your Samsung device uses a Qualcomm processor, another OEM with a Qualcomm device like Alcatel or Xiaomi might have a different flash-tool to access the device.
In this post, a detailed guide will be provided for a good number of the popular and less popular CPUs in mobile devices.
We are going to start with the most popular SOC/CPU on mobile devices.
Qualcomm Snapdragon is by far the most used and popular mobile chip on several devices. Most flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+, Xiaomi Mi 6/Mi 6 Plus, Sony Xperia XZ Premium, HTC U 11, Microsoft Surface Phone, ZTE Gigabit Phone, OPPO Find 9, Xiaomi Mix Evo, Essential’s One, OnePlus 4 / 5, Nokia 8, AGM X2 Max, Nokia 9, Sharp Aquos R and the upcoming LG device use the latest Snapdragon 835 or 845 CPU.
Qualcomm CPUs mostly carry the name MSM which makes it easy to identify.
If you are using a Qualcomm powered device, it can be generally flashed using the following flashtools.
- Qualcomm Flash Image Loader(QFIL) V22.214.171.124 – Download
- QPST (Qualcomm Product Support Tool) V2.7.460 – Download
Note that you need to install Samsung USB drivers latest version to properly connect to your device.
For device specific Qualcomm firmware flashtools, use the list below.
- To flash Samsung Qualcomm/Exynos devices, use Odin Flashtool(latest version 3.12.3) – Download or other special firmware loaders.
- To flash Xiaomi devices with Qualcomm CPU, use Xiaomi Mi Flashtool v2016122 – Download
- To flash Sony Xperia devices with Qualcomm CPU, use Sony Flash Tool by Androxyde – Download
- To flash HTC Qualcomm devices, use this HTC mobile Flashing software – Download which uses ADB/Fastboot or download the official RUU file to fix your HTC device.
- To flash Microsoft Windows devices with Qualcomm CPU, use Windows Device Recovery Tool – Download or Nokia Infinity Best Software.
- To flash ZTE Qualcomm devices, either use any of the general Qualcomm flashtools(QPST, QFIL) or use the update.zip firmwares which are flashable via the device’s stock recovery.
- For Nokia Qualcomm devices(Lumia, HMD Brands etc), use Infinity Box Nokia Best Flashtool – Download
- To flash Motorola devices with Qualcomm CPU, you can use RSD Lite which is used in this post to fix a Motorola XT907 device.
MTK – MediaTek
MediaTek is another popular chip maker who has more grounds in China/Africa.
Devices using this chipset are too numerous to mention. The CPU powers a lot of budget phones and super high end flagship devices. It’s Qualcomm’s rival and most powerful competitor.
Its latest chipset, the MTK Helio X30 with a decacore CPU will be out soon on some devices.
Devices using the popular Mediatek CPU e.g Tecno, Gionee, Infinix, Itel S11, Wiko, Vivo, Alcatel, Meizu, Elephone etc can be easily flashed using the following tools.
MediaTek name their CPUs with MT… E.g MT6572, MT6735 etc.
- SP (Smartphone) Flash Tool (Official) – Download
- Miracle Box software – Download
- Infinity Chinese Miracle 2 – Download
- Volcano box
- GPG Dragon box – Download
- NCK Box software – Download
- Infinix Flash Tool v1.0 – Download
There are still other tools available for flashing firmware files to MTK devices, but the above are widely used especially SP Flashtool.
SPD – Spreadtum
Spreadtrum communications manufacture mobile chipsets for both feature and smartphones.
Most of the devices using this chipset are very affordable. Spreadtrum chipsets are mostly used by chinese OEMs.
You can identify SPD CPU type using their naming scheme which is SC… E.g, SC6820/8810, SC6531, SC7731 etc.
Below is a list of flashtools to help you install/flash firmwares to SPD devices.
Note: SPD devices mostly require a boot key for it to be detected by the PC. The boot key is either the Volume Up, Volume Down, both or the numeric keypad on feature phones. You also need to install SPD Drivers on your PC.
- Upgrade Download (Official) – Download
- Research Download (Official) – Download
- Chinese Miracle 2 SPD Module
- Miracle Box – Download
- Volcano box – Download
- GPG Dragon box – Download
- NCK Box software – Download
- Piranha Box
Apple Mobile Processor
Apple Mobile processors are used on Apple’s own devices and includes the A, S, W and T series. Apple Mobile Processors includes the A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A5X, A6, A6X, A7, A8, A8X, A9, A9X, A10 FUSSION, S1, S2, T1 etc.
ITunes is your best tool for software updates, backup and synchronization between your Apple device and your Windows PC or Mac Book.
You can also use Dr. Phone iOs System Recovery Tool.
Intel Atom / Core M
Intel Atom is one of the CPU types used on some smartphones. E.g of smartphones using Intel CPU are Tecno WinPad 2, Tecno WinPad 10, a good number of Asus smartphones, Lenovo K900, Lenovo P90, Solo X1000, etc. Intel has recently left the smartphone scene to focus on other platforms.
Smartphones using Intel Atom /Core M CPU can be flashed/fixed using Fastboot which works generally on Android devices. You can also use Intel Phone Flash Tool v126.96.36.199(Windows) – Download, Intel Phone Flash Tool v5..5.2.0(Linux) – Download, Intel Phone Flash Tool v188.8.131.52(Mac) – Download
You will also need to install Intel Android USB Drivers on your PC before using the tool.
Broadcom CPUs can be found on a good number of Samsung devices, Nokia, Motorola, Micromax etc. To flash firmwares to your device using a Broadcom CPU, you can use any of the following tools.
- Broadcom MultiDownloader v2.3.0 – Download
- DFU Flash Tool v2.03 – Download
- Miracle Box 2.48 – Download
- Sigma Box
- NCK Box
- Smart-Clip 2 Box etc
Allwinner is a Chinese fabless semiconductor company that designs SoCs. Most of the devices using this CPU type are from Chinese OEMs and there are mostly Tablets / mini PCs and a few phones.
When I first saw an Allwinner device PCB, I almost thought it was from a Radio set.
Devices using Allwinner SoCs use one of their CPUs which includes Allwinner A10, A13. A20, A23, A31, A33, A80(Octa core), A83T, A64, H, F and R series.
To install the firmware on an ALLwinner device, it’s always important your know the board id which can be seen on the main board. The firmware can then be downloaded and flashed using any of the tools below.
- LiveSuit – Allows firmware (img) flashing on Allwinner based CPU devices e.g A10, A20, A31, A13. LiveSuit v1.11 (Windows) – Download, LiveSuit v3.05 Linux 32bit – Download, LiveSuit v3.05 Linux 64bit – Download, LiveSuit Mac OS – Download
- PhoenixSuit Tool Allows firmware (img) flashing on Allwinner based CPU devices e.g A10, A20, A31, A13.v1.10 – Download
Amlogic (sometimes spelled AMLogic) is an American technology company that was founded in the US as Amlogic Inc. and is predominantly focused on designing and selling SoC (System on Chip) integrated circuits.
Devices using AMlogic CPU can be flashed, updated or fixed via the stock recovery if you downloaded OTA update or through the AMlogic USB Burning Tool.
A comprehensive guide on how to fix firmware issues on AMlogic devices can be seen @ AMlogic USB Burning Tool Guide.
CoolSand – RDA
Coolsand/RDA CPUs are mostly found on Chinese feature/basic phones. There are are very popular and are also cheap/affordable as well. To flash firmwares on a device using Coolsand CPU, you need the original firmware and a flashtool.
You also need to install USB drivers to support CoolSand/RDA flashing on your PC.
Coolsand/RDA USB Drivers – Download
Coolsand devices use a boot key to be accessed in boot mode by the PC. Connect a USB cable from the PC to the phone, wait for the device to show mass storage, then press and hold 0 key to enter download mode(Open USB Download).
- Coolsand/RDA Factory Flasher Tool V8.00.14 – Download
- Miracle Box – Download
- Piranha Box
- Chinese Miracle 2
- Volcano box etc
If you have got a Huawei phone using its own chipset, Hisilicon Kirin, you can also flash firmware files to your device using this Huawei HiSilicon Kirin firmware flashing tutorial. You can also install stock firmware on your Huawei device via the recovery, using the steps below.
Download and extract Huawei stock ROM to your computer from the link provided below.
Huawei Stock Android ROM
Step 1: Connect the Huawei smartphone or tablet to the PC.
Step 2: Create a new folder on your microSD card and rename it to dload.
Step 3: Copy the Huawei stock ROM (file name: UPDATE.APP) and paste it to the dload, which you created in step 2 above.
Step 4: Power off the device and disconnect from the computer.
Step 5: Now press Volume Up, Volume Down and Power Button together until the update process starts automatically.
Step 6: The update process may take up to 10 minutes to complete.
Step 7: Once the update process is completed your device will reboot automatically and will be ready to us.
ST-Ericsson CPU is commonly found on Samsung devices like the Samsung C6712. Most of these smartphones use special loaders/downloading softwares that are not so bulky and are easy to use, provided you have the stock firmware.
A good place to find software flashing programs for Samsung devices with ST-Ericsson CPUs is Tsar3000. Just visit the page, use the CTRL + F key combo on your PC to search for your device model.
You will also need to install DFU Drivers to properly connect with your device. ST-Ericsson DFU Drivers can be found inside the loader folder.
Rockchip (Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Co., Ltd.) is a Chinese fabless semiconductor company based in Fuzhou, Fujian province. This CPU can be found on most MP3/MP4 players, feature/basic phones and Tablests. Rockchip CPUs always carry an RK before the model number. E.g, RK26xx, RK28xx etc.
To flash firmwares (img) to devices using RockChip CPU, you can use the following tools.
- RockChip Batch Tool (Latest) v1.8 – Download
To flash firmware to your device using RockChip CPU, follow the steps below.
- Download and install RockChip Driver Assistant v4.4 – Download
- Extract RockChip Batch Tool and open RKBatchTool.exe inside the extracted folder.
- Click on the 3 dots (…) after FW path
- Locate and select the firmware(.img) file for your device.
- Turn off your smartphone, press and hold Volume Up button before connecting the USB cable.
- Keep holding the Volume Up button until you see a green under connected devices.
- Click on Restore when you are ready.
- The tool will flash the img firmware to your Rockchip powered device and you should see Upgrade Done Success
- Disconnect your device and power it on.
If you have any issue related to this post, kindly use the comments box below.