At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Samsung Electronics unveiled the world’s first mobile application processor with eight general-purpose processing cores in total. Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa takes advantage of ARM’s Big.Little technology and features four high-performance cores as well as four low-power cores.
Samsung Exynos 5 Octa has four ARM Cortex-A15 high-end general-purpose cores for demanding applications as well as four more ARM Cortex-A7 low-power cores for use cases where maximum computing performance is not required. Samsung did not disclose any additional details about the chip, but it is likely that the new application processor will feature new ARM Mali graphics core as well as support for advanced graphics technologies, such as output to UHD 4K (3840*2160) resolutions. The chis is made using 28nm HKMG process technology at Samsung's manufacturing facility near Austin, Texas.
“The new Exynos 5 Octa introduces a whole new concept in processing architecture designed for high-end smartphones and tablets. When you want multiple applications to perform at their best, you want the best application processor currently available – the Exynos 5 Octa,” said Stephen Woo, president of system LSI business at device solutions division of Samsung Electronics.
Big.Little processing combines two different, but compatible processors within the same SoC and allows the power management software to seamlessly select the right processor, or multiple processors, for the right task. The efficient and seamless switching of workloads between the two processors is supported by advanced ARM system IP, such as AMBA 4 ACE coherency extensions, which ensures full cache, I/O and processor-to-processor coherency between the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7, and across the complete system. Software and applications can therefore continue to run unhindered, and unnoticed by the user, as the tasks are rebalanced to provide the optimum Big.Little user experience.
Glenn Roland, vice president and head of new platforms and OEM at Electronic Arts, helped Samsung to demonstrate the processing power of the Exynos 5 Octa by showing off one of EA’s latest 3D racing games, Need for Speed Most Wanted. Atop the reference device, the application processor delivered an elevated real-life gaming experience within the mobile platform, rendering stunning graphics performance and real-time response speed, according to Samsung.
Samsung Exynos 5 Octa system-on-chip will probably power Samsung’s flagship smartphones and tablets due this year and will compete against products like Nvidia Tegra 4, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 and other high-end solutions.