Samsung announces Exynos5 octa-core chipset


NVIDIA had its moment to shine earlier in the week, and Qualcomm had its own announcements to make for 2013. Now, Samsung’s looking to turn things up a notch with its own Exynos series of chipsets. Samsung has announced the Exynos5, an octa-core chipset that makes use of some pretty interesting techniques to provide optimal battery life while delivering best-in-class performance.

The chipset features two quad-core SoCs, with one being an ARM Cortex-A15 based implementation clocked at 1.8GHz, while the other is an ARM Cortex-A7 implementation at 1.2GHz. The former will be used for the usual CPU-intensive tasks such as gaming, web browsing, HD video playback and more. If you aren’t doing these things then the phone will favor the weaker (but still powerful), more battery friendly set of cores.

The initial product will come in a 28nm flavor, but Samsung is continuing to work to bring that down to 20, 14, and then 10nm over time. With 70% battery savings over the Exynos 4 chipset this thing should scream while providing extremely long battery life at the same time. Imagine a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with a 3,300-3,500mAh battery coupled with this chipset — I’m already watering at the mouth.

Of course, phones and tablets aren’t the only things Samsung will look to stuff these things into. Samsung is also starting to use Exynos5 inside its line of netbooks, including the already-available ChromeBook. We’re not sure when or if Samsung will use this particular chipset in a netbook anytime soon, but it certainly is a possibility.

The technology is called “big.LITTLE,” a cute play on what you might use to call a Java package or method in an Android app. Big, little, or anything in between — we don’t care what it’s called, we just want to see it in phones at some point this year.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Put me down for a phone and tablet with this chipset :-)

  2. I’m so ready for an octa-core BEAST! I truly hope its in the GS 4 or Note 3.

  3. Now this is a game changer… did you expect this NVIDIA? Who wants 4 + 1 when you can have 4 + 4? .. Just got to see what the graphics performance will be like..

      1. Yes i have. Don’t call copy on everything, please……

        1. huh? Your response does not make sense, was that meant for another post?

      2. I thought we didn’t like engadget?

        1. I Hate Engadget not for the content, but because of the staff. Extremely arrogant and biased. And sexist (a female)

  4. Hopefully they’ll put this chip in the GS4

    1. Of course. Where else would it go. Besides Note3.

  5. Nice and all but what exactly are people gonna be doing on their phones that require such processing power?

    1. no clue…. better have a gpu chipset to compete with this or it will be a total waste.

      1. This is where NVIDIA will probably shine but it remains to be seen. At any rate, this will probably end up as more of a gimick than anything unless they make true multitasking (e.g. multi-window) devices and apps. Otherwise its like hooking a V8 up to a horse and carriage. A waste of power.

    2. possibly improvements in app opening, and app switching speeds, also UI fluidity. GS3 and note 2 are very very nice and smooth, but they arent stutter free.

    3. Imagine if you could dedicate the other 4 cores for something else while using the other 4 cores? While GPU chip being separate, having effectively 2 CPUs: you could have 4 dedicated cores for “PhysX” (or something equivalent to NVIDIA’s PhysX). Now this would leave the whole GPU available for pure awesome graphics :) wouldn’t that be a neat trick?

      1. That’s not possible as only one quad-CPU can be active at a time. This is a switching quad, not an octacore.

    4. Using them? ;-P

    5. more robust apps. Quit thinking in a McDonald’s mindset. Just as vfx, gaming, office… crap let’s just say the WHOLE dev community, waits for hardware to catch up to their ideas. You were probably just a twinkle (or tinkle) in your mommy’s eye when apps were on tapes or cartridges. Those progressed to 5.25, 3.5″, CD, DVD and so on. As more robust hardware and OSes are available, so too are the things programmers can do with code. Again, think outside of the “ding, fries are done” mentality. There is a whole wide world out there for you. BTW, people still use “dogg” at the end of their name?

      1. like i said, its cool, im not saying dont do it. 70% better battery life is a huge plus(one thing that REALLY matters) but who’s doing graffic design and video editing on their phone?

        1. Giving the opportunity I would do graphic design on my phone/tablet. You never know when you will get a burst of inspiration

  6. I’m glad to see that Samsung is working on improving battery life and making it a top priority.

    1. This is why Samsung are the market leaders. Are you listening HTC?

      1. HTC doesn’t make chips………… Are you listening?

        1. True :)

        2. I love HTC but have steered away since they haven’t been increasing their battery sizes to suit power consumption of their devices and sealed their batteries in.

          1. I loved HTC until they insisted on putting “Sense” on everything they make. I’d love one more AOSP device from HTC.

            Rooting is an option, I know, but we also all know how much easier it is for dev’s to deal with devices that are AOSP to begin with.

          2. just buy Nexus then. not everyne love AOSP, I hate AOSP…Nexus is in the last list of handheld to buy. and I love sense…HTC’s in my number one list. Among 7 handheld I used this past 2 years, they’re from HTC, Samsung, & Motorola, they’re all the same regarding battery life.

        3. touche

      2. HTC also has the best screen of any mobile device and are using the most powerful processor available and use premium materials…….. Are you listening?

        1. You know even thought their screens are great, there using older tchnology

        2. I’m not so sure about the screen thing but the reason I like HTC is because they make very solid devices w/ premium materials. Probably the next closest in terms of how they feel in the hand is Motorola. I hate how samsung phones feel but they are some of the best, which is why i just stick a case on it

          1. would take IPS displays over amoled any day…. never have been able to get used to samsung screens, toooo vibrant and poor reproduction accuracy.

  7. The big.LITTLE architecture (and name) was developed by ARM, not Samsung.

    1. doesn’t matter.. quit pissing in the corn flakes.

  8. Wouldn’t “two dual quad cores” be 16 cores?

    1. He should remove the “two” or the “dual.” Forgive him, though, he seemed pretty excited while writing this article.

      1. Yea, sorry about that. Funny thing, actually, I originally wrote it as “dual quad-core,” but decided I wanted to use “two” instead to cut down on confusion. Lo and behold, I make it even more confusing by forgetting to delete “dual.” -_-

    2. I snagged an engine tag from a vehicle at the local pick-a-part. It said Double DOHC or something of that sort. Essentially meaning 4 Cams on a 4cylinder. LOL

      1. cute story bro

        1. Thanks…I felt it was vaguely relevant for a chuckle.

          *heres some free cabbage troll*

  9. Timing of this announcement couldn’t be any better.

  10. Hopefully these go into the Galaxy Note 3 and a new Galaxy Note Tablet

    1. Oh my one can only imagine :)

  11. Will it play nice with LTE, is the real question.

    1. they fixed that problem with the exynos 4, so it shouldn’t be a problem

  12. It’s an ARM technology, not Samsung’s.

    1. who cares? It’s licensed, so it’s theirs. Apple claims the same. Why are you so hurt by the obvious facts?

      1. You don’t get it. Samsung implements strictly ARM designs, whereas Qualcomm and Apple engineer their owns SoCs and then have them built (by TSMC and or Samsung). Totally different plan… and different chips.

  13. Is great but no integrated LTE? Nice for tablets but Snapdragon may still have overall advantage for phones.

  14. I think it’s overkill for your everyday phone and tablet. Power up the graphics, though, and it would be killer for one of the new gaming devices (ouya, shield, etc)

    1. WRONG. Just as they said multicore procs were overkill when they were first announced. This design makes sense. One of the weakest links in an every day tablet is in fact the battery. If the processors can intelligently task out functions to subs or even the GPU, it provides better speeds, performance and battery life. This should be a goal of any hardware dev. This will be killer for ANY new device.

      1. It’s a workaround for poor battery technology. It will be outdated soon enough.

  15. I always thought the main battery drain in a phone was the display. I imagine lower cpu voltage will help, but they are already pretty darn low already.

    1. True, but how about 1080p screen? The processor and gpu powers that so the power Efficiency will come in handy :)

  16. They always say this new chip should make battery life awesome.. And this one should. Still waiting…

    1. it Still needs to be better, but S4 processor is much much much more efficient than snapdragon 1 or 2.

  17. That is awesome.
    How long until it’s just a big mass of cores with this little device suspended in the middle of them?

  18. totally irrelevant but just to clarify…considering the context (i.e. processor chips), “big.LITTLE” is more than likely a play on the “Big Endian-Little Endian” memory storage design.

    1. yes, totally irrelevant considering you say it’s “more than likely”

      1. No what makes it totally irrelevant is that the origin or meaning of the name doesn’t change or affect the product and its benefit to the smartphone/tablet market at all (as Q himself says in the article).

        And I stated “more than likely” because without a direct comment from Samsung we can only speculate towards the meaning or origin of the name. However considering the context of the story and the fact that “big endian-little endian” is an extremely common term in the processor chip industry, it is “more than likely” that this was the inspiration for the name.

  19. Great, an 8 core processor. My E-peen love its, but it really doesn’t make sense. I’d doubt that anything could fully use the power of an 8 core processor.

  20. Yahoo! 8 cores! For what? They won’t release the source

  21. So is the Qualcomm 800 still king? or are they even now?

  22. To me this is somewhat of overkill. Yeah it’s cool and supposedly better for battery, but as long as devs aren’t Multi-Threading their apps, 8 cores are pointless. Yeah the Manufacturers tweak Android and their services to utilize the cores the best, but most app programmers do not do this.

  23. We don’t want a 4+4 architecture, we want 8 A15 cores coupled with 8GB RAM, 88 core GPU, 8″ screen and a 8000 mAh removable battery. At the end of the day this is still quad core which is such a deal breaker.

  24. Even the core i7 isn’t octocore, this is awesome in the mobile computing world! (i7 is a quad core that’s hyper-threaded so each core acts more or less as two though, leaving a chipset that acts similarly to an octocore – to be fair).

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