Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Samsung Discusses Its Exynos 5 Octa Eight-Core Mobile SoC

By - Source: PhoneArena | B 19 comments

Galaxy S4 all but confirmed to be first device to sport world's first eight-core processor.

Samsung has discussed its Exynos 5 Octa chip, which is the world's first eight-core mobile processor announced during CES 2013.

Four cores will handle the resource-demanding tasks, which will be be powered by ARM's Cortex-A15 architecture. The four power-efficient ones, meanwhile, will be Cortex-A7s. Samsung's Director of Marketing, System LSI, Akshay Agarwal argues that "going with the notion of quad would not really differentiate it [the Exynos 5 Octa] much, because there are so many quad-core processors out on the market."

"He then goes on to explain that the end user doesn't understand or care about the exact type of CPU used, like A9 or A15," explained PhoneArena. "It's not reasonable to think that everyone will have enough technical knowledge to make the difference between these technologies, so Samsung felt that it should simply go with the "Octa" term as a way of signaling the excessive power of the chipset."

"When we asked Agarwal about Samsung's position with regards to licensing the Exynos 5 Octa, he was quick to point out the customers of the current Exynos line-up, which include Lenovo and some smaller Asian companies like Meizu and Quanta, and ensured us that Samsung is devoted to broadening the range of customers of its chipset division. At this time, though, that range seems to be quite limited when compared to the penetration of its rivals in this space, Qualcomm and Nvidia."

The world's largest phone maker said there is no tension within its chip-making division. Agarwal stressed that the South Korean technology giant continues to rely on a "broad set of customers," which includes the growing business of Samsung Mobile. His comment comes after Stephen Woo, president of Samsung's Systems LSI division who manages the production of mobile processors, stated that it's aiming to "diversify our customer base" amid concerns regarding Apple cutting off its business ties with its chief competitor.

According to a recent benchmark, the unannounced Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the first device to sport the Exynos 5 Octa chip.


Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
  • 5 Hide
    greghome , January 23, 2013 1:32 PM
    AMD Samsung : We need to beat the competition, WE NEED MOAR CORES !!!!!
  • 8 Hide
    CaedenV , January 23, 2013 1:36 PM
    ah... marketing. So it is confirmed to be a quad core after all
  • 7 Hide
    aicom , January 23, 2013 1:56 PM
    Quote:
    "He then goes on to explain that the end user doesn't understand or care about the exact type of CPU used, like A9 or A15," explained PhoneArena. "It's not reasonable to think that everyone will have enough technical knowledge to make the difference between these technologies, so Samsung felt that it should simply go with the "Octa" term as a way of signaling the excessive power of the chipset."

    I died a little when I read this. Just because people don't care, doesn't give you permission to lie. Octa-core implies 8 cores active at the same time. Almost sounds reminiscent of Apple's marketing department.
  • Display all 19 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    Trueno07 , January 23, 2013 2:02 PM
    # Cores != Innovation

    Companies need to think smarter not faster.
  • 1 Hide
    sean1357 , January 23, 2013 2:11 PM
    enable 4-cores ARM A15 and disable 4-cores ARM A7. Maybe use ICE to hack to turn other 4-cores with some register....

    Go ARM...ARM.... but I like FPGA better....

  • 3 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , January 23, 2013 2:16 PM
    Always great when marketing pricks justify what is essentially a lie with, "well, our customers are too dumb to know the difference anyway." Wow.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2013 2:20 PM
    "Almost sounds reminiscent of Apple's marketing department."

    So true.
  • 4 Hide
    Onihikage , January 23, 2013 3:36 PM
    Quote:
    Galaxy S4 all but confirmed to be first device to sport world's first eight-core processor.

    MOBILE.

    MOBILE processor. FFS.
  • 4 Hide
    silverblue , January 23, 2013 4:36 PM
    Trueno07# Cores != InnovationCompanies need to think smarter not faster.

    Well, Intel were the first with a hexacore CPU, so there's got to be some merit to having more cores. AMD obviously tried to look too far ahead by bringing out CPUs with eight, albeit weaker, cores, and they're still fixing the problem.
  • 7 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , January 23, 2013 4:46 PM
    CaedenVah... marketing. So it is confirmed to be a quad core after all

    Its been confirmed for a long time, yet every time there's an Exynos 5 Octa article half the comments are something to the effect of, "8 cores?! why do I need an 8 core smartphone??"
    aicomI died a little when I read this. Just because people don't care, doesn't give you permission to lie. Octa-core implies 8 cores active at the same time. Almost sounds reminiscent of Apple's marketing department.

    Ya, It really sounds bad. Basically, our customers probably don't know or care about what this actually means, so why not take advantage of that ignorance? To be fair most people probably don't know or care, but it's the second part that gets me. And based on the comments in the Exynos 5 Octa announcement articles, it'll probably work.
  • 6 Hide
    merikafyeah , January 23, 2013 5:46 PM
    Trueno07# Cores != InnovationCompanies need to think smarter not faster.

    Actually, they started adding more cores BECAUSE they couldn't go any faster. They thought why try to build a slightly better super-robot, when you could build a small fleet of current gen super-bots to do many times the workload in the same amount of time? Seems like a pretty smart thing to me. Leveraging "hybrid-cores" to conserve battery power through different workloads also seems like a step in the right direction. Now if only someone can improve the battery itself, which has remained fundamentally unchanged for nearly a century.
  • 1 Hide
    Cazalan , January 23, 2013 6:07 PM
    aicomI died a little when I read this. Just because people don't care, doesn't give you permission to lie. Octa-core implies 8 cores active at the same time. Almost sounds reminiscent of Apple's marketing department.


    They can have 8 active cores in the MP mode. Not sure if they would power wise, but they can.
  • 1 Hide
    assasin32 , January 23, 2013 6:14 PM
    CazalanThey can have 8 active cores in the MP mode. Not sure if they would power wise, but they can.


    Actually I was just thinking it would be nice if they had it setup so that when something extrememly power hungry was in use it would activate the A15 and A7 cores and use them all. That would make a nice setup. I know I have a dual core 1.7ghz A15 in my Chromebook and it is adequate enough for day to day use. I am curious as to how these 4+4 cores will perform in a smartphone.
  • -2 Hide
    saturnus , January 23, 2013 7:59 PM
    What exactly is the problem? It does have 8 cores, and all 8 can be active at the same time.

    The 4 A7 cores will always be active. They run background tasks. The 4 A15 cores are used when needed.

    It's essentially the same as the Tegra 4, that will also have 4 A15 cores that are used when needed. Instead of 4 A7 cores the Tegra 4 will have a slower clocked A15 cores that is always on to run background tasks. (Note: this is a change from Tegra 3 which either had the single core or the quad core turned on).

    4 A7 cores uses less than half the power of one slower clocked A15 core for roughly the same performance.
  • 0 Hide
    Trueno07 , January 23, 2013 8:00 PM
    silverblueWell, Intel were the first with a hexacore CPU, so there's got to be some merit to having more cores. AMD obviously tried to look too far ahead by bringing out CPUs with eight, albeit weaker, cores, and they're still fixing the problem.


    Exactly, intel focused on processing smarter and not faster and have pretty much left AMD in the dust.
  • 2 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , January 23, 2013 8:18 PM
    saturnusWhat exactly is the problem? It does have 8 cores, and all 8 can be active at the same time.The 4 A7 cores will always be active. They run background tasks. The 4 A15 cores are used when needed.It's essentially the same as the Tegra 4, that will also have 4 A15 cores that are used when needed. Instead of 4 A7 cores the Tegra 4 will have a slower clocked A15 cores that is always on to run background tasks. (Note: this is a change from Tegra 3 which either had the single core or the quad core turned on).4 A7 cores uses less than half the power of one slower clocked A15 core for roughly the same performance.

    Could you provide a source for this? Every article I've read says that the Exynos 5 Octa basically uses ARM's big.LITTLE reference design, which has no more than 4 cores operating at once. Even Samsung's own documentation states big.LITTLE. From what I understand big.LITTLE can be configured to utilize all 8 cores in asynchronous MP mode, but I haven't seen any information that explicitly states, or even indicates that this is what's used in Exynos 5 Octa.
  • 2 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , January 23, 2013 8:26 PM
    saturnusIt's essentially the same as the Tegra 4, that will also have 4 A15 cores that are used when needed. Instead of 4 A7 cores the Tegra 4 will have a slower clocked A15 cores that is always on to run background tasks. (Note: this is a change from Tegra 3 which either had the single core or the quad core turned on).4 A7 cores uses less than half the power of one slower clocked A15 core for roughly the same performance.

    This isn't my understanding of how Tegra 4 works either. Again, could you provide a source? According to what I've read the 5th low power A15 isn't visible to the OS, and works similarly to the companion core in Tegra 3.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6550/more-details-on-nvidias-tegra-4-i500-5th-core-is-a15-28nm-hpm-ue-category-3-lte
  • -4 Hide
    SchizoFrog , January 23, 2013 10:04 PM
    aicomI died a little when I read this. Just because people don't care, doesn't give you permission to lie. Octa-core implies 8 cores active at the same time. Almost sounds reminiscent of Apple's marketing department.

    I disagree. For a long time now Quad Core has been a term used for actual Dual Core chips that have HT activated. Now while they can run 4 threads at the same time they are still not true Quad Cores and yet people accept this. Besides, where does it say that all the cores have to be used at the same time? I may have 4 cars, I can't and don't use them all at once. I still have them though.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , January 23, 2013 10:22 PM
    sean1357but I like FPGA better....

    FPGAs are a "little" more difficult to program than conventional CPUs and have nowhere near the performance per watt of ASIC for fixed-function stuff nor the performance per watt of CPUs for general computing. FPGAs also scale nowhere near as high in MHz largely due to routing and logic delays across the fabric, LUTs, carry chains, etc. between DFFs.

    You probably wouldn't want to replace a $125 i3-3225 with a much more expensive XC7V330T (or bigger) running an FPGA-based x86-64 platform bitstream. You would likely have a hard time making it run at more than 200MHz.