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Samsung's 64-Bit Exynos In Final Stages of Development

By - Source: SamMobile | B 40 comments

It's no coincidence that a 64-bit Exynos chip and an ARM-64 supporting KitKat is nearing a public reveal.

Looks like we may be getting ready to see a 64-bit Android phone from Samsung in the near future. A number of reports surround this conclusion, starting with Samsung's own admission that it plans to produce a 64-bit chip. The news arrived immediately after Apple introduced its iPhone 5S packing a 64-bit A7 chip, which coincidentally was manufactured using Samsung's 28 nm high-k metal gate technology.

Now sources in Korea have narrowed down Samsung's 64-bit plan, reporting that the next-generation SoC will be an Exynos Octa eight-core chip using four high-performance Cortex-A57 cores and four energy-efficient Cortex-A53 cores. These cores will be able to operate independently, or in big.LITTLE processing configurations.

Samsung presumably intends to release this chip with full support for big.LITTLE MP, allowing the SoC to use all eight cores simultaneously rather than the configuration used in the current two chips where only one set of four are used at a time. The company plans to address this limitation in the near future with a software patch, sending software threads with high priority or high computational intensity to the 'big' Cortex-A15 cores while threads with less priority or are less computationally intensive can be performed by the 'LITTLE' Cortex-A7 cores.

Recent reports have suggested that the upcoming chocolaty build of Android 4.4 "KitKat" will introduce 64-bit support. To some degree, Android has always had baked-in 64-bit support thanks to its Linux roots. Even Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin recently admitted that 64-bit support has been a part of the platform for a long time. But in the latest "Who Writes Linux" report, the Linux Foundation states that some of the 2012-2013 Linux kernel development highlights include support for 64-bit ARM architecture.

Obviously moving into the 64-bit arena is a big deal. This architecture allows for greater memory capacities in devices used in both the consumer and enterprise markets, the latter of which ARM is targeting with its ARMv8 architecture. The Enterprise sector, where performance, cost and capacity are key, is the one market Intel still dominates, but that could soon change.

As seen with the new iPhone 5S, Apple chose not to take advantage of the new A64 memory capacity allowance, shipping the device with a mere 1 GB of LPDDR3 memory. The company may eventually cram 2 GB into the iPhone 6 and perhaps 4 GB into the iPhone 6S. Meanwhile, Samsung is already shoving 3 GB memory sticks into phones, and it's only a matter of time before that number doubles.

Thus, for Apple, the move to A64 brought performance gains to the new phone thanks to an increase in the number of general purpose registers, double the number of FP/NEON registers (not to mention larger 128-bit registers for improved Single Instruction Multiple Data performance), and new cryptographic instructions for hardware acceleration. This architecture also enables that fancy thumb scanner that even cats can use.

For Android devices, having a 64-bit chip should bring increased performance to Google's platform. Granted Apple has a limited hardware set and can fine-tune iOS to perform at blazing speeds. Comparisons between iOS and Android can sometimes be downright embarrassing in everyday applications like navigating through screens or simply opening an app.

Regardless, signs point to an upcoming 64-bit Samsung smartphone in the very near future. The company may not have snagged the "world's first" title, it's not going to let Apple stay in the spotlight for very long either.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    house70 , September 23, 2013 3:10 PM
    Well, since ARM opened the gates, this was expected.
    I just hope that these Exynos chips will have the LTE support needed in the US, eliminating the need for Qualcomm chips for US versions.
    That being said, I would really be surprised if Qualcomm would not come out with their own 64 bit version.
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    nevilence , September 23, 2013 3:07 PM
    oh no, apples AMAZING new innovation that changed the face of mobile phones "again" is already being copied, is nothing sacred, wont somebody think of the fanboys. lol
  • -7 Hide
    nevilence , September 23, 2013 3:07 PM
    oh no, apples AMAZING new innovation that changed the face of mobile phones "again" is already being copied, is nothing sacred, wont somebody think of the fanboys. lol
  • Display all 40 comments.
  • 10 Hide
    house70 , September 23, 2013 3:10 PM
    Well, since ARM opened the gates, this was expected.
    I just hope that these Exynos chips will have the LTE support needed in the US, eliminating the need for Qualcomm chips for US versions.
    That being said, I would really be surprised if Qualcomm would not come out with their own 64 bit version.
  • -6 Hide
    redeemer , September 23, 2013 3:11 PM
    so Android will support 64 bit instructions?? Not any time soon!
  • -5 Hide
    lamorpa , September 23, 2013 3:55 PM
    64 _million_ bit processor!
  • -3 Hide
    soldier44 , September 23, 2013 3:57 PM
    64 bit does Apple no good with such a tiny 4 inch screen and no apps to take advantage of it. So yawn to them getting it first.
  • 8 Hide
    kenyee , September 23, 2013 4:07 PM
    ARM released 64-bit cores late last year already. Why is this a surprise? :-P

    It was originally released for low-power server racks running Linux...where they actually had more than 4GB of memory. Most phones won't go over that memory limit for a while since there's no real need to :-)
  • 6 Hide
    InvalidError , September 23, 2013 5:01 PM
    Quote:
    so Android will support 64 bit instructions?? Not any time soon!

    Not a big deal, all they need to do is recompile it with an ARM64 compiler and maybe swap in some optimized ARM64 libraries/algorithms.

    For apps that follow Google's Android development guidelines, the rest of the code is Java so it does not really matter what the underlying OS or architecture is. Apps will use whatever instructions the Java runtime supports.
  • 3 Hide
    bombebomb , September 23, 2013 5:26 PM
    Not getting excited until I see apps that can use it efficiently. /android user
  • -2 Hide
    fleeb , September 23, 2013 6:44 PM
    Quote:
    oh no, apples AMAZING new innovation that changed the face of mobile phones "again" is already being copied, is nothing sacred, wont somebody think of the fanboys. lol


    Apple invented 64 bit computing that ARM specified? They should sue ARM!
  • 0 Hide
    darkavenger123 , September 23, 2013 6:45 PM
    64-bit is overated. It took what...a decade on the PC and till today, most PC apps are still 32-bits except a handfuL of server apps or high-end productivity apps.
    Slapping a 64-bit cpu into a phone is not going to make existing codes runs any faster or better. In fact,64-bit apps could runs slower due to more overheads. The only true usage for 64-bit cpu is to address the > 4GB memory limit, which Android is hitting the ceiling soon.
  • -2 Hide
    Duckhunt , September 23, 2013 7:30 PM
    will it support 1440p?
  • -2 Hide
    invlem , September 23, 2013 8:12 PM
    I still fail to see what 64 bit is going to do for cell phones... This was useless in Apple's 5S and its going to be just as useless in Samsung's new phone... Its all just marketing hype.
  • 2 Hide
    teh_chem , September 23, 2013 8:23 PM
    Looking at how long ago 64-bit desktop processors hit mainstream consumers, and yet an overwhelming majority of consumer desktop software has never really ventured much from 32-bit operation, I don't expect much from 64-bit mobile platforms.

    Apple was so vague about how anything on their platform benefits from the 64-bit processor. But 64 is TWICE AS MUCH as 32, so of course it's better. Curious how much Samsung will implement anything different after deploying their own 64-bit processor. My money is on "not much."
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , September 23, 2013 9:08 PM
    Quote:
    Slapping a 64-bit cpu into a phone is not going to make existing codes runs any faster or better.

    On Android, most apps are Java and "existing codes" are Java bytecode that get re-compiled on-the-fly to whatever the Java runtime is optimized for so, whether apps benefit from it or not depends mostly on how optimized the JRE's native recompiler, sandbox, native libraries, etc. are.

    This isn't like PCs where most applications are compiled to native statically linked x86 code and require a re-compile by developers to include optimizations for new instruction sets, new libraries, etc.
  • -3 Hide
    phen0m_05 , September 23, 2013 10:48 PM
    so this is samsung's way of innovation? copying what apple is doing? shame on them.
  • 3 Hide
    dazbys , September 23, 2013 11:18 PM
    64bit by itself is of limited benefit for a while in these devices (limited need in memory addressing or arithmetic). However, the ARM 64 bit instruction set is about as compact as it's 32bit predecessor, and includes a lot of optimisations (more registers, better SIMD). I recall that it also includes stuff that might assist with faster JIT for Android too. So even if you're not needing the 64 bit data size, there's lots of performance to be gained (but not because of 64 bit). In fact, it's a completely new instruction set implementation, not an extension of the 32 bit arm instruction set.
  • 2 Hide
    Steven Tan , September 23, 2013 11:37 PM
    Why do people think Samsung copied Apple? Do you genuinely think they can design and, build and test this in a matter of weeks?
    As has been said, ARM has had their 64-bit design for a while now. 64-bit has been in the pipelines in Samsung, Apple and probably Qualcomm and others for a while now.
  • 0 Hide
    Vorador2 , September 24, 2013 2:13 AM
    This is not a me-too, because making a new processor is not something that is done in a few weeks, let alone months.

    In any case, without software support is barely better than a marketing stunt. Better get developers working ASAP.
  • 0 Hide
    Vladislaus , September 24, 2013 2:21 AM
    Quote:
    so this is samsung's way of innovation? copying what apple is doing? shame on them.


    So you're saying Apple copied Microsoft, Linux and other UNIX OSes when they launched their 64 bit Power Mac G5?

    This CPU is most likely been on the drawing board for quite some time.
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