Samsung's SamsungExynos account on Twitter is reporting that a new Exynos 5 Octa chip will be announced next week. It will be a more powerful, enhanced chip, the company teases, but doesn't say anything else about the chip itself. Instead, Samsung is also teasing the #ExynosEvolved Twitter giveaway promising a chance to win some brand new, Exynos-powered devices.
"Year after year, we strive to improve the power and performance of our Exynos processors," the company said. "Now it's time for the next step in our evolution – a more powerful, enhanced Exynos 5 Octa!"
The Exynos 5 Octa features two sets of CPU cores: four slower, low-power Cortex-A7 "LITTLE" cores clocked at 1.2 GHz for the minor tasks, and four powerful Cortex-A15 "big" cores clocked between 1.6 GHz and 1.8 GHz for the heavy duty chores like games and movies. Not all eight cores can perform simultaneously – each set kicks in when needed thanks to ARM's big.LITTLE architecture.
That said, the Exynos 5 Octa can't perform like a true eight-core chip. Perhaps then that's what we'll see next week: an updated model that actually utilizes all eight cores at the same time. Just recently Taiwanese publication UDN said that SoC rival MediaTek is developing such a beast, reporting that it will be based on TSMC's 28 nm process. Called the MT6592, it will go into mass production in November, and will likely end up in smartphones early next year. That's a good reason for Samsung to beef up its octa-core efforts.
There's a good chance the new and improved Exynos 5 Octa will utilize big.LITTLE MP (multi-processing) which allows all eight cores to be used simultaneously. As stated in ARM's big.LITTLE white paper (pdf), Cortex-A15 only needs to be powered on and simultaneously executing next to Cortex-A7 if there are threads that need that level of processing performance. If not, only Cortex-A7 needs to be powered on.
"Cortex-A15, Cortex-A7 and CCI-400 have been designed to cope with worst case snooping scenarios," ARM said. "This includes the case where a Mali-T604 GPU is connected to one of the I/O coherent CCI-400 ports and every transaction is snooping Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 at the same time as Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 are snooping each other."
Samsung's current Exynos 5 Octa is just now appearing in handsets such as the company's flagship phone, the Galaxy S4. The chip is based on 28 nm HKMG (High-K Metal Gate) process technology, and focuses on conserving energy and optimal performance by switching between the two sets of cores. Samsung claims it demonstrates 70 percent better CPU performance while consuming 20 percent less power than the previous Exynos processors.