Samsung shows off Exynos 5 processor
In race with Texas Instruments to be first to get the new ARM Cortex-A15 architecture into commercial products
Published: 13 August, 2012
Samsung has shown off the latest generation in its Exynos mobile processor family, claiming it will be first to market with chips based on the new ARM Cortex-A15 core design.
Exynos 5 will aim to leapfrog Qualcomm, Nvidia and the others, before they too transition from the current Cortex-A9 to the high performance, low power upgrade. Texas Instruments has actually already announced two OMAP models based on A15, and even shown a prototype tablet, but Samsung has the time to market advantage of an internal customer, in its own handset unit.
ARM first unveiled A15 in September 2010. It runs at up to 2.5GHz and can support up to 16 cores. The Exynos 5 Dual is not going that far. It has two cores running at 1.7GHz and will reduce size and energy consumption by using a 32nm manufacturing process (although Qualcomm is now down to 28nm). The power saving will be 30% over current 45nm Exynos models, says Samsung, and performance will be increased twofold.
Other improvements, naturally enough for Samsung, concern support for advanced displays - stereoscopic 3D and resolutions up to 2560 x 1600, higher than the iPad HD or iMac. There is power saving here too, with PSR (panel self refresh) technology, which only sends visuals to a screen when an image is moving or changing.
The new processor also uses an ARM Mali T604 graphics processor with four cores. Samsung divides its GPU favors between ARM and Apple's closer partner Imagination Technologies. The chip will also support USB 3.0 for fast transfer with other devices.
Samsung says the new chip has a whole new architecture and so will deliver more radical improvements than previous, more incremental updates. It is not clear when the Exynos 5 Dual will appear in devices, either Samsung's or third party - the upcoming Note 10.1 tablet, which will ship in September, will run on the quad-core Exynos 4. The product is already being manufactured and is likely to be in tablets and other gadgets early next year.