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Samsung beats rivals to big.Little chip

Will add flexible multicore processor for smartphones and tablets to Exynos range, using ARM's new architecture

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 19 November, 2012

READ MORE: Processor

ARM has been winning support for its big.Little concept for its new processor platforms - combining high performance cores with simpler, low power variants in a flexible way, to achieve the optimal balance between horsepower and energy efficiency. While many firms have backed the idea, as a way to allocate processing tasks to the most appropriate cores, Samsung aims to be the first to describe an actual product, at the (ISSC) International Solid State Circuits conference in February.

According to EETimes, Samsung will detail a 28nm system-on-chip for its Exynos family of chips, running on two quad-core clusters. One cluster runs at 1. 8GHz with a 2Mbyte L2 cache, and is designed for high performance tasks; while the other runs at 1.2GHz and is optimized for power efficiency.


This mirrors ARM's own description of its new architecture, using a combination of 32-bit A15 and A7 cores. The core IP firm also recently outlined plans for a 64-bit big.Little design which would support the move of its platform out of its heartland in mobile and embedded devices, and into servers and infrastructure.

The Samsung chip is firmly geared to smartphones and tablets, both its own and those of third party customers - although its handset unit's mobile dominance increasingly present conflicts of interest for other handset makers wanting to use its silicon, notably in the case of Apple.

Analysts think Samsung, whose processor range is becoming increasingly sophisticated, will get a big/Little SoC to market ahead of any major rivals, though Qualcomm, Nvidia and others will be close behind in the first half of 2013. As well as competing with one another, they will face Intel's most convincing tablet chip to date, the 22nm Haswell.

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Posted by glennthera on Tuesday 20th November, 2012

Expect this chip to power next year's Samsung Galaxy S4 flagship phone, as I've been saying 4 a long, long time contrary 2 those who think a power hogging quad core A15 chip (Eynos 5450) would power the S4! Likewise, v can expect Cortex A57-A53 big.Little pairs in 2014 devices!

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