Android Central

Not to be outdone by NVIDIA's Tegra 4 announcement, or Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 news, Samsung has announced the Exynos 5 Octa. It's an octa-core CPU that was designed with low power mobile devices in mind and uses ARM's big.LITTLE processing.

Android Central @ CES

What that means, is that there are two groups of four cores that can run at any given time. When performance is needed, four Cortex A15 cores can handle the heavy lifting, and when doing more common tasks, you have four Cortex A7 cores to take care of things.

Because it's using this strategy, this chip is more suitable form small form factor devices like phones. Samsung says this tech will allow the chip to use up to 70-percent less power than a traditional quad-core A15 SoC, or even a dual core Exynos 5 like the one seen in the Nexus 10.

We may not have received the Galaxy S4 news everyone was wanting, but this may be even better. Expect to see this chip make it's way into tablets, Chromebooks, and phones this year. 


Reader comments

Samsung announces the 8-core Exynos 5 Octa mobile processor


Wow, we just got quad-core phones, and now Samsung outdoes itself again. So, when someone rumored that the S4 would be octo-core, they weren't joking lmao.

If you read the article tho any device running the processor would only be running 4 cores at any given time. For all intensive purposes this is a very powerful quadcore with very good power consumption.

Oh, yeah I know that it won't use all 8 cores. Hell, can you imagine how horrible your battery life would be with 8 cores running at full speed?

Also i would think that since the tegra 3 had the 4+1 core arrangement that the tegra 4 would have something similar, making this processor nothing truly unique.

It's definitely not revolutionary. However, you market phones with this processor to people that are not tech-savvy, and they instantly equate 8 cores with more power.

I was going to point out the same thing, but you know, when talking about high performance chipsets, his unwitting malapropism might have actually made sense in this instance.

I'm sure no hacks will ever be attempted to control those cores and use all 8 if your crazy heart so desires.


big.LITTLE MP looks like it would support both cores running simultaneously - do we know if the Exynos chip employs the MP or plain vanilla model?

So, its kinda like nVIDIA's Four-Plus-ONE? Where the companion fifth core (only in this case 4) takes care of low power tasks & light weight operation ? To be come more battery efficient? & saves the Quad-Core A-15 for Gaming & HD content?

Seems like it, but there is no way that thing can scale down as low as a single 500mhz core without shutting down some of the slower set of cores all together.

97% of the time nVidia is running in the 5th core, even while watching video.

To approach that level of power saving, they are going to have to let at least 3 of the low power cores sleep.

I'll wait to see battery life and performance, but this solution seems like a kludge used because their A15 cores are too power hungry and they can't get the battery usage down.
Not saying that's what happened, but that's how it sounds.

Does sound like something of an expensive fix.

They must have a significant problem shutting down 1, 2, 3 cores in the A15s to resort to this kind of sillyness.

"For all intensive purposes"

Rofl! I'm kind of curious how old you are so I know how long you've been misunderstanding that phrase. :]

I have been stating for weeks now that Samsung would announce their Exynos 5 with 8cores. This was announced on Samsung's Twitter page and facebook page over 2weeks ago. You can rest assure that the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 will be BEST in class devices for 2013. I told everyone not to put all their eggs in that Nividia Tegra 4 basket 2 days ago.

I think it's safe to say that gamers can put all of their eggs in the Nvidia Tegra 4 basket lol; considering the fact that Tegra is great for mobile gaming. I'm anxious to see how this iteration of the Exynos processor will handle in real world use.

Wow you're already trolling the devices that aren't even out yet. No surprise and it's funny I even recognize your name. Maybe you should's 4+4.

Anyway, should be an interesting year...

it's actually 4 core a15 and the other 4 are a7 if you read the press release. The a7 are for super energy efficiency.

"Samsung says this tech will allow the chip to use up to 70-percent less power than a traditional quad-core A15 SoC, or even a dual core Exynos 5"
Now that is something to get excited about. Can't wait to hear all the people crying out about how 8-cores are so unnecessary... blah blah blah.

Haha you know it's coming. Blah blah 2 cores is better than 8 blah blah lol. My Galaxy Nexus begs to differ. An hour and a half of using the phone and it throws in the towel lmao

Lol! Those are the same type of people that will say money isn't everything because they don't have it!

It's not the processor that chews up the power most on a smartphone, it's the screen. Show me a screen that uses 70% less power, THEN I'll be excited.

I'd say that tablet battery life doesn't matter so much as it does in phones. Let's hope we see it in the GS4.

It's great and all that the CPU will use 70% less power, but when all the radios (cellular and LTE and the WiFi) are all screaming over each other the CPU looks like much less of a battery hog. I think we need tighter control over syncing. But then I'm not R&D guy so I could be way off base.

i'd still take this over less power efficient processors that have the same problems you mentioned. Put this on a Moto device (with a 3500 mAH battery) and we'll be fine lol.

I'd gamble to say that the Qualcomm 800 will deliver better overall performance. I'm no expert on EE but this statement quoted from the Qualcomm announcement article:

"...Additionally, asynchronous SMP architecture provides dynamic power sensing and control for peak performance per core, while extending battery life without the use of specialized cores"

Does this indicate that the clock speed can be dynamically adjusted within a given clock frequency (i.e., 1.0GHZ - 2.3GHZ), compared to just using 2 clock frequencies to adjust for the processor load (i.e., 1.7GHZ or 1.2GHZ).

I can't wait to see how these 3 (NVIDIA, QUALCOMM, SAMSUNG) perform and their power efficiency.

I think Qualcomm my has already delivered on power efficiency, anything S4 and on does wonderful in a phone. I can't even begin to describe how fast and fluid the Nexus 4 runs with the S4 Pro. Samsung has proven the Note 2 runs very efficient as well. Nvidia to me seems currently the best all around for games and will probably continue to do well on that front. I am hoping the N7 sticks with Tegra on its successor.

Is this the year Samsung starts to only use their own chips? My guess is yes on the high end devices, and the low end stuff will use whatever. This leaves LG, Motorola, Sony, and a bunch of others for Nvidia and Qualcomm to go after.

Will we see many phones with Tegra 4 or will it become more of a Tablet platform chipset? Off the top of my head the international One X and the One X+ (any version) is the only newer phone running a Tegra Chipset.

Starting with the Tegra 3 for tablets (because I don't care about integrated LTE on tablets) and S4 on phones (with integrated LTE) I really don't care what processor gets put into my devices anymore.

I care that the entire package works, and works well. OEMs, use whatever chip you want as long as it offers a fluid web browsing experience and most mainstream games play respectably for the next 12 months.


Well said Suntan!
I agree, as long as offers a fluid experience & its capable of handling games, Im good

A quad core cortex a15 would have been enough. But this? Simply amazing. Samsung has always made the best processors which is why Apple uses them. I'm starting to feel really jealous of the next galaxy devices (especially the note 3. Imagine this with a 3000 mAH battery?). Hopefully this will have lte out of the gate unlike the exynos 4 quad.

A quad core cortex a15 would have been enough. But this? Simply amazing. Samsung has always made the best processors which is why Apple uses them. I'm starting to feel really jealous of the next galaxy devices (especially the note 3. Imagine this with a 3000 mAH battery?). Hopefully this will have lte out of the gate unlike the exynos 4 quad.

You're probably right, but at this point it doesn't really matter. Any of these newly announced chips will do everything we need and want (and more) in a phone or tablet. To differentiate, the people making them are going to have to provide better developer support.

NVIDIA's Tegra 4 is probably the "slowest" of the bunch. But they will work with anyone making a game so that the application can take advantage of all the special multimedia instructions they have built into the Tegra platform. That's why the games look and play so much better on Tegra stuff. Hopefully, Samsung and Qualcomm will step up and provide the same software support soon, so that the choice means even less to the end user.

'That's why the games look and play so much better on Tegra stuff." I hope that is the case this time round because all I am stuck with are toned down graphics settings on plenty of games on my One X lol.

I agree a 100%. Qualcomm acted like they were going to start giving support for gaming around s4 arrival. I haven't seen anything like for tegra 4 yet. Maybe they will step up. I've been enjoying my s4 pro powered device but all these new chips make it seem like old news already.the adreno 320 hasn't even had a chance to shine and won't have a chance against the new monster gpus on new chips.


Having 8 cores is not the same as having an octocore processor.

Octocore implies 8 indistinguishable cores. This is a quad core processor with 4 helper cores.

Until applications are multi-threaded the number of cores beyond 2 is mostly pointless so everyone getting excited that it's not 8 real cores can stop whining. By nature you really can't work in multiple apps at the same time like you do on a PC. Even with exceptions of apps that run as services (music, maps, etc) or multi-view (Samsung devices) you really aren't doing multiple intensive tasks concurrently so you need core for OS stuff and a core for your active application. All the next gen SoC's will perform great, the most important factor will be how efficient they are.

That's right. Power efficiency under typical workload is the key. Everything else is just marketing hype.
What about the GPU side on this new Exynos (fed up with seeing Apple designed SoC destroying the others') ?

That has been a bummer, having to admit that Apple's in house design chip does so well, especially their GPU, when compared to other platforms and devices.

Slightly off topic, when will Android manufacturers start paying as much detail to their display and true colour as it appears Apple does. HTC seem to be the one that comes to mind that matches or in some departments beats the iP5

I am fairly certain that Samsung will never public proper source code for whatever flagship device they have next with this processor in, and even if they do they will probably never work with AOSP so I am afraid I'm out. I just don't care what they say anymore. Why buy a product where the manufacturers go out of their way to make sure you not to be able to get the best out of it. The power efficiency thing sounds nice but I'll believe it when I see it. *Goes to sulk in the corner*

A little misleading, Not a true octa core...the workload is still 4 cores maximum... basically it's just a 4 core cpu

I can't believe sSheep is much like iSheep nowadays.

Samsung is as good as Apple in marketing lies now. No wonder they fight each others to death because they are same kind of company.

This is not "Octa-Core" processor. This is "4+4" cores. "Octa-Core" sounds great but it's a lie.

Why "4+4"? This is a copy of NVIDIA solution of "4+1". But after Apple tarnish Samsung's reputation of "Blatant Copy", i.e. Samsung is a copier with no innovation. Samsung is smarter of not doing "4+1" to get into reputation and legal troubles. Samsung can't 'Blatant Copy" "4+1". Samsung is forced to do "4+!1". Because apparent Samsung "quad-core" A15 is consuming 70% more power just as stated in Samsung announcement. Samsung is way behind Qualcomm in "Quad-Core A15" power consumption since QualComm's S4 Pro "Quad-Core A15" does not need companion core demonstrated by HTC DNA and Google N4. Since Samsung does not want "Blatant Copy" "4+1" from NVIDIA, "4+4" is a forced choice with occupying more real estate and gate counts. Choice of A7 is working against 3rd party developer since optimization for A15 does not work for A7. It's going to have inconsistent performance.

See, youre completely wrong, and on a number of levels. This isn't about innovation or copying(despite how the marketers want to spin it). Its about progression. Nvdia made a 4+1 SOC, and it was good. Samsung thought a 4+4 SOC would be better, and would move things forward.

It isnt about copying other companies. This is how technology evolves. Everyone sees what the other guy did and tries to come out with something a little better. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Look at TV's. We started off with big ole tube TV's, then some smart company made an LCD TV, then someone thought a Projection TV would be better, then Plasma, then LED, LCD/LED Hybrids, now OLED, curved tv's HD, Ultra HD.

Look at Gaming. Wolf3d was the first FPS, then there was Doom, then what ever else after that, and that genre of gaming has been progressing and evolving since then.

This is what true innovation is. Its the progression of technology. Some times its a one hit wonder (like the first iPhone) and other times its just the over all progression of the technology(ever iPhone/iTouch/iPad after the first one).


8 Cores.. In a Telephone..? I see in my time away in the Apple Universe, things have gotten Totally out of hand..

Who are you trying to call ?

The Borg in the Delta Quadrant ???


Oh come on, even an Apple user must be aware that processing power has nothing to do with making phone calls.