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Samsung's Octa Exynos 5 eight-core chip is detailed

Goes up against Intel with an energy efficient processor
Fri Jan 11 2013, 15:25

KOREAN CHIPMAKER Samsung's latest mobile application processor design unveiled at CES has no less than eight cores, and this is no ordinary processor as the cores are divided among two CPU clusters with vastly different specifications, making the chip a heterogeneous processor.

One cluster is a high performance, high power, high frequency CPU running at 1.8GHz, using the ARM Cortex A15 architecture, while the other is a low power, lower performance processor running at 1.2GHz and using only one-sixth of the energy to run the ARM Cortex A7 architecture, which the previous generation Exynos 4 also used.

The purpose of the processor, which is fabbed on 28nm process technology, is to allow a wide variety of applications to run at a variety of speeds, but always ensuring energy efficient processing.

It will be possible to run a task on the fast cluster when performance is a must and then shift it to the low power cluster when less performance is required.

The approach to saving energy is vastly different from the technology shown off by Intel last year, which was a near threshold voltage processor that could dynamically vary chip frequency from a few hundred megahertz to several gigahertz depending on the supply voltage.

Samsung can choose to implement the processor in its own smartphones and tablets or perhaps license the technology to Apple, since Samsung fabs processors for use in many of Apple's devices.

Samsung's latest processor will be further detailed at ISSCC in San Francisco next month, where we will be able to report further on its plans. µ


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