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Samsung Fires Up 8-Core Exynos 5

Samsung Fires Up 8-Core Exynos 5
By Nancy Owano

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Now that Samsung has brought its own solution via Heterogeneous Multi-Processing to enhance its Exynos 5 chipsets, the consumers are clearly the winners. No more task-shifting in the process translates into mobile devices like the Galaxy S IV that run more smoothly and perform better without sacrificing battery life.
 


Samsung Electronics on Tuesday announced a new ingredient for its Exynos 5 Octa that will finally draw on the full benefits of its eight-core Exynos chipsets. The Exynos 5 solution is called Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP), which is able to fully leverage ARM's big.LITTLE architecture.

The announcement will mark the end of the this-or-that approach that Samsung had to accommodate before HMP. In the less-than-ideal world, an eight-core chipset sounded awesome, but Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa system-on-a-chip (SoC) was not actually using eight cores at once.

A combination of two quad-core processors was used depending on the task, whether high power as in intense gaming or low power. As such, only four cores were ever active at a given time. (Samsung's Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S IV, has Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa.)

All that "this or that" is due for a change this year. According to the announcement on Tuesday, Samsung will introduce a new system that enables its eight-core processor to simultaneously use all cores thanks to HMP, which will join the two sets of cores together to run at the same time.

ARM big.LITTLE in Action

Enabling the use of all physical cores simultaneously is a technology feat that is significant for the practical purpose of beefing up performance. HMP allows Samsung devices to continue using the cores for intense tasks such as 3D gaming and offloading tasks to the others. Software threads with high computational intensity are allocated to the "big" cores, while threads that are less computationally intensive are performed by the "LITTLE" cores. The Exynos 5 Octa with the HMP solution will launch in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Why should we care? No more task-shifting in the process translates into mobile devices that run more smoothly is one simple answer. The result also translates into good performance without sacrificing battery life.

System-level designers, meanwhile, can now develop solutions that deliver better combinations of high-performance and low-power for devices that perform tasks such as gaming, augmented reality and advanced Web browsing.They will be able to specially purpose cores for certain tasks.

How revolutionary is this? Samsung's own HMP solution follows another introduction earlier this year into an octa core chip from Taiwan-based MediaTek, a semiconductor company.

Say Bye to Lag

MediaTek introduced its "True Octa-Core" processor in July and announced it was the first adopter of a true, authentic octa-core SoC in a mobile device.

"With MediaTek True Octa-Core, users can enjoy heavy web downloading, hardcore gaming, high-quality premium video viewing or other types of rigorous multitasking without experiencing lag times or excessive battery consumption," said MediaTek.

Now that Samsung has brought its own solution via HMP to enhance its Exynos 5 chipsets, the consumers are clearly the winners.

"It's usually assumed that the big CPU will do all the performance-critical work, however, power-efficient little cores can handle many significant workloads all on their own, so the workload is balanced within the system," said Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Samsung Electronics. The real benefit, he said, belongs to the users who can enjoy high-performance, low-power mobile products.
 

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shamilt@columbus:

Posted: 2013-10-03 @ 2:11pm PT
Samsung is becoming my choice for equipment - not just Smartphones and TVs. They are the leader and I am going to follow.



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