exynos 5250 Samsung announces the first ARM Cortex A15 based SoC

If there was every any doubt that ARM based processors were going to be limited in terms of performance, Samsung's new 32nm Exynos 5250 Cortex-A15 based 2GHz dual core SoC should put a lot of doubters minds at rest. This is but a first step of what we can expect over the next couple of years from the ARM camp and we have a feeling that the x86 guys are going to start to see some serious competition in the entry-level notebook segment once Microsoft launches Windows 8 for ARM.

If there was every any doubt that ARM based processors were going to be limited in terms of performance, Samsung's new 32nm Exynos 5250 Cortex-A15 based 2GHz dual core SoC should put a lot of doubters minds at rest. This is but a first step of what we can expect over the next couple of years from the ARM camp and we have a feeling that the x86 guys are going to start to see some serious competition in the entry-level notebook segment once Microsoft launches Windows 8 for ARM.

The Exynos 5250 is but a stepping stone for Samsung, yet the company claims that it offers twice the processing power over one of its Cortex-A9 based Exynos chips clocked at 1.5GHz, or some 14,000 DMIPS compared to 7,500 DMIPS. Beyond that, Samsung has doubled the memory bandwidth to 12.8GB/s, twice than not only of current dual core Cortex-A9 ARM processors, but also twice that of Intel's latest Atom processors.

Samsung didn't specify the graphics core in the press release but the company did mention that the GPU used is more than four times faster than what we presume is the ARM Mali-400 MP used in its current Cortex-A9 based processors. That said, we're not sure that's going to be good enough as Samsung is making some bold claims of WQVGA or 2,560×1,600 resolution support and you're going to need one beefy GPU to run 3D stuff at that kind of resolution. Samsung also claims that the extra memory bandwidth is needed to be able to handle these kinds of resolutions. That said, on devices with 3D displays, we're still expecting to see resolutions of 1,280×800 as that would be exactly half of WQVGA, ideal for 3D displays in other words.

exynos 5250 Samsung announces the first ARM Cortex A15 based SoC

But wait, there's more, a lot more. The Exynos 5250 also sports an embedded DisplayPort interface that supports panel self-refresh technology which in simple terms means that static pages doesn't require the GPU to be powered up so that they can be displayed, instead this is handled by the frame buffer in the timing controller. Shall we keep going?

For those interesting in snapping pictures and video the Exynos 5250 should impressive with the ability to shoot 8Megapixel stills at 30fps and 1080p video at 60fps. There's also a hardware video codec, HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 connectivity (finally!) and SATA, eMMC4.5 and eSD3.0 support so there's no shortage of storage options available for the device makers.

Although Samsung claims that the Exynos 5250 was designed specifically for high-end tablets, we can easily see this chip ending up in some Android or Linux based notebooks in the not too distant future, especially when you consider the SATA support as it makes it easy for the notebook makers to use standard components. The Exynos 5250 is currently sampling to Samsung's customers and is expected to go into mass-production in Q2 next year which means that by this time next year we should have products in the market sporting the new processor. It will be interesting to see how much better the ARM Cortex-A15 core performs and what kind of device the hardware makers can come up with.

Source: Businesswire