Quad-core mobile processors are so 2013, but Samsung is late to the game with the eight core SoC layout.
Samsung announced two new SoCs at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The first offering is the Exynos 5422, which is a minor update to the Exynos 5420. The architecture is the same, but the Exynos 5422 is now higher-clocked. The Exynos 5422 comes with a total of eight cores, four ARM Cortex A15 and four Cortex A7.
Cortex A15 is used for heavy-duty tasks like gaming and streaming HD video, while the Cortex A7 core takes over for less intensive tasks like browsing or when the device is in idle. This allows for more energy efficiency as the Cortex A15 is power hungry while the Cortex A7 is very efficient. Nvidia has a similar strategy in the Tegra 4, where it uses a 4+1 core configuration. There are four Cortex A15 cores that run whenever the device is active, and a single Cortex A7 core takes over once the device is in idle mode.
The Exynos 5422 comes with Heterogeneous Multi Processing, which means that any combination of cores can be active at one time. The Cortex A15 cores are clocked to 2.1 GHz while the Cortex A7 cores are clocked to 1.5 GHz. The ARM Mali-T628 MP6 GPU is similar to the one used in the Exynos 5420. Samsung has introduced a new adaptive hibernation algorithm in addition to a mobile image compression engine to reduce memory bandwidth on devices with QHD screens. The Exynos 5422 can also be used in a device with a 4K UHD screen.
While the Exynos 5422 is geared toward the high-end segment, the Exynos 5260 is targeted at the mid- to high-end market. The hexa-core SoC features two Cortex A15 cores at 1.7 GHz and four Cortex A7 cores at 1.3 GHz. The GPU is an ARM Mali-T624. The Exynos 5260 also features Heterogeneous Multi Processing, and is 42 percent faster when compared to last-generation Exynos 5 hardware. The Exynos 5260 also supports WQXGA (2560 x 1600) displays.
The Exynos 5260 may be Samsung’s first hexa-core offering, but it isn’t the first time a manufacturer used the 2+4 configuration. MediaTek gets that distinction. The MediaTek MT6591 features a dual-core Cortex A15 and quad-core Cortex A7 configuration, and is said to be targeted at the mid-tier segment. MediaTek is said to be rolling out the MT6591 sometime later this quarter. In addition, the manufacturer has an eight-core offering that features LTE connectivity in the form of the MT6595.
The Exynos 5422 will likely make its way onto the Galaxy S5. An image leaked yesterday indicated an eight-core Galaxy S5 variant with a 2.1 GHz clock, which matches what the Exynos 5422 offers. The Exynos 5260 is used in the Galaxy Note 3 Neo, which will be available in March.