Samsung goes for eight cores with new Exynos 5 Octa processor

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Samsung’s CES keynote has been used to make some announcements – the most important of which is a brand new mobile processor called the Exynos 5 Octa. Why? Well, given that NVIDIA and Qualcomm spelt out their plans for 2013, Samsung – whose chips are also used, predominantly with their phones – don’t want them to have all the attention.

The Octa has eight cores, using a concept from ARM called big.LITTLE. There are four powerful Cortex-A15 processors to handle processing-intensive tasks, with another four Cortex-A7 cores to handle all the lighter work. Samsung says it would be 70 percent more energy efficient than the quad-core Exynos – basically because it is doing two things at once (you can have notifications on one quad-core, and a game on another quad-core).

“The new Exynos 5 Octa introduces a whole new concept in processing architecture…designed for high-end smartphones and tablets,” Dr. Stephen Woo, in charge of its System LSI Business at Samsung Electronics, said at the keynote. “When you want multiple applications to perform at their best, you want the best application processor currently available—the Exynos 5 Octa.”

Samsung says that any Octa-powered device will be able to handle HD movie streaming without dropping frames and loss of picture quality. They also demonstrated the Octa’s performance with Need for Speed Most Wanted on a reference device, with CNET reporting that it did look good, despite the technical hiccups when preparing the demo.

And with Samsung being the big user of the Exynos processors – because, well, they made it – expect this to be in new phones and tablets announced by Samsung at Mobile World Congress. Possibly a new Galaxy S IV?

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