Sep 07 AT 2:26 AM Taylor Wimberly 39 Comments

Samsung’s dual-core CPU Orion coming to Galaxy this year?

Not to be outdone by NVIDIA, Samsung also went ahead and announced their next-generation dual-core CPU for smartphones. Named the Orion, it will feature a pair of 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores paired with an enhanced GPU that offers 5x the the 3D graphics performance over the previous generation Hummingbird.

NVIDIA is also claiming 5x graphics performance of previous generation single-core CPUs, so it will be interesting to see these two processors go head-to-head and find out who comes out on top. Little is known about the complete architecture of NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 system-on-chip, but Samsung could have the advantage with modifications they have made to the ARM Cortex-A9 reference design. Samsung included several bonuses like a 1MB L2 cache to optimize CPU processing performance, added support for DDR3 memory, and features an onboard native triple display controller.

Samsung has been using a PowerVR SGX GPU from Imagination Technologies, so it’s likely we will see the next-gen version being used with the Orion processor. I haven’t heard of any units shipping yet, but the Orion could be the first system-on-chip to get the new SGX Series5XT GPU (which is rumored for a wide range of SoCs from Apple, Intel, Sony, TI).

The Orion will be available to “select customers” in the fourth quarter and mass production will occur in 2011. This means Samsung will use their own CPU in the next generation of Galaxy smartphones, which I expect will launch before Christmas. Some analyst had claimed Samsung had a Q4 hole, but you have to be crazy to think the nations largest handset maker would miss out on the important holiday shopping season.

Another possible customer for the Orion processor could be the rumored Playstation phone from Sony Ericsson. The Sony Playstation Portable 2 is also rumored to include the PowerVR SGX Series5XT GPU, so it makes sense both devices would be based around a similar platform.

Qualcomm and Texas Instruments have also said they would have dual-core CPUs available in Q4, but we have yet to hear any official product announcements. HTC is working with the new dual-core Qualcomm in the HTC Glacier device, but we know it’s Adreno 205 GPU will be less powerful than the current Samsung Hummingbird. We could also see TI’s OMAP4 in a Motorola smartphone this year, but once again that GPU is the same as the Hummingbird (SGX540).

Who do you think will produce the best dual-core processor for smartphones this year? Will it be NVIDIA or Samsung?

Show Press Release

Samsung Introduces High Performance, Low Power Dual CORTEXTM – A9 Application Processor for Mobile Devices

TAIPEI, Taiwan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor solutions, today introduced its new 1GHz ARMĀ® CORTEXTM A9-based dual-core application processor, codenamed Orion, for advanced mobile applications. Device OEM developers now have a powerful dual processor chip platform designed specifically to meet the needs of high-performance, low-power mobile applications including tablets, netbooks and smartphones. Samsung’s new processor will be demonstrated at the seventh annual Samsung Mobile Solutions Forum held here in Taiwan at the Westin Taipei Hotel.

“Consumers are demanding the full web experience without compromise while on the go,” said Dojun Rhee, vice president of Marketing, System LSI Division, Samsung Electronics. “Given this trend, mobile device designers need an application processor platform that delivers superb multimedia performance, fast CPU processing speed, and abundant memory bandwidth. Samsung’s newest dual core application processor chip is designed specifically to fulfill such stringent performance requirements while maintaining long battery life.”

Designed using Samsung’s 45 nanometer low-power process technology, Orion features a pair of 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores, each comes with a 32KB data cache and a 32KB instruction cache. Samsung also included a 1MB L2 cache to optimize CPU processing performance and provide fast context switching in a multi-tasking environment. In addition, the memory interface and bus architecture of Orion supports data intensive multimedia applications including full HD video playback and high speed 3D action games.

Samsung’s new application processor incorporates a rich portfolio of advanced multimedia features implemented by hardware accelerators, such as video encoder/decoder that supports 30fps video playback and recording at 1080P full HD resolution. Using an enhanced graphics processing unit (GPU), the new processors are capable of delivering 5 times the 3D graphics performance over the previous processor generation from Samsung.

For design flexibility and system BOM cost reduction, Orion integrates a set of interfaces commonly used in mobile devices to configure various peripheral functionalities. For example, with this processor, customers have the choice to use different types of storage including NAND flash, moviNANDTM, SSD or HDD providing both SATA, and eMMC interfaces. Customers can also choose their appropriate memory options including low power LPDDR2 or DDR3, which is commonly used for high performance. In addition, a global positioning system (GPS) receiver baseband processor is embedded in the processor to seamlessly support location based services (LBS), which is critical in many emerging mobile applications.

Orion features an onboard native triple display controller architecture that compliments multi-tasking operations in a multiple display environment. A mobile device using the Orion processor can simultaneously support two on-device display screens, while driving a third external display such as a TV or a monitor, via an on-chip HDMI 1.3a interface.

Orion is designed to support package-on-package (POP) with memory stacking to reduce the footprint. A derivative of Orion, which is housed in a standalone package with a 0.8mm ball pitch, is also available.

Samsung’s new dual-core application processor, Orion, will be available to select customers in the fourth quarter of 2010 and is scheduled for mass production in the first half of 2011.

Via: Engadget

Source: Samsung

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Dexter

    I know that this is most certainly the wrong place to ask about this but I really need some help. I lost my Evo and I’m really worried, not because the phone was expensive, but because all my accounts are still signed in and private info is open. Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Facebook etc. Is there anyway I can sign out all these accounts and delete my info remotely. I’m probably asking for something over the top but thanks.

    • http://Website LG

      Just have Sprint turn off your phone. They wont be able to log in when the phone isnt turned on.

    • http://Website Usman

      Seriously? Just change all your passwords NOW and they won’t be able to get to your information… they’ll automatically be logged off on the phone.

  • http://Website Andrew

    I’d kill to see this or a tegra 2 phone by year end with HSPA+.. but we’re essentially in q4 now.. i don’t think either company will be able to push out phones by year end :(

    • http://Website Adam

      This is stil Q3


    competition is always good :)
    2010 Q4 is mobile CPU War.
    I have also read in magazine that Samsung has a hole in Q4.
    Dual Core mobile CPU’s should bring nice performance boost, an next-gen GPU’s. We have seen Tegra 2 demonstrations, and we know that that platform is real fast, yet we don’t know anything about Samsung Orion.
    we should get PS2 quality graphics this year, and if only games for Playstation Phone could be played on all android phones… that would be great.
    i bought Galaxy S about 2 weeks ago, don’t want it to get old so quick :D

    • Lucian Armasu

      You want technology to progress slower so you get a better feeling about yourself and your purchase?

      Why that’s not selfish at all.

      Just be happy with what you have and don’t complain so much when there’s a 10% better phone out there a month later. Get a new phone when it’s at least 2x better in everything: CPU, GPU, resolution, camera, recording resolution, etc

      • http://Website tottyrice

        i agree… just start thinking like cell phones as a full on computer (desktop/laptop), there’s always a better one that comes out 1-3 months later after your purchase just be happy with the one you have that it can perform the functions you “NEED” it to do and not what you “WANT” it to do…

      • NODO-GT

        I’m just kidding.
        I’m only for fast progress and innovation ;)

      • http://Website clocinnorcal

        He just made a comment. I wouldn’t exactly call that complaining. Why is everyone so quick to jump down other peoples throats……… Oh well

        Anyways……I think samsung will have the faster cpu/gpu combo, plus they are not strangers to the cell/smartphone biz. Nvidia has been a rock solid GPU company for many years now and their product maybe a wee bit slower (or not) but their gpu’s usually have very consistent FPS.

        So, I guess I really have no idea but I love the suspense :P

    • http://Website tottyrice

      that’s why i decided to just wait for the holiday season to get a new phone instead of getting one right now because my contract is over

  • http://Website John

    This processor must have an amazing performance. Samsung’s current Hummingbird based phones already dominate benchmark numbers:

    Interestingly, this table also contains Toshiba AC100 which features a Tegra 250 processor which is a dual-core design (Tegra 2?). But it still fails to beat out Hummingbird. Lets hope they have not completely optimized their hardware yet.

    2011 will be very interesting with all the variations of Cortex-A9 based designs coming from Samsung, TI and Qualcomm!

  • http://Website lautaro noggia

    samsung is a service of horror in spain

  • http://Website G1Joe

    Oh great!! Just when I thought I would be finally able to pull the trigger on a new smartphone coming out this month, they officially release this news! Being someone who is only going to drop up to $400 once every 2 or 3 years on a phone, I will never be able to choose! Isn’t technology great! LOL


    • sibbor

      G1Joe, it’s probably best to wait until the next high-end phones arrive. It seems all the best performing mobiles out there today actually is mid-end phones, already!

      I was about to buy a Samsung Galaxy S when it came, but had my doubts about the iPhone’ish look and because of the lack of camera LED. Then I noticed all variants off the phone, and noticed some of them looked really hot, but wasn’t available [over here] in Sweden. This in turn turned me off – I simply just wait until HTC, Sony or whatever company comes out with a better looking and performing device.

      Doesn’t really look like these companies are in a rush by just “pushing in” a new, better performing, GPU, but will actually wait for a whole architeture to mature. It looks like this will happen in Q4 this year. Perhaps Samsung will once again “win” the performance trophy. I do think the GPU of a Tegra 2 chipset will offer good features though.

      Now I’ll keep on waiting, meanwhile using my rooted HTC Hero together with Froyo, clocked in at 652 MHz. It’s actually descent… ARGH..! NO IT’S NOT!! Teleport me to Q4 already.

    • http://Website Usman

      $400 once every 2 or 3 years? No offense, but if you’re serious about that, then you may as well just buy whatever’s top of the line right now…because you’ll never be able to keep up with that sort of time table. I’m not saying that you need to spend more money… but what I AM saying is that you shouldn’t focus on having the latest greatest if that’s your plan.

  • http://Website HTCfanboy

    HTC better drop a bombshell on this dual core bidnezz!

  • http://Website dethduck

    But… But… I was holding out for a myTouch HD?!

  • http://Website zedklind

    damnit.. ive been waiting for a tegra2 phone for a year and just hearing a release for q4 (most likely nov) and samsung is putting out a BETTER chip? wtf man. i want to see some prototypes and benchmarks NAO

    • http://Website Usman

      No one’s saying the Orion will be better than the dual core Tegra’s. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking, because I’m assuming Samsung will keep their processors to themselves just like the S-AMOLED screens. I refuse to buy a Samsung phone, especially if it’s running a Crapwiz interface. Give me vanilla Android, or give me death.

  • http://Website HTC4life

    Im all in for Android and this is good news as the evolution of faster and better phones keep coming. While I was one of the first in my area to get the android when offered by BIG RED..I have to wince and stand by as I watch later adoptees get the Incredibles and X’s while I wait for my discount time to finally show up in 2011.

    So unless Santa shows up and they make a deal….I will hope that my patience holds up and 2011 Q2 brings me the phone I saw advertised way back( maybe dreamed)…

    Give me the badest of all….HTC SCORPION with dual core Gingerbread…
    Here I am..Rock me like a hurricane!

    • http://Website Usman

      You, along with all VZW’s other smartphone subscribers, should lobby for cheaper plans for people that are willing to buy unsubsidized phones and stay off contract. It actually works out much cheaper over two years.

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  • http://Website Khush

    2 words Battery Life

    • http://Website nastysquar3d

      I agree. What are we looking at with these phones and battery life? I have an original Moto Droid and it does OK with battery life (custom ROM / kernel) but I’m not willing to pony up the cash for a new smartphone that doesn’t improve on battery life compared to a two year old device.

  • http://Website Darkseider

    By the middle of next year dual core Cortex A9 based tablets whether they be nVidia Tegra 2, Samsung, TI or Qualcomm using PowerVR SGX 5xx or 4xx GPUs or maybe even the Mali GPU will be everywhere. Most mobile devices from phones to even netbooks/smartbooks running Android, Linux or ChromeOS will be running these SoCs and will start to redefine mobile computing. The end cometh for the x86 and I couldn’t be happier to see that ARM is taking its’ place.

  • http://Website alex

    i think samsungs will be better they have the best cpu and gpu now,anywasy i hope the mytouch hd will be dual core

  • http://Website Dave

    I think this is awesome, I’m just thinking of the games. I own a xbox and ps3 but the things phones can do now is crazy. I remember chess on oldschool phones or other things.

    I’m excited to see how this turns out as well. Can they make a quick come up? Only time will tell but this is one mean piece of hardware and only the first to come.

    Please santa can this go tmobile hahahaha

  • http://Website jojo

    if gaming is your thing, for sure get the Samsung Phone.

    overall, i would have to say Sammy has the advantage. it’s going to be fun over the next few months. um…iphone what ? LOL

  • jian9007

    If Samsung can give me a galaxy S with working GPS, their dual core processor, LED Flash on the camera (along with S-AMOLED screen, of course), 16GB or 32GB storage and HDMI out (not usb or micro HDMI) then I’ll take it. Vanilla Android or at least an option to turn off touch wiz would be a bonus though if has all the other items on my list then I can forgo it and either live with it or root it. Oh, and I’d like it by December too (I can dream, right?).

  • http://Website jed

    Well I have an ancient Razor that I was going to replace this week. then this news comes out.. guess I will have to wait until the holidays to see what kind of stocking stuffer I can pick up….

  • http://ProbablystillPowerVR Alex

    It’s probably an SGXMP variant, also known as Series 5 XT. Something like an SGX543MP4 – that should have roughly 5 times the power of an SGX540 at the same (or slightly higher) clock speed. Or maybe they have another trick up their sleeves altogether, I’m sure they haven’t been sitting idle since releasing all these wonderful Series 5 chips.

  • ochayemackay

    It’s definitely a SGX variant – don’t believe the hilarious ARM MALI rumours going the rounds ;-)

    Which variant I’m not sure – bets are between the 545 and an SGX543MPx (2-4 core).

  • Greg Bulmash

    Bought a Samsung Moment.

    Loses 3G signal, requiring a reboot. Has crap battery life. Less than 8 months after release, the upgrade path ended abruptly when Sprint announced their refusal to upgrade it to Froyo… *ever*. They make me commit to two years with the phone. I think they need to commit to two years of supporting it. If I had lots of spare cash or an underused law degree sitting around, I might sue.

    My 4-year-old Samsung monitor is flickering so badly that I’m having to replace it. Researched it on the net and seems that this is pretty common for this model of Samsung monitor at this age.

    Personally, I’m pretty much done with Samsung. They have some nice bells and whistles, but IMO their overall product quality philosophy is lacking. You can get that bad-ass processor and oogly-googly AMOLED screen, but there’s going to be some other point of failure that you’ll have to trade for it.

    As for Sprint, when you’re in a 2-smartphone family, the $400+ a year it would cost to jump ship to another provider is hard to swallow. We’ll see where pricing stands when my ETFs are low enough to consider bailing.

  • http://Website Catalectic

    This is all SPECULATION. There is no reason for Samsung to push out these devices before the year is over. Samsung hasn’t even finished it’s first Galaxy campaign. I just picked up the “Epic” on drop-day and I am still waiting for Froyo. It’s pointless to push through hardware out that doesn’t have the software to optimize it yet. I think Samsung will play it cool through the holidays and wait until the middle of 2011 to drop the next gen tech. They still have a series of “tabs” coming out before the end of the year that will be running on A8s. Why would they sell them with tech that would already be inferior? Just get an Epic and relax. The hardware is more than enough to keep you blazing fast for at least 2 years. WTH is it with everyone anyway? We are talking about PHONES!!! Who the hell is trying to re-task satellites from their cell phone anyway??? (-;

    • http://Website kodok

      I will satellite beam your building using a phone, no worry

    • http://Website Virtue

      Even Gizmodo says that phones will be out by the end of the year. If a major Tech blog like that is confirming it then I don’t see why I can’t expect a hell of a Super AMOLED phone (It’s really a given at this point) for Christmas in my stocking.

  • http://Website Virtue

    Oh please Santa, I’ve been a good boy this year. Please let this phone be on T-Mobile. Or at least play the 4 carrier launch card again.