Oct 26 AT 10:30 PM Taylor Wimberly 28 Comments

Samsung’s Exynos will go big.Little in 2012, could extend battery life up to 70%

Samsung Exynos

Curious about which processor will be used in the Samsung Galaxy S III? Rumors have suggested that Samsung was working on a quad-core 2.0 GHz processor. That sounds crazy, but there is a small chance it might actually come true.

Samsung already announced their upcoming dual-core 1.5 GHz Exynos 4212. This system-on-a-chip appears to be similar in design to the 1.2 GHz Exynos 4210 found in several Galaxy S II phones. But it is now built with Samsung’s advanced 32nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) low-power process, which promises “30 percent lower power-level over the previous process generation.” It looks like the smaller process technology allowed Samsung to crank up the speed of the GPU too, because they are promising “50 percent higher 3D graphics performance over the previous processor generation from Samsung.”

I’m sure many of you would love a phone that operates at 30 percent lower power while delivering 50 percent higher 3D graphics performance, but is that a big enough jump for the Samsung Galaxy S III? If Samsung holds off on releasing the SGSIII till the second-half of 2012 there might be another option.

At this week’s ARM TechCon 2001 John Kalkman, VP LSI, Samsung Electronics said, “I’m extremely excited to announce that Samsung will deliver a new Exynos processor in 2012 that leverages both the Cortex-A7 and big.Little technology to meet the crucial demands of always-on and always-connected computing.”

I don’t want to dive into all the technical details of big.Little processing again, but the basic concept is that you combine high performance cores along side low-power cores in order to achieve the best possible combination of performance and battery life.

And when it comes to battery life, the early numbers are looking good. ARM is promising big.Little processing can extend battery life by up to 70%.

A sample big.Little implementation of Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A15.

The most likely setup that Samsung would go with would be two high-performance Cortex-A15 cores around 1.8-2.0 GHz and two low-power Cortex-A7 cores at 1.2 GHz. Based on the proposed release schedule, this would be built on a 28nm process technology.

That scenario might sound like a stretch, but we were already expecting the first Cortex-A15 processors like the OMAP5 around the second-half of 2012. Qualcomm will also release the first mobile processor at 28nm (Snapdragon S4) during the first-half of 2012, and we expect most of the high-end processors to migrate to 28nm by the end of next year.

I would be pretty amazed that Samsung could pull this off so fast, but they have been working closely with ARM for many years. Several eyebrows were raised when Samsung dumped Imagination Technologies’ Power VR GPU for the ARM Mali-400, but I heard rumors at Mobile World Congress that this move was in exchange for a future favor. It’s possible that Samsung collaborated on the Cortex-A7 design and that’s why they get first access to it.

We probably won’t know till next year’s Mobile World Congress which version of Exynos will be found in the SGSIII, but it’s always fun to speculate on future technology that makes your new phone feel old. If I were Samsung, I’d put all my R&D resources toward rolling out this next-gen Exynos as soon as possible and put it in the SGSIII, even if that means pushing back the release several months.

Via: YouTube

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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  • Richard Yarrell

    I will be definitely keeping a major eye on both Samsung and Htc in 2012. Quadcore is the goal and excellent battery life is a major obstacle all manufacturers have to face. 2012 should be pretty fun in the world of technology I definitely look forward to 9 months from now mark it down boys.

  • Tico4674

    As usual Taylor delivers another great mobile tech news article. Is it me or is samsung at the forefront of mobile technology with their displays and soc’s? Thanks again Taylor!

    • thel0nerang3r

      Not to knock on the writer, but

      .” It looks like the smaller process technology allowed Samsung to crank up the speed of the GPU too, because they are promising “50 percent higher 3D graphics performance over the previous processor generation from Samsung.”

      does not necessarily mean faster clock speed. You can get big improvements through better IPC.
      CPU/GPU gain more then just faster clock speeds in each new generation.

  • Atrix

    Taylor how do I let you know of “top secret” info………?

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      You “contact” me………?

  • sammy

    and for sure apple will be begging Samsung to supply them with CPU and RAM.

  • 4TOPS

    I wish i could wait this phone

  • crickerman

    Sounds good, I hope they get a better GPU for the galaxy s III, The mali 400 is pretty good but it is just too old and outdated…..

    • mmmmm.

      What?….. mali 400 out dated???

      Are you sure you googled it ??

      • crickerman

        The Mali-400mp came out in 2008….it would have been nice if it had the Mali-T604, which would have been much more comparable to the Power VR SGX-543MP2.

        Keeping in mind that the GS2 came out (in europe and around the world) many months before the iphone4s.

    • https://plus.google.com/117702410245683101961/posts Lucian Armasu

      Mali400 is not outdated. It’s just that Apple used a much bigger GPU in their SoC. Samsung could probably double the GPU, too, but I don’t really see the point. The iPhone 4S has significantly worse battery life than iPhone 4 because of it. Plus, it’s the CPU that matters for the fast majority of tasks, and the GS2 CPU is 50% faster than the A5 one.

      That being said, I’d like to see the Mali T604 with this chip, too.

      • https://plus.google.com/117702410245683101961/posts Lucian Armasu


      • Dave

        Just a point of contention here… It’s clock speed is 50% faster. That doesn’t equate to actual processing speed. The SGS2 tends to perform worse at CPU intensive tasks than the 4S (especially per clock). The 4S has signicantly better battery life versus the SGS2 too.

        • crickerman

          The GS2 is still on 2.3 though…. 4.0 will bring hardware acceleration… That should noticeably improve performance.

    • Zomby2D

      You’re kidding right? It’s currently the fastest GPU you can find in ANY Android phone.

      • crickerman

        “On any Android phone”

        I want it to have the best GPU on any phone. Android is my favorite mobile OS right now and I want it to have the best hardware possible. The Mali-400mp while good, is one generation old, I imagine that samsung saved the Mali-T604 for their GS3, but right now the SGX-543mp2 is the top contender in mobile GPUs.

  • Zhi Hao

    All ARM IP!!!

    Cortex A15 + Cortex A7 + Mali T604 = WIN!!!

    Although my inner fanboy tells me to wait for the PowerVR Series 6…

    Either way, the consumers win! Thank you, engineers and software designers!

  • http://www.androidnext.de/ Frank | androidnext

    “I’m sure many of you would love a phone that operates at 30 percent lower power while delivering 50 percent higher 3D graphics performance,”

    The biggest energy eaters in current smartphones are screen and radio, so I fear the effect of an optimized CPU on overall battery life would be but rather marginal.

    • Zomby2D

      Playing 3D inensive games usually means a big drop in battery charge on my GS2. A 30% lower energy consumption in those cases would be very welcome. But for browsing, email, texting, etc… it’s true that the difference would be rather marginal.

  • Bpear96

    Things just got crazy, this makes me look at the iphone 4 and LMAO :)

  • triangle

    I’m not a junkie for these higher spec processors, but this does sound pretty amazing.

  • Darkseider

    Life is good in the mobile world now that’s for sure. With the Tegra 3, next-gen Exynos, Cortex A-15 w/ A7 (BIG.Little) being demoed yesterday and the Snapdragon S4 coming around year end and 2012 will certainly be interesting. Let’s not forget that by year end next year early 2013 the Cortex A-15 chips will be entering the fray at 28nm no less. Smartphones and tablets will get a huge increase in performance with no noticeable impact to battery. Hell maybe even a positive impact on the battery due to these technologies.

  • Nathan

    I can’t wait that long but I will be so excited to see them in action though

  • Steve Jobs

    My company is going to patent this technology two years after Samsung uses and the USPTO will grant it to us!

  • saumu

    hmmm, point to consider when arm announced the mali t604 last year samsung was also announced as being one of arms first licensees for it and now with this announcement …

  • Thomas

    Just because Samsung is using Cortex A7 in the next generation of Exynos doesn’t necessarily mean it’s using Cortex A15 as well, we’ll likely see a 2.0ghz, dual core A9 paired with a 1ghz, dual core A7 on 32nm. Samsung isn’t using the Exynos 4212 in the GS3 for certain, Samsung designed that chip for the Galaxy Nexus before Google replaced it with the TI OMAP 4460, and Samsung has already confirmed the GS3 will be using a quad core Exynos chip which the Exynos 4212 is not.

    Basically, GS3′s Exynos will be a 2.0ghz, 2xCore A9, 1.0ghz, 2xCore A7 and Mali T604 on a Q2 release schedule, there’ just no way Samsung would wait until Q3 to launch its GS3 after the iPhone 5 or have the A15 that early (altho’ I’d be happy to be proven wrong)

  • pritams

    trying hard…