Samsung’s new year’s resolution is to build an eight-core processor, we hope they stick to it

Daniel Bader

November 21, 2012 1:22 pm

Samsung will outline its plans for an eight-core big.LITTLE chip at next February’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference. While the topics themselves sound riveting — they read like an electrical engineer’s fourth-year textbook — one takeaway from the agenda is that Samsung’s Exynos chip development is not slowing down.

big.LITTLE is ARM’s new basis for next-generation mobile computing: provide a certain number of cores for the hard work, in this case four Cortex-A15 cores running at 1.8Ghz, and a certain number of cores for more menial tasks, in this case four Cortex-A7 cores running at 1.2Ghz. This dramatically increases energy efficiency, as the high-power A15 cores are used only when needed. Due to the inherently larger die size of such a chip, it’s not known whether Samsung will debut this new eight-core chip in tablets, or even ARM-based laptops, before it eventually comes to smartphones.

Nvidia and Qualcomm are also expected to move into big.LITTLE production in a big way in 2013, coming up against Intel’s 22nm Haswell architecture which is said to be the company’s first truly competitive and energy-efficient mobile chip for smartphones and tablets.

Source: eetimes, ISSCC
Via: Engadget

  • Adam

    Building it and putting it inside a smartphone are two different things

    • Me Ted

      WTF does that even mean? Samsung’s new to this or something? Get a clue.

    • metoo

      8 cores? yes please! And if they can ramp it up to 4GHZ that would totally awesome too! I feel like the Pentium 4 is making a comeback with Samsung, so exciting!!!

    • metoo

      I can’t wait to see the phone the shove this beast into. I am ready for a 12″ phone!

  • Mr. X

    Samsung, take my money and give me 8 core Note III !!!!

  • tbone

    Man wtf… this e-peen contest for who has the most cores in their smartphones is getting idiotic. Improve the battery tech instead—now that’s what I’m talking about.

    • Jim R

      Personally looking forward to 16, 32, 64, etc cores.

    • Labrat

      You understand that theses extra four cores are for the battery life? yes?

      The A15 architecture is much more power hungry and should be paired with A7 to get a good balance of performance and battery life. I do agree that a Dual A15 and Dual A7 should be good for a phone, I wouldn’t mind this in a Tablet.

      Also, it appears that the OS would see 4 cores all the time, but under the cover it would be EITHER the A7 or A15 doing work. Asymmetric Multi Processor designs are most likely the future…

    • Rio

      You understand that Android is not even able to properly manage 4 cores right? What makes you think it will be ok with 8?

  • jonnny

    quad core is enough

    build me a better battery!!!

    and keep shrinking storage!

    those are what matter right now

  • Pike

    Why make an 8 core when you can just skip to 16…

  • deltatux

    What people are missing from this is that for normal tasks, only the Cortex A7 CPUs would be active. That means there will be 4 cores for these tasks. Once the system detects that there’s higher demands, it’ll switch to the high performance cores.

    NVIDIA basically prototyped this in their Tegra 3 processors. While using a LP Cortex A9 didn’t save much power, the theory is now further refined in this big.LITTLE design.

    Personally, I’m excited about this development, though I’m not sold on the quadcore Cortex A7. A dual core Cortex A7 paired with a quad core Cortex A15 makes more sense as the A7s are meant to be low power cores.

  • JP

    Ill do anything to make sure Samsung creates this processor!

    I’ve always loves Samsung’s mobile processors and how they are an inspiration for me to become an engineer and hoping to create the next gen mobile processors :)

  • cg

    Didn’t Sony already do that and have a terrible time of it?

  • Jesse

    Isn’t that a little….overkill?

  • John

    Grwat, 8 cores and EVEN WORSE battery life!

  • tweak

    How far do you think we are from a pocket sized ps3 complete with the cell et al. Plug in a micro usb to hdmi to your tv, bluetooth the controller and boot up a digital of the newest COD..we got to be getting close with 8 core processors etc..

  • LOL

    This is turning into the Intel vs AMD cpu Mhz race of back in the day…who could make the fastest chip, while at the same time each iteration was more power hungry than the last. Eventually they stopped that nonsense and switched to power efficiency. All the major companies need to stop focusing on cores and Mhz and switch all their R&D into batteries. No one is doing auto-CAD, photoshop, video-editing, etc on their phones like on PCs.

    • metoo

      Exactly. It’s like buying a farm combine for the road because it has a big engine and thinking that’s better than a properly designed car.

  • 2c

    RIP RIM!!!!

  • Michael

    I’d rather see a resolution to create products with better battery life.

  • metoo

    So, for intensive tasks, they are going to use a server CPU and for basic tasks they are going to use the now very old Cortex A7?

    Someone please tell me it’s April 1st.

  • pats

    R.I.P Apple.

  • ile2010

    Can’t wait until the next Samsung Galaxy Note S4 Turbo X8 3 QRSTUVWXYZ!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andy

    Good God…You’ve created a monster.

  • Stuntman

    I wonder how energy efficient these chips really will be. It seem that when someone invents a battery that lasts longer, someone else invents something that will suck more battery power and we’re back to square one in terms of battery life.

  • Fitey

    Not much point to it right now. Although phones are beginning to multitask, having 8 cores is a little much for such a small screen. How many programs will you actually want to run at once on a phone?

    It has nothing to do with battery life which can be conserved through cores shutting down when not in use (assuming the engineers are even semi-intelligent).

    I’m a power-user on my computer and still only need 6 cores (anything more is just for show for most people). Unless they’re going to also be sticking in high end graphics cards for high-def gaming it’s just a waste.

    I say this as a commissioned computer salesman: Unless you know what you need 8 cores for…. you don’t need 8 cores!