It’s confirmed: Exynos 5 Octa uses an Imagination PowerVR GPU, not ARM Mali

March 12, 2013

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The Exynos 5 Octa (said to be powering the Galaxy S4) contains a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU, instead of a Mali design from ARM. What does that mean for the user experience?

When Samsung unveiled the Exynos 5 Octa processor back at CES in January, the Korean corporation has been coy about the GPU that will accompany those eight CPU cores. In fact, Samsung said nothing about it, raising suspicions that something was going on in the GPU department.

Brian Klug from AnandTech said at that time that Samsung has ditched the ARM-designed Mali GPU in favor of a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU from Imagination Technologies. This would be the first time Samsung has opted for a PowerVR GPU since the original Galaxy S.

You might know that one of the biggest proponents of the PowerVR GPU technology is Apple, which used various designs from Imagination in their “A” line of systems on a chip. In fact, Apple is a major stockholder in Imagination, owning about 10% of the British processor IP firm.

Imagination has recently confirmed that the Exynos 5 Octa is indeed using a PowerVR GPU. The SGX 544MP3 is a 3-core design clocked at 533MHz, and capable of achieving 51.1 GFLOPS, according to AnandTech.

So, how will the use of a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU affect user experience? It’s not easy to compare chips, especially if you want to do an apples-to-apples comparison and to make it all easily digestible even by non-experts. Let’s just say that AnandTech puts the Exynos 5 Octa between the A5X that powers the iPad 3 and the A6X on the iPad 4, in terms of raw performance (assuming that the memory interface is the same).

Apple’s iPads and iPhones have consistently beaten competitors in benchmarks, a performance that is at least partially owed to the excellent PowerVR GPUs inside. So, from a Galaxy S4 user perspective, the news that Samsung has adopted a PowerVR design is great.

But why hasn’t Samsung stuck with the Mali design from ARM? Well, from what I understand, ARM has ceased developing the Mali-T604 (seen on the Nexus 10) and Mali-T658 GPUs, and is now pushing second generation Midgard designs like the Mali-T624. In this context, either Samsung wasn’t able to integrate T624 in the Exynos 5 Octa, or ARM hasn’t finalized the design.

Either way, unless you’re really passionate about ARM’s designs, the switch to Imagination isn’t likely to affect you, at least not in a meaningful negative way. Now we’ll just have to wait for the first graphics benchmark to see how the new Exynos 5 Octa on the Galaxy S4 does against competitors. It should be a beast.

Comments

  • Bone

    Considering the iPad4 has the stronger GPU on the market followed by the iPad3 and technologically speaking the SIV will land right in between (pushing 33% less pixels), the SGX 544MP3 will smoke the Adreno 320.

    • http://www.facebook.com/santeri.liukkonen.1 Santeri Liukkonen

      Yeah, well said.. Does anybody have any idea of how many GFLOPS does Mali-400 achieve as clocked on the Note 2, and how about the adreno 320/330 ? I’m really lazy today so I won’t bother searching myself :D

      • Bone

        Ask Siri. Joking, just use Google Now.

        • Filip Justin

          Use S-Voice..

  • http://www.facebook.com/CorruptionDee Diogenes Jimenez

    I’ve been a fan of Power VR GPUs since the Dreamcast. Apple’s main advantage over Android has been their GPUS. This is great news. Hopefully they’ll use the Series 6 Rogue gpu for the Note 3.

  • hassan

    oh no why they use powerVR SGX 544MP3 i expect that the will use mali-T658 which is expected to beat even a new psp which is around 350 GFLops which beat every device of 2013 14 but now sammy is with powerVR if they will go with powerVR so they should put the new PowerVR 6 series instead of old 544MP3 which is in isheet 5
    i am diapointed i will not buy if it could happen ….

    • Peter

      There’s a truly wonderful button on all keyboards. It’s called the Period. You might want to try using it every now and then. It would make it much easier to understand your rambling. As it stands now, I stopped reading your comment half-way through. I simply couldn’t understand what you were saying. By the way, commas work well, too.

      • hassan

        i said that sammy should use mali not old powerVR GPUS buddy now understood ?

      • MasterMuffin

        He’s too “diapointed” (whatever that means) so he can’t write even nearly correctly :D

  • Bilal Mahmood

    tegra 4 is going to blow these chips out of the water 72 core KEPLAR gpu vs shitty powervr 3 core

    • http://www.facebook.com/hill3829 Kevin Hill

      Who knows, the chip may still be better overall.

    • Muhammed Koçak

      Tegra 4 doesn’t have 72 cores, it’s just marketing. And it’s not Kepler.
      Tegra 5 Logon will have the Kepler Architecture + Unified Shader (Tegra 4 doesn’t have it so it’s even now outdated.) After that Tegra 6 Parker will come with an Nvidia self made ARM 64 Bit Core (Project Denver) + A Maxwell GPU with 20 or even 14nm +Finfet. But this will be out in 2015-6… Tegra 5 will be seen starting 2014

  • Plamensito (GPU Analytics)

    This is not my Phone. The 51 GFLOPS is very low for 2013 and 2014.
    In September, Chinese player phones will benefit from the Mali T624, T628 or T658. Galaxy S4 will become a laughing stock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1164833531 Dennis Isaac Gutierrez Zeledon

    What about OpenGL ES 3? For those that care, this won’t bode well…

    • amine ELouakil

      the SGX544 so far is not compatible with OpenGL 3 only the Rogue (6xx) are compatible with OpenGE ES 3

      • http://www.facebook.com/santeri.liukkonen.1 Santeri Liukkonen

        Oh my god, that’s just terrible ! :o For example the Snapdragon 600 got the certification.. Does this mean that in matter of oncoming months Octa won’t be able to run some of the most advanced games while Qualcomm SOCs will ?

        • Andreas Larsson

          Considering that most games are made for I-devices that uses these gpu:s I would say that sgs4 will be better optimized for the most advanced and best games that are coming :-)

  • amine ELouakil

    The SGX544 is just a renamed SGX543 (certified for directX) that we’ve seen in the same GPU used on the iPhone 4S for example now what would be nice it’s to know on what clock it is running at an the number of cores, Exynos 5 (if octa) + an MP3 or MP4 version the die would be the size of laptop SoC with the powerconsumption that goes with, doesn’t make sense for a phone imo

  • gils001

    Aww I was hoping for opengl 3. I wanted the Dolphin emulator to be compatible when sonic advance finished his port

  • http://www.facebook.com/hill3829 Kevin Hill

    Samsung has pre-surpassed Apple. HA HA HA HA HA HA