Samsung and ARM continue to highlight true 8 core multi-processing on Exynos 5420

by: Gary SimsSeptember 11, 2013

Exynos 5420 HMP with Angry BirdsYesterday Samsung confirmed that its Exynos 5420 processor can use all of its eight core simultaneously when it released a musical video composed of eight parts. The OCTA-pella video was a whimsical way for Samsung to show how the Exynos 5 Octa 5420 uses ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture to balance workloads across CPU cores, using the right core for the right task. Today the company, in conjunction with ARM, has continued to underline the Heterogeneous Multi Processing (HMP) capabilities of its processor by releasing a set of videos which show how the different cores are used under different workload scenarios.

[quote qtext=”An eight-core processor with HMP is the truest form of the big.LITTLE technology with limitless benefits to the users of high-performance, low-power mobile products.” qperson=”Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Samsung Electronics.” qsource=”” qposition=”left”]To recap, Samsung’s Exynos Octa 5410, which is in some versions of the Galaxy S4, had eight cores (four low-energy Cortex-A7 cores together with four more powerful Cortex-A15 cores) but only four of those eight could be active at any one time. The new chip, the Exynos 5420, allows for all eight cores to be active simultaneously. For more background on the history and technology behind HMP please read yesterday’s post.

The demonstrations, given by Ian Smythe of ARM, shows an activity monitor that plots the usage of each of the eight cores while an Android device powered by the Exynos 5420 is used in different situations including playing a game or loading an image intensive web page.

The first video shows how big.LITTLE HMP uses the different cores when running Angry Birds:

The next video shows how big.LITTLE HMP can work with the GPU, via RenderScript, to improve the quality of images from a web page:

The final video shows the Quickoffice app loading and scrolling thought a presentation. As with the other videos the activity monitor shows how the different cores are used:

  • Zyra

    I’m guessing Galaxy Note 3 (3G version) still using a boosted exynos 5410 not the exynos 5420?

    • hot_spare


      • lesportif

        Because 5420 won’t be available before Q4.

    • tw1sted247


    • Bone

      The Exynos Note III “comes later” which means all markets will get the SD800 initially. The 5420 will be the first fully implemented Octa-core CPU, it IS a boosted 5410 but with properly working core migration and slight upclock.

      BTW custom ROM fun shows that the 5410 can even the SD800 CPU performance, so all 8 cores at work at a higher clock will see the 5420 as the new CPU champion, the Mali T628MP6 won’t be behind the Adreno 330 either. Question is of course heat and power…

    • D’Ander McSullivan

      I thought it used the 5420. Not sure though

  • Raaj

    These videos look remarkably similar to the first big.LITTLE demo by a tech guy.. Remember the Yellow tablet??? How different processor cores got highlighted in that video!
    I hope this time it actually works in real time!!!
    Go Sammy!

    • That original video you mention never showed the A7 and A15 cores working at the same time it only showed how the tasks migrated from the A7 to the A15 and how one shutdown when the other started.

      You can see it here:

      • Raaj

        Yup I knew I was missing something! But mostly it was the yellow tablet that kept coming back to my mind rather than the actual info contained in the video.. Weird!!!
        Thank you for your reply

  • lesportif

    Core-migration IS the real good way to implement big.LITTLE, not HMP.

    • john

      How so?
      I personally thought ARM was a perfect platform for a heterogeneous system. In fact, there are numerous microprocessor application involving multiple ARM cores in heterogeneous set up.

      • lesportif

        – four cores are enough (rarely used at the same time actually). 4 A15 cores are largely enough computing power
        – HMP implies high complexity scheduler. Easier to mess up and harder to design
        – power to performance ratio decreases. It’s NOT what you want in a phone !

        Qualcomm’s variable voltage/frequency per core is still way more efficient than this octa-monster.
        By the way, newer ARM architectures are coming in 2014. I guess we won’t be talking about this stillborn architecture very long now.

        • john

          Four cores are enough
          -But that’s the beauty of the task scheduler. Essentially it will assign number of active threads according to the job it needs to handle, ie) it knows when more threads are required.
          HMP implies high complexity scheduler
          -This is very true, and it is the heart of the matter. However, in reality the extra overhead time isn’t that much and again ARM is much better suited ISA for it.
          Power to performance ratio decrease
          -This is simply not true. Actually it is true Power/performance will decrease and performance per watt, performance/power will increase. The reason why heterogeneous system is being used more frequently is because at the cost of higher complexity, you can make more efficient powerful silicons-lower power dissipation by handling number of cores being used accordingly, higher maximum performance. It’s like a hybrid super car, have higher maximum speed, and has a fuel saving mode when it goes slow.
          -Qualcomm’s variable voltage/frequency
          This is an old trick. Variable clockspeed and voltage control is really nothing new. Keep in mind here that this way you rely on higher clockspeed for higher performance. And power consumption increases squarely proportional to the clockspeed, as a result higher the performance goes, lower the performance per watt. There is a reason why AMD, Intel, and other silicon manufactures are going with multiple thread heterogeneous systems.

          • Max Buschkopf

            Someone who knows what they are talking about, you my friend are refreshing. HMP is clever to say the least.