This quad core 1.5 Ghz Exynos chip isn’t exactly a surprise, because Samsung talked about it (Exynos 4412) before. Not to mention that there were plenty of Galaxy S3 rumors that said it has a quad core 1.5 Ghz processor. But they haven’t shown it yet, and they will get the opportunity to do so at MWC very soon.
The Exynos 4412 is made at 32nm, so it should be more efficient than the Tegra 3 at maximum load, which was made at 40 nm, but not sure if overall, too, because Tegra 3 has that 5th core for lower-end tasks. They say it offers a 26% performance improvement in processor performance, which if you do the math you realize it almost entirely comes from the increase in clock frequency from 1.2 Ghz per core to 1.5 Ghz (25% increase).
While they haven’t officially announced this yet, I believe the GPU is the same one they promised for the dual core 1.5 Ghz Exynos 4212 chip. They said that GPU had a 50% increase in performance over the current one in the Galaxy S2. This improvement is most likely possible because of the jump from 45nm for the dual core Exynos to the 32nm Exynos 4412 (they used the more efficient transistors to increase performance at the same or lower power consumption).
It should help Exynos beat the new dual core Krait chips in terms of GPU performance, and probably even Tegra 3’s GPU, as well as its CPU because of the increase in clock speed, but I would expect Nvidia to announce their faster Tegra 3+ at MWC, too. That being said, if this is all it has to offer, Exynos might fail to become the most powerful chip this time around. The reason for that is because quad core chips sound better for marketing purposes than they do in practice.
For most apps, the performance of the first or first 2 cores matters a lot more right now, so something like OMAP 4470 with its 1.8 Ghz dual core CPU, or the dual core 1.5 Ghz Krait chip, should be significantly better. Not to mention that unless you use something like Ubuntu for Android, that when you dock it, it uses the full OS, phones have little use for a quad core over a dual core when it comes to multi-tasking.
So I don’t want to pronounce myself yet, before we know everything about this Exynos chip, but if this is all there is to it, then the Galaxy S 3 probably won’t be the most powerful phone on the market when it arrives before summer, and Samsung would be better served by a dual core OMAP 4470 or a dual core Krait chip for their next flagship phone. After all, it’s not like the first time when they use chips other than theirs in their own phones, even in the Galaxy S.
It’s a bit unfortunate because of the timing, because Cortex A15 chips (Exynos 5250) are not ready yet. The alternative would be to wait until fall or so to put Cortex A15 and Cortex A7 in their Galaxy S3. But Samsung probably doesn’t want to wait this long, and will just announce a Galaxy S 3 Plus with it or something.