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.

  • razruser

    Samsung should have made this one with higher clock speed at least 2.0 GHz to 2.5 GHz so that no other competitor can easily urpass them. At this 1.5GHz clock speed, it can be surpassed easily by Snapdragon S4 1.5 Ghz or the TIOMAP series 5 clocked at 2 Ghz.

    • Dan

      Do you know how much extra power and cost that would mean?! if you want to get those kinda speeds you would need to tap the design out on something like 20nm rather than 32nm otherwise if would just not be possible due to the critical logic paths, the cost at these kinda nodes is easily $10k per wafer. Even with that kinda clock speeds it does not mean that it cant be beaten by another chip if that one has a slightly different, more optimized architecture and subsystem.

      • 1.8 Ghz and maybe even 2 ghz should be achievable thanks to the move to 28 nm, without an extra cost of power consumption. OMAP 4470 proves it and also the dual core Krait, which while it’s at 1.5 Ghz, it acts more like a dual core 2 Ghz Cortex A9.

        • Yes, but the 4 A9’s @ 1.5ghz should be very power efficient, as the cores will be able to spread the load over the 3-4 threads when web browsing/ multitasking instead of thrashing 1-2 cores.
          According to Anands review, a quad core A9@ 1.6ghz would match or beat Krait in many workloads…In multithreaded apps it would get destroyed.

          For the record ARM has already showed a design for A9 @ 2.5ghz on 28nm HKMG..

  • ConCal

    Android Authority has the best articles about mobile processors. You guys rock, keep it coming!

  • “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).” REALLY ?

    Do you really think that a higher clock frequency is enough to boost overall performance ?

  • lezep

    The Galaxy S3 has to have an Exynos 5250, could Samsung pull an Apple and wait longer than an annual refresh in order for that to happen?

  • hot_spare

    You guys just speculate without much research. First Galaxy S also used their own SoC (initially called Hummingbird, then Exynos 3110). It used a PowerVR 540 at 200 MHz. Samsung mentioned that this year they are concentrating on efficiency and battery life rather than raw power. If you read carefully, they mentioned in the ISSC “Samsung optimized its 45 nm processor for performance first and later found it could not get its full performance without exceeding power consumption limits. The 32 nm chip was optimized first for power consumption”.

    Also you are wrong that Exynos 5250 has 2 small A7 cores. Not true. It does not use the big-little configuration.

    As for OMAP and Krait, how can you say that they will perform better than Exynos 4412? Nobody compared them yet. And how many times somebody has to tell you that CPU clock has nothing to do with GPU frequency. Nobody said anything about GPU in 4412. It was mentioned that 4212 will have 50% better 3D graphics because it has Mali400 running at 400Mhz compared to 267Mhz on 4210.

    • I never said the Exynos 5250 has 2 small A7 cores. I’ve only said that I’d like to see A15 paired with A7 soon, and Samsung has already said that it will have a Cortex A7-based chip by the end of the year, but it’s probably not the Exynos 5250.

      Most apps use just 1 core, or 2 at most. Since Exynos 4412 will use Cortex A9, and OMAP 4470 will also use Cortex A9, then whoever has the most speed on the first 2 cores will win in most real world cases. The OMAP 4470 will have 1.8 Ghz cores, while the Exynos 4412 will have 1.5 Ghz per core.

      Krait uses 1.5 Ghz per core, but Krait is about 30% more powerful than Cortex A9 at the same frequency.

      The only cases in which a quad core Cortex A9 might beat those is perhaps browsing, but even there I’d still bet on higher clocked Cortex A9, Krait or Cortex A15 – and in some games that are optimized for 4 cores. Thanks to Tegra 3 we might see quite a few optimized for quad cores, but games still depend mostly on the GPU, so the difference for gaming will still be based mostly on the GPU rather than a lower clocked quad core Cortex A9 vs a higher performance dual core chip.

      • You haven’t looked at all at the GPU here though. The 4412 could have the MaliT604 coupled with the CPU. That achieves about 5x the graphics of the Mali 400 so it will easily surpass the Tegra 3, Krait etc. perhaps even the iPad 3.

        Also, quad core is extremely useful. Sure ONE app might not use more than one core but you never use just ONE app. There is a lot of stuff to run. For example, you need run Android (obviously) then let’s say some music, then your actual app which could be multithreaded perhaps not (most likely not). Also there is tons of background services that run and suck up CPU power. Just have a look in the apps section of your phone.

        Just to surmise. The 4412 should surpass almost everything even in day to day usage because there are 10s of processes running so quad core IS still very useful. It will beat the A5X too because the Tegra 3 already did that (NOT IN GPU JUST CPU) And IF it has the mali T604 it should match or beat the A5X but if it doesnt then…. :/

        • Well what you have to consider is that the naming scheme remains the same old 4 series, so that means the same generation of components..Mali 400 mp4 @400mhz,
          The good news is that Exynos is usually the best designed and fastest SOC and will remain so for the 3rd generation on the spin in Android…not forgetting they also make Apples chips from way back to the original iphone…
          Those 4 Cortex A9’s will be paored up with a duel channel memory controller unlike Tegra 3..Mali even @50% faster will be wayy faster than Tegra also has a far better process..even than 28nm Krait, (which is a dodgy process) it is a gate first HKMG.

          I was hoping for the T604..but that is reserved for the 5 series…as is the T658 on the Exynos 5450 with 4 Cortex A15’s @2ghz.

  • galaxys3[dot]in