Qualcomm’s CEO, Paul Jacobs, is in China right now talking to the media. Last week he was in America, specifically Las Vegas, to announce the company’s two newest processors: the Snapdragon 600 and the Snapdragon 800. Samsung was also in Las Vegas, and they too decided to show off a new chip, the Exynos 5 Octa. As the name suggests, it has eights cores. According to what Paul is telling the press, Samsung’s chip is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Is he right?

Samsung’s new Exynos 5 Octa does indeed have eight cores, but not all of them run at the same time. If you’re doing something intensive, like downloading a complicated web page, then four powerful ARM Cortex A15 cores light up and get things done. But if you’re doing something like checking your email, the chip turns off those advanced A15 cores and switches on four power saving A7 cores. It’s like a hybrid car. It uses one power source to get you to the supermarket, but another power source altogether so you can see your parents in the suburbs.

But to answer the question, is Paul right? We honestly can’t say because we’ve yet to test any devices that have either Samsung’s new chip or Qualcomm’s new chips. Until that happens, everything Paul says is just hot air.

And another thing, Samsung sells the most Android phones, right?Do you know what kind of chips they put in their high end devices? Samsung chips, of course.

When exactly are we going to be able to tell if the Exynos 5 Octa is just a PR move? Assuming the Galaxy S4 gets announced in April or May, then by the end of June we should see plenty of data that will either support Paul’s claim or make him blush because he made a mistake.

By that time the news cycle will have long forgotten this spat.

  • K.

    The problem with the new Samsung Exynos is the name “Octa” because it’s not a true 8-core processor. Personally I consider this as false publicity which will certainly work.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      The market will decide if it cares about any of this.

      Spoiler: It won’t.

      • K.

        I really hope you are right but usually people look at numbers even when they don’t understand what they mean. They just think the higher the better. How many times have I tried to explain to friends and family that the cpu frenquency is not all.

    • IT’S 8 cores aright. i don’t think you understand it. If you put 8 a15 cores in it, your battery would last 5min. But you will have amazing multitasking and power/speed. What Samsung have done with Exynos 5 octa is, two CPU’s with 4 cores each. The main cores are A15 and are clocked at 1.8ghz, the second set of cores are A7 cores clocked a little lower. The Lower Power cores handle the smaller tasks, such as, background processes, and lower power tasks. Such as, phonecalls, texts,email, downloads, web, music. But here is where the actual beauty of Samsung exynos 5 octa comes in. The more powerful cores aid the lower power cores when opening a app, browsing the web. the high power cores turn on for just milliseconds, just to aid the lower power cores do their tasks EXTREMELY FAST.

      While the high power cores are carrying load, i.e gaming, video, youtube, rendering, heavy multitasking, The low power cores take the load of smaller background tasks of the high power cores, thus Saving battery, and boosting the performance of the high power cores :) Big-Little is amazing they help eachother. Got this info of a friend over at MIT :))

  • Yeah, it is a stunt, playing with big numbers to get consumers to think it is the best. And, they have succeeded so far. Also, in technicality, it is a 8 core processor, but with how it works it really should not be called that.

  • Ayman Kouzayha

    Exynos 5 Octa has 8 cores, it’s ok to call it Octa, they can name the heck they want, Apple named a high res display Retina and no one said a sh*t about it.
    It’s not like they fooled to think the 8 cores work together, NO they showed YOU

    • as we learned from the nexus 7 and tegra 3, A9 cores are not very good, a dual core S4 (A15) can easily tear apart a quad core A9. So the Tegra 4 and s4 pro with their quad A15’s can beat the 8 core A9 architecture in samsung’s PR stunt

      • john

        Nonononono…first of all, Tegra 3 sucked because of the memory bandwidth which was a crippling bottleneck. A15 is faster than A9, but is designed with much more TDP. Yes, S4 was very good SoC indeed, but Exynos 4 which was already dated and based on A9 was still very good. Also, Exynos 5 have A15. The octa has 4 A15s and 4 A9s, hence LITTLE.big architecture.

        • no the 4 little are A7s a much more energy saving core

          • john

            edited. A9->a7 on octa

        • The A15 would use more power at the same chip geometry. But these are going into 28nm and smaller chips. Also, I think ARM may have reversed gear on this, or maybe just the rumors were wrong. When first discussed, all of the pundits claimed the A15 was being oriented more for server and other applications, not mobile. When first officially debuted by ARM, though, it was all about the mobile world.

      • Sea ttletech

        First of all its a7 & a15.

        Second a dual core s4 does not easily tear apart a quad core A9

        Case in point my quad A9 geekbench score


      • S4? That’s a Krait core, not an A15… about 30% faster than an A9 at the same clock speed (the A15 is a tad faster than either the Krait or Apple’s Swift core). If you’re looking at the Tegra 3 vs. the Qualcomm Scorpion S4s, you usually see Qualcomm doing well on single-tasking and memory intensive benchmarks; nVidia’s been held back by their single 32-bit memory interface, though it can be partially redeemed when run at 1.7GHz with fast DDR3 memory.

        And in fact, the Exynos 5 Octa annouced at CES sports four A15 cores and four A7 cores, no A9s. That should be no surprise, given that the Exynos 5 5250 SOC in the Nexus 10 is a dual-core A15.

  • just wait for qualcomm to release a octa-core cpu, based on the Same technology ;)

    • It takes a long time to build a new fab line to one up a competitor

  • Zeals

    The Exynos 5 is a PR stunt, the name Octo core suggests 8 cores, while true in the sense there are 8 cores, only four will ever be used at the same time, personally I don’t understand the need to have that many power saving cores, especially when Nvidia with their Tegra 3 and 4 only need 1 campion power saving core and I don’t see why you need 4 A7 cores for power saving over one. There are also other ways to save battery besides having a power saving core, as Snapdragon S4s proved, with the use of asynchronous cores and hotplugging, you don’t really need a companion core and even if you use one, it doesn’t guarantee amazing battery life as Tegra 3 showed. Asynchronous cores with hotplugging is a lot better, which is why I support Qualcomm in their claim that the octocore is just clever marketing and nothing more.

    • MasterMuffin

      Should they say “double quad”? No, there are EIGHT cores so they can can call it octa or whatever they want

    • hot_spare


      Try to look at these carefully.

      ‘Both CPU clusters can be active’
      ‘Any combination of cores can be ON at any time’

      ‘All cores working’

      Does this tell you something?

      • that is why exynos 5 octa is SO powerful! look at what i wrote lower down this page.

    • hot_spare

      To further add a few points —

      1] Why 4 companion cores in Exynos when nvidia uses a single core?

      Check ARM’s big.LITTLE whitepaper. Quoted —

      A final point to consider is that a big.LITTLE system incorporating Cortex-A15, Cortex-A7, CCI-400 and the GIC-400 is optimal for all big.LITTLE use-models. There is no configurable feature or optimization that favors a particular use-model. However, to reduce software complexity in the big.LITTLE task migration use model it is recommended that the same number of cores be implemented in the Cortex-A15 cluster and Cortex-A7 cluster

      Note that Tegra 4’s ‘companion’ core isn’t a A7. It’s a simply a A15 running at lower frequency. There is literally a huge difference in power consumption between A7 and A15.

      2] About asynchronous cores, here’s Samsung’s argument.


      They mention a few points which shows synchronous cores work better. Now obviously not everyone will agree. It’s always up for debate.

      Knowledgeable folks like you can draw your own conclusion.

      • Andrew Dodd

        Funny, when defending their synchronous architecture they completely neglect to tell you that in their synchronously clocked CPUs, cpuidle capabilities are effectively disabled when more than 1 core is active.


      • Zeals

        Thank you for the information, didn’t actually know that also really good read. While I’ll only take Samsung’s statements with a grain of salt because they are trying to market their product over s the ARM sheet on having 4 idle cores is interesting and I retract my statement that they only put 4 idle cores for marketing purposes.

        • hot_spare

          I am sure we will see many more youtube videos and power point presentations about these SoC in coming months!

      • Right… the fifth core in the Tegra 4 is an A15 optimized for operation at around 400-600MHz. Like the Tegra 3, this is not big.LITTLE in ARM’s way of thinking. It’s not normally visible to the OS… it’ll work pretty much the way it does in the Tegra 3. So Android will use it, Windows RT probably won’t.

  • MasterMuffin

    PR stunt? Yes. Did they lie about anything? No. Who da duck cares? Only Samsung haters. The point? Same as Intel’s when they said that they make only 1 core processors because android isn’t made for multicore processors but then they started making dual core processor = everyone tries to prove that their product is the best with fancy names (cough Apple’s retina cough), lieing (cough lumia 920 ad cough) or with everything they can.

    • K.

      1) Nvidia have 5 cores but they never called Tegra 3 or 4 a 5-core processor.
      2) I absolutely don’t see how the comparison with Intel is relevant in your example.
      3) The problem here is not the “fancy” name (by the way the name octa is not fancy). It’s just that the name is misleading and only chosen for marketing purposes. It’s not because everybody reading android authority know that it isn’t a true 8-core that the rest won’t get fooled. Just go into an electronic store and listen to what the seller tells people trying to buy computers, tvs…

      • MasterMuffin

        I agreed already that it was a PR stunt :) And if you didn’t get the Intel part, please read it again, it’s pretty obvious. I think octacore sounds fancy, and yes you could fool people to buy a device with octacore saying “it has octacore”, but I simply hate people who don’t do any research before buying a smart phone (many iphone buyers…), always do some research, don’t just buy the first phone you see!

      • nvidia called their tegra 3 : 4+1
        as long as i remember in maths in makes 5

        you should do a little (much?) reading before commenting other people :)

      • “Quad-Core with a 5th Battery-Saver Core” from the nVidia web site. So yeah, they do say 5 cores sometimes, 4+1 other times.

    • Denzo

      Apples retina was the best and still ranks high. If it wasn’t for the, you lot would still be using 480×800 res on crapdroids. And your tablets would be the same!! Thank apple for pushing the envelope. Don’t hate because without them what I say would be true.

      • MasterMuffin

        Crapdroids? After that word you lost all the respect and I stopped reading. If you have something to say, that’s a shitty way of saying it…

      • Dulshan Kalpage

        Nobody cares who did it first. And it certainly wasnt Apple. Android would’ve made its debut sooner or later considering it was started before iOS, maybe similar to blackberry, nevertheless, would come to its present state in a couple of years had the iPhone never made its debut. The iPhone was inspired by both LG and SONY devices, as well.

        Putting aside your clear ignorance (i.e. “crapdroids”) lets say you arent really fuming in your seat just because Android devices nowadays set the bar and standard for the next iPhone, just to preserve what little regard you may have on here. The display on the iPhone is nothing but a high res TFT LCD screen, nothing more. It isnt a whole different technology like AMOLED, isnt as sharp as LG’s latest gen displays, doesnt have extra visual enhancing technology like SONYs Bravia Engine, Motorolas Colorboost, or nVidias PRISM; nor is it a display with a proper aspect ratio. Its outdated, muddled, boring and tiny. Get over it.

        EDIT: Being an LCD display, the retina display doesnt even stack upto the SLCD2 on the One X, and it certainly does not even compare against the SLCD3 of the Droid DNA or HTC One.

        • Denzo

          So nobody cares who did it first.. But it matters that it wasn’t apple. Got it. You think iPhone was inspired by Sony and lg (yeah cause they make amazing handsets don’t they) only took them 10 years to come up with a decent phone. And guess who iPhone inspired. As per legal documents. As per court case. Just move on as you have no idea.

          • Dulshan Kalpage

            I didnt say it mattered, I said it wasnt Apple as a side note as an attempt to educate your ignorant self. Read properly. Of course they do. Guys like Nokia, Samsung, SONY/Ericsson, Motorola, LG are pioneers of the mobile industry. Which is why Apple still depends on them for parts for your glorious phone. Legal documents lol. Yeah sure follow them. You’re more of an ignorant fool than I thought.

            P.S: I see you’ve kept mum on everything else I said, besides voicing your own personal opinion and basing on it as reality. Either way, I see Android Authority has a new iSheep on their hands. Hahah enjoy.

          • Denzo

            Why does apple depend on them for parts? You heard of the term “economics”. Lol you’re funny.

  • adaman

    lol, wasn’t samsung help qualcomm manufacturing snapdragon chips on last july ?
    and this is qualcom response ?

    hmm I see a similar pattern here… *cough* fruit *cough*

  • Andrew Dodd

    “Do you know what kind of chips they put in their high end devices? Samsung chips, of course.” – Um, all of the USA Galaxy S3 units were Qualcomm chips. These devices actually wound up FAR better than the international version thanks to the Qualcomm chips.

    Why? Because software is as important as hardware now. Great hardware backed by excellent software integration (Qualcomm’s reference source delivered to manufacturers is excellent) is great. Spectacular hardware backed by piss-poor software (Exynos reference source is utter barely-working shit) is still piss-poor crap.

    Nothing made this more evident than Google’s Jellybean – “Project Butter” was well integrated on OMAP4 by Google, and Qualcomm did a great job integrating its feature support into their reference source. Samsung’s implementation of “project butter” features has consistently been poor – the end result is a device with a dual cortex-A9 (OMAP4) gives better UI experience than one with a quad cortex-A9 (Exynos4412) in Jellybean due to the OMAP4 having superior software integration.

    • krudd

      Exynos 4 models came with 1gb ram while Qualcomm models came up with 2gb ram. That is to compensate for core capacity, now as a CPU, Qualcomm dual is matched equally with exynos 4, but doesn’t have the threading capabilities a quad core would have.

  • Raihan

    so those who are saying it shouldnt be called octa what it will be called? bull shit? what will u call suppose you make a 8 core processor? quad core? use common sense. those a15 and a7 are cores not bull shits. lame. go search a bit and then comment.

    • Denzo

      4 + 4 would be a little more transparent.

      I mean when you bought an old q6600 you were expecting 4 cores – to work at once, no?