Samsung 8-core big.LITTLE chip coming early next year, will we see it in the future Galaxy Note 3?

by: Chris SmithNovember 20, 2012

Current Galaxy S4 rumors say that Samsung will launch the next flagship phone at some point in early-to-mid 2013 and that the device will pack a new Exynos 5450 quad-core CPU (Cortex-A15) processor. But that’s not the only mobile chip Samsung is working on.

In fact, according to Engadget, the company will present an impressive 8-core big.LITTLE ARM processor in February at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC).

What’s so special about such a processor? Samsung’s big.LITTLE architecture combines two quad-core processors, a 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A15 designed for heavy lifting when it comes to demanding apps, and a 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 that’s going to take care of more mundane day-to-day operations that take place on mobile devices. In other words, we’re looking at a 28nm process that’s going to make better use of the available battery juice in future handsets and tablets.

Obviously, we’re very interested to see what’s going to be the first Samsung Android device to get the new chips, with next-year’s Galaxy Note 3 being definitely one candidate – mind you this is just speculation for now, as we still have to wait for Samsung to get official with its 8-core beast.

However, Samsung appears to be getting ready to unveil a variety of new technologies in early 2013, so we’re expecting to see some of them in upcoming mobile devices. The company will showcase a 4.99-inch display with Full HD 1080p resolution at CES, which is also where it could reveal more details on its upcoming products that will feature a flexible display. Then a month later, this 8-core SoC will be unveiled, with MWC 2013 taking place in late February, a week after ISSCC. Not to mention that the Galaxy S4 could be unveiled either at CES or at MWC, depending on what rumor seems more plausible for you, and you end up with a busy new year for the company. Let’s hope its main competitors are also ready to bring their A games to these upcoming events!

  • That will be a pointless marketing trick, there is barely a need for quad-core with what phones currently do, and all 8-core will do is give you bragging rights if you are stupid enough to think “bigger is better”, the 8core chips will have horrid clock speeds, and on a usability level, a 2.0 ghz quad core chip would be better than, say, a 1.4 ghz octacore, in terms of usability, benchmarks once updated will say the 8core is better, but that is for other technical reasons, My point is, this is the reason something like the 1.7 ghz dual core A15 exynos 5 is better than a 1.5 ghz quad core, the “core count” is not very relevant, it depends on the architecture of the processor or the SoC

    based on saoftware changes, things like this can change, the octa core might be noticeably different in the far future (~3 years), at which point the octa core will outperform quad core (possibly) because of software optimization

    • jeff swanson

      ARM itself has said the “big.little” project is delivering benefits beyond those expected when the architecture was initially announced, and Samsung’s chip should be the first on the market based on the concept. So yes, this will be a new Exynos of some sort.

      • yes, but at first usability wise it wont be any different

    • yes you do

      you know you want it…

      • of course, if I had the money too I would make a $20000 computer with Xeon processors, mostly for sheer bragging rights, and cus its fun

        I never said i wouldnt ever want it, i was simply explaining that the # of cores isnt what matters, and as simply as i possibly could

        • sayem alvee

          weren’t you just betting $25000 on another reply? so make the $20000 computer and bet the $5000 :)
          I agree with you that it will be relevant [or more useful] may be in three years, but at the pace things are going I would even put my money on 2 years

          • Lol, the money is needed for living, I was simply confident that it wont be a few years till the processor actually makes a difference

    • Level380

      clearly you didn’t even bother to read the article……

      • I did, and it will be irrelevant usability wise

        • Michael Muyunda

          if you read it you would know its not using all 8 cores at once

          • I did, and basically you are helping me prove my point by saying it is a marketing trick to make people think it is way better, because basically they are “selling” you a 8-core SoC, but you will never get to use those extra cores for a few years until software takes advantage of it, so those extra cores are completely pointless until the software catches up with the hardware, which will not happen until the 8-core processor is already standard

          • Michael Muyunda

            it says so in the article, are you a troll or what

          • What the hell is your problem, i hate assholes like you, fucking stubborn as hell because they want to make themselves feel better for being a dick, you are the troll, I am simply trying to prove my point of saying that the core count is not what matters

          • Sławomir Błauciak

            No. You completely misunderstood the whole idea. It uses 4 Cortex A15 for tasks that require a low of power and it uses the other 4 Cortex A7 cores for tasks that don’t require much power. It’s called big.LITTLE. Tegra 3 has something like that except only 1 additional core. So, before attacking other people and being an asshole you should read first.

    • flo

      Did you get it?
      It’s not an 8-core, it’s two 4-core.
      One with 1.8 GHz and one with 1.2 GHz.
      The Bigger one will only be used, if needed (like resource hungry games..).
      In normal use, the small one will do the job – it’s for battery life.
      Thats completely different to 8-core..
      It’s the next step for multicore

      • usability wise for when it comes out it will be irrelevant though, I will bet you $25000, im dead serious, it will take a while for actual use things to take advantage of it, as i said, about 3 years(give or take one, it is not an expert analysis) by my guess

        • Michael Muyunda

          its to save battery its not irrelevant .

          • how does the battery come in with a statement about processors?

        • Marvin Nakajima

          With Samsung’s ‘windowing’ features shown in their recent Note and Tablet updates I would think that the cores would do quite a bit for them. At the moment you have 1 floating window. I can see a near future where multiple windows may be available on Samsung Tablets which are made not just possible but actually usable due to the extra cores. Since it will be a few months yet till the first device using the processor actually is released I’m sure they have enough time to make headway on actually using all that processing power.

    • john

      Well…it’s not that pointless if you think about it. Also, please do not make a comment like this if you do not have the sufficent information. Tegra 3’s 4+1 structure is smart albeit limited. limited in an aspect that the +1 battery saver core cannot handle most of the apps, only works as a instruction decoding thread-for what little there is in RISC- and partially functional core in junction with other cores.

      Samsung’s 4+4 core or simply eight cores-I mean after all there are all eight cores in total. IF you wanna argue this syntax, then go over x86 architecture and start counting. Good luck with that.- is pretty much two SoC processors in one. Having two processors barely put a dint in the size and the weight of the device, and since only one is active at a time, there is not extra power draw. However, unlike the Tegra 3+1, you have fully functional low power drawing threads for perhaps dealing with different apps, instructions, whatever…I wouldn’t know as just the complexity of this implementation gives me headaches.

      Also, trust me core numbers and clock speeds are largely gimmicks themselves which do not mean much by themselves. Sure, i7s would be faster than old pentium despite running on x86, but it is not just because the i7s have higher speed and more cores, the decoding each instructions, allocating to each threads, bla bla bla….it’s much more complex than the core numbers and clocking speeds.

      I know that you were trying to say how having more cores does not mean something is faster, but it simply has no relevance whatsoever-well little bit if you care. I can say the same with lower clockspeed, the sheer complexity of allocating each instructions and making all these processors play nice with the lower memory, register, etc is way more important.

      On your last paragraph, you said number of cores do not matter…but they actually matter? Now you are just confusing yourself. I’ll go back to the core i7 analogy, people think the processor is faster than its predecessor because it has more cores, it is actually faster because it has more efficient speedy architecture and instructions bla bla…

      Anyway, we are getting way off topic and if TL;DR:

      1) SAmsung is not saying bigger is better. Having two 28nm processors does not make that big of difference in size. Also, it is not in their intention to use all 8 cores at the same time-I’ll be bloody impressed and horrorfied at the same time if they actually do. They have two processors to manage battery life more efficiently and kind of extend on the idea of 4+1 structure, although I cannot say for sure how.

      2) Samsung didn’t even said octacore processor. This syntax argument is very pointless since it physically have 8 cores. Also, I think instead of educating people the advanatage of this structure…which is the battery life, you are just confusing them by mentioning speed and etc. This is where it is clear you did not read the article. the article clear says 8-cores will improve battery life but did not even mention performance improvement. You are raging that this product promises the consumers increased speed but it actually doesn’t. Your argument is groundless.
      3) 2ghz chip will run faster than dual 1.5ghz chip? This statement is like runner A wears Nike, runner B wears Addidas, but runner A also has a pair of Addidas runners in his bag, therefore runner A will outrun runner B. THESE FIGURES ARE POINTLESS! Having two cores does not mean something will run twice as fast, but dual core CPUs are not even designed like single-core CPUs, the difference between them run muuuuch deeper than just clock speed and core numbers. Software optimization? WHAT?! Do you honestly believe some code in an application will make that much of difference for multi-core processors? Do you even know how these codes gets translated into asm and instructions, piece fed into these “cores”?


  • roiji

    much like nVidia Tegra 3’s 4-plus-1 thing…

    • dsafdsf

      who cares its a new model and I want it now !

  • Guest

    Why are you all feeding this “Matthew”, when he is clearly a troll?

    • Or I am trying to inform fools not to fall for the simplest marketing trick ever, “more/bigger is better”, but fools like you try to make yourself feel correct by insulting me and putting forward false accusations

      • Marvin Nakajima

        Perhaps you can accept it as a move that shows Samsung is trying to push the envelope with cutting edge technology even if it may not be successful at first. Partly because they have the funds to do so and not be too damaged if it doesn’t take off.. Something I would like to see Apple do these days. The last real equivalent risk they took was introducing the original iPhone. Apple’s culture is to get it working to their satisfaction and release. Samsung’s on the other hand may be to get something working to a point and release. The difference would be the difference in the tech community support. Where Apple may need to get everything polished (to their credit) Samsung will probably get some help polishing the tech by hobbyists. In the end the appearance whether true or not is that Samsung is far more innovative and less risk averse now than Apple.

  • I am not reading any more of your complaining about this, so get get a life people.