With the new Exynos 5 Octa, Samsung goes back to using PowerVR graphics

by: ŠtefanJanuary 13, 2013

The first Galaxy S, the one that was announced in March 2010 at CTIA in Las Vegas, packed a single core 1 GHz “Hummingbird” processor that featured a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU. When that phone’s successor, the Galaxy S2, was announced a year later at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the chip inside it featured a graphics processor from ARM; same thing happened with the Galaxy S3. As for the Exynos 5 inside the Nexus 10, again, ARM graphics.

According to sources who have spoken to Brian Klug from AnandTech, that new Exynos 5 Octa that was announced last week at CES, it has a PowerVR SGX 544MP3. This chip is, without a shadow of a doubt, going to be inside the Galaxy S4, which means it’s going to be the first Galaxy S in three years to have a graphic processor from Imagination Technologies.

Why is this important? For one thing it shows that Samsung isn’t afraid to partner with different companies. Another reason is Apple. PowerVR graphics processors have powered every iOS product to roll off the assembly line. Part of the reason for that is because Apple owns nearly 10% of Imagination Technologies, but you’ve got to think that the main reason Apple went with PowerVR is because their processors have the best performance.

What about Qualcomm, what do they use? Back in 2009, Qualcomm purchased ATI’s mobile graphics division. Chances are you’ve heard of the Adreno GPU. That’s basically ATI’s work. Adreno is fast, there’s no question about that, but it’s not as fast as what PowerVR delivers. We can’t wait to benchmark the new Snapdragon 800 however, since the GPU in that thing is said to be twice as fast as what’s inside the Snapdragon S4 Pro. If true, that would be incredibly.

Why do we even need such fast GPUs? Because our screens are packing more pixels than ever, we demand buttery smooth user interfaces, and then there’s gaming. We want to be blown away, each and every year.

  • 1ceTr0n

    The same company that made the video chipset for the Sega Dreamcast? Mind = blown. Thought they were long gone after the .com crash of silicon valley

  • chris125

    Looks like Samsung is pulling no punches and is going all out with their s4

  • kascollet

    This is à great move considering the Mali GPU was always far behind Apple’s PowerVR implementation, but it’s not top of the line yet. With a 544MP3, this SoC will have a GPU as powerful as the iPhone 5’s but not the iPad 4 (PowerVR 554MP4) and those were 2012 products !

    • coolingx

      its gonna be running twice the frequency of iphone 5 at 533 mhz instead of 266 mhz on the iphone 5, and iphone 5 uses powervr 543 mp3 while this is 544 mp3

      • kascollet

        543 & 544 have same performance (the latter only adds DX support), but yes, frequency is important.
        To sum it up :
        – iPhone 5 = [email protected] -> 26 GFLOPS
        – Eynos 5 Octa = [email protected] -> 52 GFLOPS
        – iPad 4 = [email protected] -> 72 GFLOPS

        So this Exynos 5 Octa will be the new GPU king (until new iPhone is unveiled), but only speaking of smartphones. It’ll still lacking in the tablet category, unless Samsung decides to build dedicated chips for tablets (as Apple does), to cope with the huge resolutions.

        • alex3run

          But exynos 5 dual has mali [email protected] or even 566 MHz. It has the the power of 68,2 – 72,5 GFLOPS respectively. It’ll be strange if new octa-core Exynos will have weaker GPU than its dual-core version. That’s why I think the information about PowerVR544 in exynos 5 octa is fake.
          exynos 4412 (GS3) – mali [email protected] – 25,6 GFLOPS;
          apple a6 (i5) – powervr [email protected] – 32 GFLOPS.

          • kascollet

            Your numbers are weird (I edited my post with GS3 ones).
            I haven’t found technical characteristics yet for the Mali T604 GPU featured in the Exynos Dual but after seeing this :
            I definitely don’t think this GPU has a power in the 70 GFLOPS range. More like 35-40 in my opinion (It doesn’t even outperform the old A5X).

  • banana

    I believe powervr is on par with mali.
    after that goes tegra and adreno.

    I’m sure samsung had strong reason when going with mali on s2 & s3.
    same case if they go with powervr on s4.

    • kascollet

      No, you got the ranking wrong.
      2012 Malis (GS3) are at best as powerfull as Adrenos from the beginning of 2012 (Adreno 225) and get crushed by Adreno 320 (Optimus G/N4), with the exception of the last Mali604 in Exynos Dual (N10). Tegra 3 are far far far behind and 2012 Power VR as found in Apple’s product are far far ahead.

  • tomislav

    You are all forgeting about Mali T-658 which could be used for S4 and dont see the reason to switch to Power especially if we are going to see Octa on it.
    As from CES and ARM page there was some picture saying that mali 604 and 658 are capable running big little so prolly this is fake info. Also gpu on nexus 10 is good at power saving…

  • Luke

    See, my thought is, if they’re gonna go all out with a 4.99″ 1080p display, octa core Exynos 5, and whatever what they’re gonna put in their new flagship, you’d think they would go for the best, right? Let’s hope it’s the PowerVR 544MP4, so they can just completely shut down competition for a month or two. Who knows, they might have a trick or two up their sleeve…

  • Was much excited regarding the possibility of Mali T-678 or T-658 on Galaxy S4. Even if Samsung were to choose powerVR graphics, at-least they should have opted for the newer 6th version PowerVR GPU not the current 5th version :( :(

  • Samsung is going all out on this, who says they need to put the same GPU that is in the I5 with exynos 5 octa? who says they can’t use 2013 GPU? who says this can’t be possible? http://www.androidauthority.com/imagination-technologies-powervr-g6630-132427/

  • john

    Love PowerVR, makes so much sense than the pretty much all GPUs out there. Except Nvidia and few others had SIMD optimization a bit earlier.

  • Sam

    Hopefully they won’t have the same openGL bugs as the Galaxy Nexus that are preventing a lot of code from getting ported to Android…

  • I really hope this isn’t true. The thing i was most excited about the s4 was the possibility of the mali t658 gpu, which is meant to rival the ps3 and xbox 360 in power ie 250 – 350 gflops