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

Samsung's brand new Exynos 5 Octa chip uses PowerVR graphics from Imagination Technologies. Last time this happened was 2010 with the original Galaxy S.
January 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.