Earlier this year, Samsung has officially introduced the Exynos 5 Octa, the first chipset for smartphones and tablets to offer an octo-core architecture in a big.LITTLE 4+4 configuration. After the South Koreans fitted it inside their Galaxy S4 flagship, the rumor mill speculated that the Galaxy Note 3 phablet will be powered by the same octo-core chipset. Well, it seems that it was only half the truth.
The availability problems of the Exynos 5 Octa chipset introduced in January 2013 have limited its usage, but now Samsung returns with an improved version
The Exynos 5 Octa version that was announced at CES 2013, also known as Exynos 5410, was the first model to use ARM’s big.LITTLE design, by offering a processing platform with eight cores, divided in two groups of four cores. By using four powerful ARM Cortex A15 cores and four battery friendly ARM Cortex A7 cores, Samsung tried to provide better battery stamina than the traditional quad-core models.
But Samsung’s Exynos 5410 had a major design flow as the IO coherency provided by CoreLink CCI-400 didn’t work as Sammy expected to. Therefore, Samsung blocked it and made the chipset use the slower and the less efficient RAM for synchronizing the cache memory when switching between the two groups of cores of the Exynos 5410 chipset. For this particular reason, the Samsung Galaxy S4 models using the Exynos 5410 SoC are pretty rare and most of the markets got the Galaxy S4 flagship with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset.
But if the Exynos 5410 had some problems, why would Samsung use it for the Galaxy Note 3? Well, they won’t use the 5410, but the new model codenamed Exynos 5420 which fixes the aforementioned problem and brings a series of improvements, including a performance boost.
Using the same big.LITTLE architecture, the new Exynos 5420 comes with four Cortex A15 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz (200 MHz higher than the ones of the Galaxy S4) and four Cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz (100 MHz higher than the ones of the Galaxy S4). Moreover, the new Exynos 5420 is compatible with the LPDDR3-1866 RAM.
The Exynos 5420 chipset that will most likely make it under the hood of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 also ditches the PowerVR SGX544MP3 GPU of the Exynos 5410 SoC. Sammy replaced it with an ARM graphics processing unit, the new ARM Mali T628 which comes in a six-core configuration.
After Samsung raised the core clock speed, increased the bandwidth size, fixed the CoreLink CCI-400 problems, and replaced the tri-core PowerVR SGX544MP3 with a six-core Mali T628 GPU, the performance of the Exynos 5420 raised 20% compared to the Exynos 5410.
Samsung says that the new Exynos 5 Octa chipset will be available as of August, but our guess is that the Galaxy Note 3 will be world’s first smartphone to have it under its hood.