updated 05:35 pm EST, Thu February 23, 2012
Samsung teases 32nm quad Exynos part
Samsung at the ISSCC event this week has shown the first example of a quad-core version of its Exynos chips. Its new example still uses the ARM Cortex-A9 but runs on a more efficient 32 nanometer manufacturing process, which should improve both speed and battery life over 2011-era chips. Along with a newer graphics core with four pixel effects processors, it should be about 26 percent faster even as it uses 34 to 50 percent less power. Each core, as well as media processing sections, can be shut off independently to save power when a task isn't needed.
It can support up to dual-channel memory, either low-power DDR2 or DDR3, to keep the chip working at full speed. Its graphics are fast enough to render 57 million polygons per second.
Samsung hasn't formally made the quad-core Exynos public, but it could do so as soon as Mobile World Congress next week. If so, however, there are no guarantees it will arrive through most of 2012. A previously announced chip, the dual-core Exynos 5250, is due to ship in spring after having been unveiled in November. Short of wanting a surprise, Samsung may be pushing its quad-core option until summer or later.
The plans for a quad-core A9 instead of A15 may establish the groundwork for competition in tablets in 2012. Apple could unveil a third-generation iPad in less than two weeks and may be using a mystery A5X chip that could be a quad-core A5, a significantly higher-clocked dual-core A5, or a new architecture like the Cortex-A15 in the Exynos 5250. Any new Galaxy Tab's chances at success versus the iPad may depend on having a major performance edge. [via EETimes, free reg. required]