If two CPU cores are good and four cores are better, eight cores must be absolutely mind-blowing, right? We’ll know for sure soon, as Samsung just took the stage at CES 2013 to announce the Exynos 5 Octa, the first eight-core mobile processor. This firebrand offers four times as many cores as the beefy Exynos 5 Dual chip powering the Nexus 10 while simultaneously boasting up to 70 percent more energy efficiency than its dual-core counterpart.
No, Samsung didn’t resort to magic to pull off that astounding feat; instead, the company turned to ARM’s big.LITTLE technology. Put simply, the Exynos 5 Octa packs four high-powered Cortex-A15 cores and four energy-efficient Cortex-A7 cores. The chip intelligently and dynamically assigns tasks to those cores depending on the computational horsepower needed. Everyday tasks get tackled by those low-power A7 cores, while the quad A15 cores are called in for heavy lifting.
And the Exynos 5 Octa should pack a hefty wallop, indeed. The Exynos 5 Dual chip in the Nexus 10 delivers incredibly strong performance with just a pair of Cortex-A15 cores, and this new chip doubles that. Perhaps more importantly, the power-shifting big.LITTLE technology could — could — make the Exynos 5 Octa a viable candidate for high-end smartphones if Samsung’s energy efficiency claims ring true — something the Exynos 5 Dual can’t really claim due to the A15’s sky-high power consumption. Currently, the Exynos 4 processor and its four Cortex-A9 cores handle the computing duties in premium Samsung handsets such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II.
Samsung didn’t provide many details beyond that, but a November report claimed that the Exynos 5 Octa’s cluster of A15 cluster are clocked at 1.8-GHz, while the A7 cluster reportedly sticks to a more energy-efficient 1.2-GHz. We can’t wait until the first devices packing this monster cross our labs. MediaTek is also said to be working on an eight-core chip, albeit one designed primarily for smartphone usage.
Via The Verge