Samsung details next-generation Exynos processor for smartphones and tablets

The Exynos 5 Dual dual-core chip is two times faster and 30 percent more power-efficient than predecessors

Samsung has shared more details about its next-generation Exynos 5 Dual dual-core mobile processor, which will be two times faster than comparable Exynos chips currently used in the company's smartphones and tablets.

The chip will also consume 30 percent less power than existing Exynos chips, the company said on its website. The Exynos 5 Dual will have ARM's latest Cortex-A15 processor core running at 1.7GHz, while existing Exynos chips are based on the older ARM Cortex-A9 processor design.

Samsung's Exynos chips are used in a range of Galaxy smartphones and tablets. The Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, due to become available later this month, will come with a quad-core version of the Exynos 4 chip.

The Exynos 5 Dual chip will have better multimedia performance than its predecessors, allowing mobile devices to display images at a 2560 by 1600-pixel resolution, the company said in a blog entry. It can help devices play back full 1080p high-definition at 60 frames per second, double the normal rate.

Displays are becoming important as devices such as tablets are increasingly used for entertainment and gaming. The latest iPad, which also has an ARM processor and an Imagination Technologies graphics processor, has a screen that can display images at a 2048 by 1536 pixel resolution.

The Exynos 5 chip employs an ARM Mali T604 graphics processor with four cores, and can make screen refresh rates more efficient when reading e-books or webpages, which helps save power, the company has said. The chip will also support USB 3.0, which could lead to smartphones and tablets with USB 3.0 ports for fast data transfers with other devices.

The chip will be made using the 32-nanometer manufacturing process, much like the latest Exynos dual- and quad-core chips based on Cortex A9. Companies such as Qualcomm are already having chips made using the 28-nanometer process.

Samsung has not said when it plans to put the latest processors in mobile devices, but the chips are already being manufactured. ARM said it expects the first Cortex-A15 devices to come out early next year. Samsung's rival Texas Instruments has already announced OMAP 5430 and 5432 chips based on Cortex-A15, and has shown a prototype tablet running an OMAP 5000-series chip.

ARM first announced the Cortex-A15 processor core in September 2010, and is targeting it at smartphones, tablets, PCs, servers and a range of other devices. The Cortex-A15 runs at up to 2.5GHz and can stretch to 16 cores in some devices.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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