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Samsung stuns with 8-core Exynos 5 Octa processor, the heart of its future flagship mobile devices

Exynos 5 Octa PresentationSamsung has shown why it’s one of the most exciting companies working in mobile tech at the moment, by announcing the Exynos 5 Octa processor during its keynote presentation at CES 2013. Just in case the name hasn’t given it away, this is an eight-core processor, and it’s destined to one day power the smartphone in your pocket.

The new chip will one day replace the Exynos 4 Quad, now powering an astonishing 53 million devices worldwide, as Samsung’s go-to chip for its flagship phones. CEO Stephen Woo said it will provide, “A level of pure processing power never seen before in a mobile device,” before using a reference device to show the processor in action, when its multi-tasking and gaming abilities were briefly demonstrated.

Although the Exynos 5 Octa is billed as an eight-core chip, not all its processor cores were born equal and a more accurate description is that it’s a dual quad-core processor. This is because it’s one of the very first system-on-a-chips to be built using ARM’s big.LITTLE concept.

Dual quad-core processing power

Rather than a single eight-core chip, it has two quad-cores inside – one being a quad-core ARM Cortex A15 and the other a quad-core Cortex A7. The Cortex A15 deals with the tough stuff but passes off the easy tasks to the Cortex A7, or they can both be fired up to really show off. This means it’s strong enough to provide all the power you may need, while at the same time being smart enough to conserve energy when it can. If you’re wondering just how much difference the Exynos 5 Octa and other big.LITTLE chips will make when used in a device, ARM’s CEO Warren East said he expects “twice the performance and half the power consumption” compared to today’s best offerings.

If this approach sounds familiar, it’s similar to the companion core found in Nvidia’s Tegra 3, which avoids waking the quad-core beast and deals with the easy tasks on its own. The difference is, the Exynos 5 Octa’s cores can all work together when the need arises. Samsung has built its new processor using a 28nm manufacturing process, which it promises will help keep power consumption to a minimum.

Now we’ve got you all excited about the Exynos 5 Octa, you’ll want to know when it’s going to be available, right? Sadly, Samsung glossed over this point as it moved on to other things during its presentation, but there have been rumors it’ll be powering the Galaxy S4 when it’s released later this year.