Multi-Core Chips at CES: Fast and Light

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Not to be outdone by Nvidia’s Tegra 4 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800-series, Samsung announced the next processor in its Exynos 5 lineup at CES today: the Exynos 5 Octa.

The 5 Octa has eight processor cores. It uses ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture to pair four high-power CPU cores with four lower-power cores. One set of four uses the ARM Cortex A15 and one set of four uses the ARM Cortex A7 core. The A15s can be used for the more intensive computing tasks while the A7s can be used for low-power computing.

That will enable “heavy-duty multi-tasking” on a mobile gadget, said Stephen Woo, president of Samsung’s System LSI business.

Samsung unveiled the Exynos 5250 System-on-a-Chip in late 2011, and took the wraps off the Exynos 4 Quad chip in April 2012, which has powered the Nexus 10 tablet.

According to Samsung, the A7s will help reduce power needs by up to 70% compared to its Exynos 5 processor. The Exynos 5 Octa uses 28nm processes, though Samsung said it will reduce its chips to 10nm processes in the coming years. The 5 Octa was designed for flagship smartphones and tablets.

Samsung is planning two major thrusts in 2013: bulking up mobile content and moving faster into the corporate market dominated by Research in Motion, reports Reuters.

Huawei will also release the HiSilicon K3V3 chipset in the second half of this year, according to chairman Richard Yu. It’s a follow-up to the current home-grown, quad-core K3V2. Much like NVIDIA’s upcoming Tegra 4, the new platform will be based on the more powerful Cortex-A15 ARM architecture instead of Cortex-A9. Yu also hinted that the K3V3 will be featured in the Ascend D Quad, a successor to the Ascend D2 and the 6″ Ascend Mate.

At CES, Intel claimed that new power-frugal Y series Ivy Bridge processors were rated at 7 watts — a remarkable feat as that’s 10 watts less than standard low-power Ivy Bridge chips rated at 17 watts, notes C/Net.

But, as Ars Technica points out, Intel did some fancy marketing footwork in order to claim the 7-watt rating. Intel’s statement provided to CNET says: “The TDP of the Y-processors are 13W.” So, by Intel’s historical power rating standard (TDP), the chips are actually 13 watts not 7.

SDP is a new unit of measurement for Intel, and the company doesn’t list an SDP number for its current 17 watt low-voltage processors, says ArsTechnica.

AMD’s CES announcements at CES included working silicon of its first true system on chip (SoC) APUs, codenamed “Temash” and “Kabini,” which will be the industry’s first quad-core x86 SoCs. Both are scheduled to ship in the first half of 2013. Demonstrations included a range of leading-edge applications and games on a “Kabini”-based ultrathin notebook and a “Temash”-based performance tablet and hybrid notebook. AMD’s booth had a Vizio laptop configured with an A10 APU and Radeon HD 8000M graphics, the latter of which was unveiled yesterday. Vizio also had a Tegra 4 convertible (below).

The Radeon 8000M Series are the first notebook GPUs built around AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. VIZIO’s new AMD portfolio includes an 11.6” APU-powered tablet PC, two high-performance ultrathin notebooks in both 14” and 15.6,” and a 24” All-in-One (AiO) system. In addition to Vizio, Radeon 8000M Series GPUs can currently be found in shipping products from Asus, Samsung, and Lenovo, with additional OEMs hopping on board soon, AMD says.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at 1:57 pm .

Leave a Reply