Samsung Announces Exynos 5420 SoC

Samsung rolled out the Exynos 5 Octa family refresh that has been in the reports for the past month, or so. The new chips come with an updated graphics processor, without any other changes. ARM big.LITTLE is implemented exactly how it was, in the first wave.

To begin with, the Exynos 5420 features an ARM Mali-T628 graphics processor, compared to the PowerVR SGX-544MP that handles the department in the Exynos 5410 (on which a majority of Galaxy S4 handsets are based). This GPU lends the chip enhanced GPGPU capabilities, OpenGL ES 3.0 API support, and support for full-profile OpenCL 1.1.

In addition, a new multiple image compression (MIC) block lowers system power consumption, when transporting display output from the video memory to the display. It should particularly improve energy efficiency on devices with high-resolution panels, which can beam out up to 2560 x 1600 pixels.

Next up, Samsung hasn't made any changes to the way it implemented ARM big.LITTLE. The chip features four Cortex-A15 cores, and four Cortex-A7 cores. The two sets of four cores each take turns at either handling heavy processing loads, or light/stand-by loads. When any of the four Cortex-A15 cores is being underutilized, power to it is gated, and a Cortex-A7 core relieves it. When a Cortex-A7 core is under stress, it wakes up a faster Cortex-A15 core to take over. The Cortex-A7 cores are clocked slightly higher than on the Exynos 5410, at 1.30 GHz, and the Cortex-A15 cores pull on, at 1.80 GHz. The integrated memory controller supports LPDDR3 memory at speeds of up to 933 MHz, amounting to 14.9 GB/s of bandwidth.

"ARM welcomes the latest addition to the successful Exynos Octa 5 series, which uses ARM's Mali GPU solution to dramatically improve graphics performance," said Pete Hutton, executive vice president & general manager, Media Processing Division, ARM. "ARM big.LITTLE and ARM Artisan Physical IP technologies continue to be at the heart of the Octa series and now complement the new functionality brought by ARM GPU Compute. This combination enables unprecedented capabilities in areas such as facial detection and gesture control, and brings desktop-quality editing of images and video to mobile devices."

"Demand for richer graphic experiences is growing rapidly nowadays," said Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Samsung Electronics. "In order to meet that demand from both OEMs and end users, we developed this processor which enables superb graphical performance without compromising power consumption."