When it comes to mobile devices there are two competing (and divergent) needs: battery life and power. You want better battery life? Easy, scrimp on power. More power, well you’ll have to pay the battery life cost. Apple does this dance all the time, especially with their Retina devices. Between bigger, better batteries and lots of research into chips, Apple is doing okay. Samsung, however, unveiled a new chip today at CES that is going to make people sit up and take notice.
Announced during Samsung’s big showcase event, the Exynos 5 Octa sports 8 cores for your processing enjoyment, but all the while becoming a wee less power hungry:
The new 28-nanometer chip, the Exynos 5 Octa, will have two sets of quad cores, compared to the dual-core Exynos 5 processor from a year ago. In less than a year, Samsung’s Exynos sold more than 53 million units. It is used in the Nexus 10 tablet and Chromebook devices.
In a demo, Electronic Arts showed the Need for Speed: Most Wanted game running on Octa. The chip uses the Big.little technology that ARM unveiled a year ago. The Octa’s big and little processors divide tasks among themselves for greater efficiency.
So while, as this tweet points out:
BTW, before you guys get carried away, Octa-core Exynos has 8 cores (4 A15+4 A7). Only 4 will work at a time. So effectively it’s 4 core CPU
— Javed Anwer (@Javed_Del) January 9, 2013
You don’t get to tap into 8 cores at once, it sounds like what you get is a high power quad core married to a low power quad core so that when you need power (which will pound the battery) you have it, but when you don’t need power, you have a lower power chip to step in. Pretty amazing engineering. It doesn’t sound like we’ll see this in a Galaxy phone, but it does seem to be a great match for tablets.
Photo from The Verge.