Samsung has announced its intention to take on Qualcomm in the mobile market, launching its first-ever fully-integrated system-on-chip design for the performance market: the Exynos 8 Octa 8890.
Previous top-tier entries in Samsung's Exynos family have been, like most of its competition, only a partial system-on-chip design: while integrated the parts required for running the compute side of the equation, they relied entirely upon a separate modem chip for communications. This is in contrast to Samsung's biggest rival Qualcomm, which is near-unique in the market for concentrating almost exclusively on entirely integrated designs which feature everything a modern smartphone could need in a single chip.
The Exynos 8 Octa, then, is the opening salvo in a battle between Samsung and Qualcomm for the fully-integrated chip market. Based on the company's 14nm FinFET process node, the part includes four 64-bit ARMv8 cores customised by the company and a further four off-the-shelf ARM Cortex-A53 cores for handling lower-power tasks. As with most modern split-core chips, the design also allows for all eight cores to be loaded simultaneously for maximum performance - a task which requires careful handling by the operating system's scheduler to ensure that appropriate tasks are assigned to each core, and that tasks requiring high-performance processors aren't shuffled to the lower-performance cores by mistake.
The biggest shift, though, comes in the integrated modem. A Samsung in-house design, the integrated modem offers Long Term Evolution (LTE) Rel. 12 Cat. 12/13 support, which offers a peak throughput of 600Mb/s downstream and 150Mb/s upstream when connected via carrier aggregation. The SOC design also includes ARM's Mali-T880 graphics processor.
'The Exynos 8 Octa is a leading-edge application processor for next-generation mobile devices that incorporates Samsung’s mobile technology leadership in CPU, ISP, and modem as well as process technology,
' claimed Kyushik Hong, vice president of system LSI marketing at Samsung, of the impending launch. 'With our custom designed CPU cores and the industry’s most advanced LTE modem, consumers using mobile devices with the Exynos 8 Octa will experience a new level of mobile computing.
Mass production of the new processor is due to begin before the end of the year, but Samsung has not yet announced when the first retail devices to feature the chip will be hitting shop shelves. More information is available on the official website