Details of the Samsung Exynos 5 Octa of the Galaxy S4: 1.6 GHz, PowerVR SGX544MP3 GPU

Since the unveiling of Samsung’s new Exynos 5 Octa processor with eight cores – which probably will be the beating heart of the Galaxy S4 – all kinds of rumours have been circulated about the specifications of this System-on-a-Chip (SoC). The mobile world is moving very quickly and a little too quickly for some people’s liking. Just last year we were introduced to quad core chipsets, jumping directly from dual core SoCs. It seemed like a monumental jump and with good reason, as it changed the way people conceived smartphones altogether. And we expected this year to be rather slow, in terms of chipsets at least and were expecting the quad core trend to continue until the end of 2013. But Samsung has just blown us all over by announcing the mammoth Exynos 5 Octa, the eight core mobile chipset

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa (2)

Clock Speed

The Samsung Exynos 5 Octa is a chip that was announced at CES 2013 on January 10 2013. The Exynos 5 Octa is built on Samsung’s 28nm process (5000X thinner than a human hair) features four ARM Cortex A15 cores (1.6GHz) and four Cortex A7 cores (1.2GHz). Technically, the Samsung Exynos 5 Octa features 8 cores as its name indicates. However, only four cores can be active at any given time.

Once the efficient cluster at 95% of maximum capacity rotates, the SoC switches automatically to the powerful A15 cluster, and if the latter is less than 70% is taxed at a clock speed of 800 MHz (mobile processors have a variable clock rate that adjusts the effort required) turns everything back to power save mode.


Officially, Samsung claims that Exynos 5 Octa can consume up to 70% less power than the Exynos 5 Dual (a 32nm chip) which equips the Google Nexus 10 tablet. This is probably true in specific situations, but what actually matters is the average gain. In any case, it is certain that in a sleep state the difference should be quite drastic – and most of the time, your devices are in a sleep state.


Samsung Exynos 5 Octa does not use a Mali GPU, but a PowerVR SGX-544MP3, which can handle twice as many triangles as the SGX-543MP4 of the iPad 3 can. Samsung Takes a little bit back to its roots: the first Galaxy S was also equipped with a PowerVR CPU, but then – now obviously outdated – SGX540 model. The SGX544MP3 is a bit in terms of power between the SGX543 (known from Apple’s iPhone 5) and the SGX554 (known from the fourth generation iPad) in. As a result, a flat force comparison between the GPU in the Galaxy S4 will sit down with those of the current iPhone 5. Another interesting fact: the Samsung Exynos Octa GPU is clocked at 533MHz, which is quite a bit higher than the iPhone 5 (266MHz) and the iPad 4 (300MHz). At the moment, we cannot run any benchmarks yet, but it is fair to say that this will come soon enough.

PowerVR SGX-544MP3

Here is the video of the Exynos 5 Octa Demonstration at CES 2013:


The Samsung Exynos 5 Octa chipset caused a lot of excitement and the SamsungExynos Twitter account is slowly fanning the flames with little teasing tidbits of info like this image of the chipset.

It’s a 3D render of the SoC rather than a photo of a production unit. In the same tweet, Samsung is talking up the energy efficiency of the chipset.

Up close with the #Exynos 5 Octa mobile processor #GreenTechnology (pic)…

— SamsungExynos (@SamsungExynos) January 24, 2013


big.LITTLE is a heterogeneous computing technology from ARM which associates or pairs high-performance cores (to achieve peak execution speed) with low-power core (to achieve low-power idle state). big.LITTLE was announced in 2011 and was presented as a commercial product for the first time by Samsung at CES 2013 when the company demonstrated its Exynos 5 Octa chip which includes four Cortex A15 cores and four Cortex A7 cores. For more information, read what is ARM big.LITTLE?

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa

Exynos is the brand name for a Samsung line of system on a chip (or SoC) processors that are typically used in smart phones and tablets. In all likelihood, Samsung will expand its use to other smart devices such as television and other such devices.

Samsung is a South-Korean conglomerate which counts many subsidiaries like Samsung Electronics, which you probably know very well, but also Samsung Heavy Industries which builds ships, or Samsung Life Insurance, Samsung Securities and many more. Samsung is responsible for an amazing 20% of South Korea’s exports. In the consumer electronics world, Samsung has gone from being a company with a reputation for cheap products to becoming one of the most respected companies in the world.

SoC stands for ‘system on a chip’ or ‘system on chip’ which is a way to describe that a complete electronic system (like a computer) has been integrated on a single chip that includes processors, co-processors, memory, and all the associated data buses. To qualify as an SoC, all the sub-components must be cut from the same silicon die. To learn more about SoC, read SoC: The Force That Rules All Smartphones and Tablets