Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa
processor is the first eight-core chip for smartphones, but it's always been a little deceiving to refer to it as a true eight-core part. That's because not all eight cores fire up at the same time. Instead, the more powerful quad-core ARM Cortex A15 cores handle CPU intensive tasks while the less powerful (and more battery efficient) quad-core ARM Cortex A7 cores tackle less intensive chores, but never at the same time. That's about to change.
Taking a big step towards true eight-core processing, Samsung
announced its Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) solution for Exynos 5 Octa to fully maximize the benefits of the ARM big.LITTLE technology
"It's usually assumed that the big CPU will do all the performance-critical work, however, power-efficient little cores can handle many significant workloads all on their own, so the workload is balanced within the system," said Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Samsung Electronics. "big.LITTLE processing is designed to deliver the right combination of processors for a specific job. An eight-core processor with HMP is the truest form of the big.LITTLE technology with limitless benefits to the users of high-performance, low-power mobile products."
HMP enables the use of all physical cores at the same time. We're still talking specialized tasks here -- the so-called big cores handle software threads with high priority or high computational intensity, while the little cores weave threads that are lower in priority or are less computationally intensive -- but the result is a more responsive architecture that's still power efficient.
The HMP solution for Exynos 5 Octa will be available to customers in the fourth quarter of 2013.