Samsung’s first 14nm SoC is a 64-bit, 8-core Exynos aimed at high-end phones

Samsung logoSamsung has just announced a new high-end Exynos 7 Octa SoC. It uses eight CPU cores—a combination of four high-end Cortex A57 cores and four low-end, power-saving Cortex A53 cores in a big.LITTLE configuration—and supports the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set. However, its most significant new feature is Samsung's new 14nm manufacturing process, which promises performance and power consumption improvements compared to the existing 20nm process.

Samsung is already shipping eight-core 64-bit Exynos chips on its older 20nm process, most notably in the Galaxy Note Edge and some variants of the Galaxy Note 4. Compared to those chips, Samsung claims that the 14nm version "enables up to 20 percent faster speed, 35 percent less power consumption, and 30 percent productivity gain." Those numbers don't tell us much in terms of actual clock speeds or performance-per-watt numbers, but it's safe to assume that the 14nm Exynos 7 will be able to run at higher clock speeds for longer while consuming less power.

We don't know anything about the new Exynos' GPU yet. The 20nm Exynos 7 Octa uses a high-end Mail-T760 GPU from ARM, and we'll probably see something similar in the 14nm version.

Samsung’s first 14nm SoC is a 64-bit, 8-core Exynos aimed at high-end phones

Samsung's 14nm process uses FinFET technology, which you may already be familiar with if you follow Intel's manufacturing technology. Intel's "3D tri-gate transistors" use silicon fins to increase the amount of available silicon surface area, which is necessary to reduce power leakage as chips themselves become smaller and transistors get closer and closer together; FinFET is a more generic term for the same thing. Samsung's 14nm process is its first to use these fins, while Intel has been shipping 14nm and 22nm FinFET chips since 2012.

This new Exynos is a good candidate for the Galaxy S6, the new flagship that the company is expected to announce soon. Ordinarily the Exynos chips would only power a few variants of the phone, and the versions coming to the US and other territories would use Qualcomm chips instead. However, rumor has it that problems with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 810 have prompted Samsung to drop the chip from the S6, which means that US customers could also be getting Exynos phones this time around.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: 14 nm, CPUs, Samsung

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