Heads up Apple, here comes Samsung's 8-core chip

Samsung is set to begin manufacturing its 8-core phone and tablet processor in the second quarter, and that's a problem for Apple.

Samsung's Galaxy S4, which features its Exynos 5 Octa.
(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Think Apple's A6 chip packs a punch? It appears to have some stiff competition from Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa, slated for commercial production in the second quarter, the company announced today.

Featured in Samsung's Galaxy S4, Octa means that it integrates 8 CPU cores. Apple's A6 has two by comparison.

While a raw core count comparison may be too simplistic, Samsung's chip, on paper, should make Apple worry — especially since Samsung is simultaneously manufacturing the Exynos chip and Apple's A6.

The Exynos 5 Octa uses technology from chip designer ARM called big.LITTLE. In other words, there are four "big" high-performance cores (up to 1.8GHz) and four "little" power-efficient cores (up to 1.2GHz), referred to as Cortex A15 and A7, respectively.

ARM describes the Cortex A15 as suited for "heavy workloads", like gaming, and the Cortex A7 for doing more mundane workloads, such as managing operating system activities.

And Samsung is giving the graphics processor a boost too. The Exynos 5 Octa "enhances the ... 3D graphics processing capabilities by more than two times over the Exynos 4 Quad," Samsung said in a statement.

All that processing power is needed to drive the S4's high-resolution, 5-inch, 1920x1080 display (that's 440 pixels per inch versus the iPhone 5's 326 pixels per inch, for those keeping count).

Other Exynos 5 Octa specs include:

  • Very high-resolution displays: drives up to a 2560x1600 (WQXGA) display

  • USB 3.0: uses an e-MMC (embedded multimedia card) 5.0 and USB 3.0 interface for fast data transfer speeds

  • Video hardware: incorporates Full HD 60fps (frame per second) video hardware

  • Camera: an embedded 13-megapixel 30fps image signal processor interface

  • Memory: 12.8GB/s memory bandwidth interface.

Via CNET.com

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