Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual-Core SoC – a quiet Revolution

Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual-Core ProcessorLast Wednesday Samsung revealed the Exynos 5250, armed with two 2GHz ARM Cortex-A15 processors, in the most recent system on a chip (SoC) from the company. Samsung’s previous top SoC product was twin 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processors.

The Exynos 5250, though, is designed to target higher end tablets, offers nearly twice the punch of the old pair. Samsung targets the second quarter of 2012 for mass producing the Exynos 5250.

The graphics production of the 5250, rumored to be derived from the faster GPU, the ARM Mali-T604 or T658, is more than four times that of the former Cortex-A9’s, and the 5250 yields the industry’s first ultra-high resolution WQXGA at 2560 x 1600 screen resolution. 3D stereoscopic displays will be supported as well.

The Exynos 5250 is a low-power consuming 32nm format processor and is capable of 2×14 billion instructions for every second of processing time (14,000 DMIPS). This is a 200% improvement over the 7,000 DMIPS of the Cortex-A9, without having to resort to a quad-core design and naturally extends to applications that require intense calculation, such as graphics intensive operations. In particular, it was designed to address high-ed tablet PC requirements, including the WQXGA 2560 x 1600 tablet market trends.

The superb resolution is achieved by the increased bandwidth of 12.8GB/s. This new SoC is also capable of 1080p videos at 60 frames per second. An HDMI 1.4 port will provide 3D support, while the processor itself will support USB 3.0, SATA, and additional I/O standards.

Overall system power consumption has been reduced in the new Cortex-A15 based Exynos 5250. The processor utilizes a new technology to maximize screen refresh rate efficiency in order to conserve power, reducing its consumption. This is important especially with regards to reading e-books or web pages.

Do not expect this great new processor to be shipped in products until late 2012, samples going out in the 2nd quarter of 2012. ARM, the company licensing the design, anticipates smartphones and tablets loaded with the Cortex-A15 to hit the market at the end of 2011 or early 2012, though that seems a little too optimistic. They have stated that the devices would begin shipping with dual-core components, later to shift to quad-core parts. The possibilities for the Cortex-A15 run up to 2.5GHz and 16-core configuration.

Texas Instruments is going head to head with Samsung, releasing its own Cortex-A15 hardware solution contained in the TI OMAP 5 platform. They are both due to hit the streets at the same time next year. Next year will see the hopes of longer battery life fulfilled in both the TI and the Samsung solutions, thanks to the Cortex-A15.

With the lower power consumption and the support for nearly twice the resolution that current Android devices support, it is not unlikely that we will see the Android OS make its debut as a full-fledged PC operating system by the end of next year.

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