Samsung Electronics unveiled the very first big.LITTLE Cortex A7/A15 SoC at CES 2013. Exynos Octa will feature 4 Cortex A15 cores together with 4 Cortex A7 cores, and make use of big.LITTLE processing to optimize energy using In-Kernel Switching (IKS), where the kernel uses Cortex A15 or Cortex A7 cores depending on the load, or Heterogeneous MultiProcessing (HMP), where different tasks are assigned to different cores, and both Cortex A15 and A7 can be used simultaneously. Check my earlier post “Big.LITTLE Processing Implementations and Current Status” for an overview on how this all works.
The new Intel processors for smartphones/tablets are now very close to ARM when it comes to power consumption, and ARM may regain a clear lead thanks to big.LITTLE processing technology, which is currently shown to consume about 40% less power than equivalent tasks run on Cortex A15 (only) processors. Samsung claims it may offers up to 70 percent higher energy efficiency compared to the previous quad-core (Cortex A9) Exynos.
Glenn Roland, vice president and head of new platforms and OEM, EA, demonstrates the processing power of the Exynos 5 Octa by running “Need for Speed Most Wanted” on a reference platform.
Exynos 5 Octa is targeted at high-end smartphones and tablets, but the company did not provide any availability for this SoC. We do not know which GPU is used either, but I suspect it could be Mali-T658, the fastest ARM GPU available in 2013.