While almost all the other smartphone vendors and chip makers are talking behind the scenes to media and analysts that they have an ARM-beater, an iPhone-killer, the truth is that there’s a player on the market which comfortably challenges all the statements we heard on CES 2013: Samsung.
The Korean manufacturing giant ended 2012 by beating iPhone 4S and 5 sales with their Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note smartphones, while the company plans to execute ARM’s big.LITTLE Core strategy sooner than anyone expected. When ARM unveiled the big.LITTLE core strategy in October 2011, a lot of technology journalists and analysts did not think about seeing an actual shipping product before 2014.
Samsung seems to have other plans. Their Exynos 5800 (5812?) series SoC is a 28nm processor, and as the numbering scheme implies, we’re talking about an 8-core processor: four Cortex-A15 cores and four Cortex-A7 cores. According to the leaked benchmark results, the Cortex-A15 cores inside Exynos 5800 operate at 1.8 GHz, while the power-saving Cortex-A7 cores operate at 1.2 GHz. At the current point in time, it is unknown if this approach is more power saving than Nvidia’s 4-PLUS-1 (five cores, one is used for idle mode only), used on Tegra 3 (5x Cortex-A9, 40nm) and Tegra 4 (5x Cortex-A15, 28nm) processors.
The performance offered by Exynos 5800 Series is a whole another ballgame, though. The leaked AnTuTu benchmarks show a result of smashing 21469, with Korean version showing performance of 19072. For comparison, we ran the US version of Samsung Galaxy SIII (Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 at 1.5 GHz) and achieved "just" 10588. The international version may be running a quad-core processor, but it scored just 20% higher than the dual-core (Exynos 4412 AnTuTu benchmark score: 12060), meaning the new Exynos 5800 Series brings significant performance improvements. The GPU is also greatly upgraded – from an old Mali-T400 to the next-gen Mali-T628 or T658, the most powerful GPU ARM has in store for the smartphone market (the only real difference between T628, T658 and T678 are targeted markets, e.g. different clock speeds for smartphones and tablets). The amount of memory is expected to remain the same, 2GB (however, this time, LPDDR3).
The rumored GT-I9500 should come with a 4.99" SuperAMOLED display packing Full HD (1920×1080) resolution, 13MP main and 2MP secondary cameras.