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Tuesday, 20 November 2012 13:49

Samsung developing eight-core ARM chip

Written by Peter Scott



A7 and A15 cores in big.little configuration


It was only a matter of time before someone got the cunning idea to build an eight-core ARM chip and Samsung seems to have taken up the challenge.

The Korean giant will detail its first eight-core SoC at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in February. The 28nm part features two stitched quad-core clusters, based on A7 and A15 cores, hence the name – big.little.

The A7 cluster runs at up to 1.2GHz, while the A15 cluster can hit 1.8GHz, and it packs 2MB of L2 cache. It sounds like an intriguing concept, a bit like Nvidia’s companion core taken to the next level. The “little” cluster is tuned for energy efficiency, while the beefy A15 cluster should deliver unparalleled performance.

But what about real life applications? Eight cores sound like overkill for smartphones and even high end tablets, so it is unclear whether the big.little chip will find its way into actual products anytime soon.

However, if the concept proves successful, we could see it applied to other SoC designs. Using the same principle, a quad-core with two A7 and two A15 cores could be developed. An Exynos 5 chip with two added A7 cores for efficiency? Count me in.

More here.


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