Oh man, if you thought quad-core phones were crazy, your brain should prepare itself for at least twice as much explosion. Samsung just announced at CES its new Exynos 5 Octa processors. These chips, on a 28nm architecture (which means they're small and use less power) have eight dang cores. The company says that this will result in up to 70% battery savings (compared to what is unclear...we would assume the previous Exynos processor).

octa1 octa2 octa3

Pics courtesy of CNET

Of course, the first thought is, "Do we really need that many cores?!" Well, for starters, yes. We'll always want more power. But, let's talk practicality! These new SoCs are designed to optimize for multitasking and hardcore video rendering (including 3D), not necessarily pure speed. Which makes perfect sense. Your desktop has been multitasking forever, but our mobile processors (and OSes, really) aren't as great at it. Yet. We're still scratching the surface.

One thing that will aid this is the big.LITTLE architecture. You see, those 8 cores inside the Exynos 5 Octa are not all equal. Four of them are Cortex A7 cores, and four are Cortex A15 cores. The A15s use more power but can turn out serious speed, whereas the A7s are slower, but use less juice. Think of it this way: this SoC will have two different engines in it. One came straight out of a Ferrari for when you feel like flying down the freeway, flipping off cops, and one is from that Prius you make fun of that gets better gas mileage than your car. Your phone or tablet would be able to switch between the two as needed, resulting in high performance without sacrificing battery.

It's win-freaking-win.

Of course, to be a little cynical, you won't necessarily have access to eight cores at once. The two sets of four cores are subdivided into pairs of one low-power core and one high-power core. Only one of those two can be active at once, so you could never use more than four cores at the same time. However, that's still an insanely impressive performance boost while maintaining huge battery savings.

No word yet on when we'll see these beasts in devices, but chances are good Samsung will be eager to put them in as many upcoming high-end handsets and tablets as possible.

Source: CNET, Engadget

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • jaduncan

    This will super excite me when Samsung actually start to provide specs for anything so open source work can be done with high quality drivers.

  • fixxmyhead

    thats it im throwing away this nexus 4 cuz its a quad core and its "old" :/

    • Darkbotic

      IKR? Throw it in my pocket, you know... It's trash...

    • PINJ

      No Need. Its Still Better Than Your Next Phone (Unless Your Next Phone Is A Nexus 5)

      • Andy

        someone needs to learn about sarcasm

        • PINJ

          Someone Needs To Lean To See The Bigger Picture. Then Again Some People Just Dont Have That Frame OF Mind.

          • krudd

            Someone needs to see the biggest picture. But then again, with spelling and grammar like that, they should focus less on pictures.

  • abhisahara

    Octopus where are u ! :)

  • Abhijeet Mishra

    Let me know when graphics and performance in games reaches the same level as iOS on Android, or should I be asking the devs to optimize better to make that happen? Games are one area where I wish Android would really improve, and soon, since other stuff is now great.

    • http://www.facebook.com/PradeepVizz Pradeep Viswanathan R

      Hope Tegra 4 is a step that will help that to happen!

    • Cheeseball

      LOL downvoting even though it's true. No heavy hitter games are on Android that aren't on iOS yet, but is unfortunately the other way around.

      • Abhijeet Mishra

        Yes, the Android fanboys refuse to see the truth for some reason. I bought an iPad recently. Games run awesome with great graphics (Modern Combat 4 and Need for Speed Most Wanted are two examples) and some nice exclusives, that's about the only thing I'm loving about it. Android needs to catch up in just one area now, hopefully that'll happen soon.

        • Darreon

          We have gameklip...sooo yeah. How's that touch screen gaming going?

          • PINJ

            Really Well. Added To The Fact That I Hate Any Kind Of Mobile Add On Analog Controller Bull Sh*t. If I Want Smtn Like That I Get A Dedicated Handheld Console.

          • Cheeseball

            So you're just going to blame both platforms due to their control interface?

        • spydie

          MC4 runs just as fast on my Note 2 as it does on my ipad... fanboy

          • PINJ

            Theres No Comparison Between The iPad 4 And The Note2. Really, Noooo Comparison.

          • Cheeseball

            Does it utilize high resolution textures and AA on the Note 2? It doesn't on the Nexus 7 and GT-I9100, but is enabled on the iOS version of the game (at least on the iPad 3/4).

            This is why I'd like Android devices to have high-powered GPUs like the SGX543MP2 and SGX543MP4. The Adreno 320 is a good start though. The Mali-400 MP is showing its age though.

      • PINJ

        Thaaaats Not True.

        • Cheeseball

          Name an Android-exclusive game that is visually impressive and has good gameplay.

    • spydie

      gimme a break... I had iOS, didn't see any difference between games on that and on android. fanboy

      • Abhijeet Mishra

        Go see the difference now, check out games like Most Wanted and Modern Combat 4, let me know the performance and graphics you get on Nexus 4/7/10 with all that amazing hardware. Oh well, useless to discuss this. I'm the fanboy.

      • PINJ

        If Only I Could Remember My Disqus Password So I Can Downvote You :/. Tech Noob.

    • PINJ

      Agreed. And I Think The New Intel Phones Will Crush The New iPhones I CPU Related Performance. Graphics? Not So Much.

      • PINJ

        ConsideringThey Did That To The iPhone 5 InThe Past :)

    • brigander

      blame the devs,
      blame devs that always start developing with ios first. that's why when they start porting for android, their mindset is still based on ios, no wonder it's not optimal.

      another thing to consider is professional game developer usually aim for ios first, because they have cash to start with. developing for ios is not free.
      while startup game dev normally go with android, because it's free (almost). no wonder there's so many mediocre games on android.

  • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

    GS4 anybody?

    • yarrellray

      I stated weeks ago that Samsung would release it's Exynos 5 with 8cores which was announced on Twitter by Samsung. I told folks not to put all their eggs in that Nividia Tegra 4 basket 2 days ago now look. You can rest assured that the upcoming Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 will be BEST in class devices in 2013. Nothing will be better.

      • Lte_Addict

        whoa there, don't forget snapdragon the 800 and 600 series are also very powerful, i think the snapdragon will be better than nvidia at giving the new exynos a run for their money

      • PINJ

        The iPhone 6 And iPad 5 Will Be Better. Sooooooorry. And No Matter How Many Down Votes I Get, The Benchmarks Will SPeak For Themselves

        • http://twitter.com/johntae71 John Kim

          Apple will be back on the Samsung teat before you know it, so don't worry about not having the Octo Core. The last time this happened, Apple screwed Samsung with NANDs chips,, but if you look in your Iphone/Ipad now,, you'll find nothing but Samsung NANDs, something that won't be changing even now. There just isn't anyone else to go to if you want a dependable quality NAND chip. Yeah, Apple will pay the 20% premium and sign the long term contracts, just like before. Whether you buy a Galaxy or Iphone Samsung gets paid.

          Don't cry for Samsung, they just raised the price on the current Apple CPU which Apple is stuck with for another year or two by 20%, which coincidentally covers the $1 Billion Apple won in court, but hasn't gotten in cash as of yet.

          Don't hate the Playa, Hate the Game.

          • PINJ

            Yah. You Should Prolly... Head To The News Page And Check Out Apples New Partner.

          • justin225

            You mean Sharp? Hahahaha.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      I hope so I for some reason I think they'll go quad-core with the GS4 and maybe use this on the Note 3 or the GS5.

      • Karol

        Well amount of cores in SGS series doubles in every next generation (1 S1->2 S2-> 4 S3-> 8 S4) so I wish that we'll find this monster in S4. (Sorry guys for my poor English).

        • http://twitter.com/Telanis_ Telanis

          3 isn't all that much of a pattern.

          • spydie

            how many does it take to make a pattern? I think 3 is a good start for conjecture

        • PINJ

          No It Doesnt. I Know What You Mean But Some People Might Not And You Didnt Say It Right.

          • acer1096xxx

            Please...It Is Really Annoying When People Capitalize Every Word in Their Sentence....plus it takes longer!

          • PINJ

            Not For Me.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

            +1 Though apparently PINJ can't help it. I guess it's an embedded typing habit.

            Like learning a QWERTY keyboard.

        • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

          The US GS3 had a dual core didn't it? Not that we're more special or anything, if anything we get screwed moreso than international folks.

      • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

        I'm hoping the S4, cuz this will most likely be the phone I get, unless Sprint gets the Nexus4, witch will most likely not happen, or they get the M7... I have no idea what to get, at this moment. I'm not going to get the S3, the note2 or the Evo LTE.

        • http://twitter.com/highwaypatrol Robert Markoš

          Having seen this (and Corning's presentation), I wouldn't be all that suprised if we were presented the S4 with Exynos 5 and Gorilla Glass 3.

      • http://profiles.google.com/xencillo21 Luis Enrique Cornejo


      • ConCal

        nah, this will make it to the gs4.

    • http://profiles.google.com/xencillo21 Luis Enrique Cornejo


      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

        IMHO, Tizen is just an open-source successor to Bada.

  • ProductFRED


    • Nigel Wong


    • Dan

      LOL - you win the internet today

    • PINJ

      ES File Manager All Day

    • Cheeseball

      Did your votes just reset back? O_o

      EDIT: Whoops, nevermind. Disqus cookies acting up.

  • Trying To Last Longer

    Apart from gaming, I find it hard to to justify the existence of this processor. 8 freaking cores? I can understand that someone needs to push the envelope, but this is just overkill.

    Can we please focus on battery life already?

    • RocketScience11

      "The company says that this will result in up to 70% battery savings."

      • Trying To Last Longer

        Since the quad-core race started, everyone has been talking about "battery savings". Do they actually deliver? Not really. Already we are pushing FHD screens on smartphones and now comes an 8-core processor to gobble up your battery life.

        • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

          We got more cores but at the same time more ram and more screen, so this battery saving could easily go to screen for example

        • Bala

          people easily get misleaded.. idling your phone with a7 cores rather than a a15 core will save you battery. who is going to use full 8 cores simultaneously?

    • moyaja

      Did you even read the article? It's mostly about the 70% battery gain...

    • Guest


    • ProductFRED
    • Tommy Thompson

      Read the article first, then comment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1190304627 Kris Smith

      Did you even read the article?

    • PINJ

      Ugh. Did You Know That A Lousy 1.6GHz Singlecore Atom Processor Beats The Ridiculously Modified Swift CPU In The iPhone 5 That Beats The Quadcore Nexus4 That Beats The Quadcore Galaxy Note 2 That Beats The Multicore Galaxy S3 That Beats The Multicore One X? /Argument.

  • spacekobra

    Its not actually 8 core is it? I keep reading big.LITTLE so its a low powered quadcore and a highpowered quadcore in one. Not actually 8 cores at once.

    • NexusKoolaid

      Is this chip big.LITTLE or perhaps big.LITTLE MP? Looking at the ARM whitepaper it appears that MP use model supports both cores working simultaneously.

      • spacekobra

        This is the first time I've seen the term big.LITTLE so I cannot help you there. I just think 8 core is buzzwording for hype.

    • Kokusho

      yeah you basicly switching between 4 shitty core and 4 regular A15 core.

      • spacekobra

        Yeah, that's what I thought. Either way, this is really cool.

      • PINJ

        Relax There. The Four A7 Are NOT Shitty. Dont Reiterate Things You Dont Know, Go Out And Proof Check Your 'Facts'

    • marcusmaximus04

      Well, all 8 cores *are* running at the same time, just not on the same tasks, not equally, and not at the same speed.

      • http://twitter.com/Telanis_ Telanis

        The article says they are not, where did you get your information?

        • PINJ

          Nyah. He Was Just Being..... You Know....

      • PINJ


  • Mapplegate

    Finally I'll be able to do 3D HD video editing on my phone. I was getting tired of waiting.

    • PINJ

      Thatll Be Another 2 Years. By That Time Youll See Current Gen Console Games Ported To Mobile. Same Gfx Yay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714859472 Rajvir Singh

    Don't announce it if you ain't gonna put it in your devices before the year ends.. *cough* Galaxy S4 *cough*

  • http://www.facebook.com/tylerjehills Tyler James Edward Hills

    HOLY BALLS SAMSUNG POWER MOVE. I know chip makers one up themselves over the course of a year. I didn't think it would happen 3 times in less than a week. First Tegra 4 then Snapdragon 800 now this?? Almost makes up for the lack of quality devices at CES (Save for Sony and maybe Vizio's tablets)

  • http://www.facebook.com/contest.chris Contest Chris

    It's not frigging eight cores. It is either or. You can't use all eight at once.

    • paleh0rse

      ok, soooo... who cares? Call it 4+4 if that makes you warm and fuzzy... at the end of the day, that's still eight individual cores, so it's still worthy of the "octa" prefix.

      • PINJ


      • defred34

        stfu dude/

  • KRS_Won

    Great for tablets.

  • Tommy Thompson

    It's technically still a quad core device. It will only utilize 4 cores at once, not all 8.

    • PINJ

      Yeah The Name Is Misleading. But Arent They All. Cough Nvidia/Intel-Making-A-Mobile-SoC-So-It-Automatically-Has-To-Be-Good-But-Turns-Out-Horrible-In-The-Graphic-Departement

  • http://twitter.com/cabbieBot cabbieBot

    MOAR COARS!!!!!!

  • Jamie

    Almost certainly on the s5 and a future note/tab.

    Is the s4 (likely may) too early?

    • http://www.linuxdistroreview.com/ Bo

      I'm guessing so, IIRC Samsung announced Exynos 5 around this time last year as well, and that didn't make it to GS III or G Note 2.

      • PINJ

        Yah But It Did Make It To The Note Of The Same Generation.

  • io53

    Good advertising. But I'm not quite convinced, sounds like nvidia optimus which wasn't quite as mind-blowing as it sounded when it first was announced. I guess it all depends on how smooth the switch between the 2 processors is. I hope it will be on the fly without you noticing it, but I doubt it.

    • Spencer

      Who said anything about two processors? All the cores are on one processor

  • Alex

    Nice one. But this not a real 8 core.
    I see this more like the tegra thing "4plus1". In this case it's "4plus4"

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      Hah, well put.

    • dqdfx

      while it's not 8 active cores, the flexibility from how they're designing this is certainly better than a standard 4 cores.

  • ConCal

    If LTE is included on chip this will be unstoppable.

  • Lte_Addict

    and in other news...htc announces its first smartphone with 4k resolution! lol

  • BigMixxx

    8 core, flexible oled screen with 128 gig of internal storage and 4 gig of ram. My next computer. in my pocket.

    • PINJ

      I Dont Think 4gig Is Going To Happen With Samsung Phones This Year.

  • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

    Note III, you shall be mine!

  • chris2kari

    What percentage of phone/tablet users actually NEED this much grunt?

    Nice bragging rights for marketibg purposes but honestly, current generation phones are already at the tipping point where more cpu grunt is unnecessary for most applications except 3d games.

    Now the push into chromebook style laptops... thats another ball park where cpu's like this could make A LOT of sense!

    Watch out intel!!!

    • http://twitter.com/Telanis_ Telanis

      This is no more grunt. In fact, it's optional less grunt to use less power.

  • GraveUypo


  • PINJ

    Perfect Prediction AGAIN. OMG I'm Effin AWESOME!!! Ehem

    • PINJ

      Seriously Though, I Rock.

  • Francis Arjonillo

    can't wait for XDA developers to get their hands on a phone with this cpu so that they can do their magic and activate all 8 cores to run at once :))

  • faceless128

    crazy how so many are going with '8 core' and 'octo core' headlines when it's really 4+4 cores. at least Android Police does indeed explain how the concept works, unlike many other sites out there that make it sound like some 8 core beast.

  • acer1096xxx

    I can see it now...
    The Galaxy S VI!
    2.0 GHz Octa-Core Exynos 5 processor
    2.5 GB RAM
    4.8" 1080p Super AMOLED™ Plus HD Display (or whatever they call it)
    13 MP Camera
    7.x mm thin
    3000 mAh battery (this with the octa-core processor would be AMAZING)

    Unfortunately I'll have to wait to the GS5 since I have a two-year contract, and I can't even imagine what kind of specs that would have.

    • PINJ

      2GHz Wont Happen. And The Screen Has To Be Bigger. Oh And Sub 3k Battery.

      • defred34

        Why? The Snapdragon 800 is clocked at 2.3GHz quadcore.

  • sam

    Wew. Go sansung!! Apple sucks again. Haha

  • flippingthecoins

    Well, but since both A7 and A15 cannot be active at the same time, if an app needs more processing, it would shift itself from A7 to A15. But then they should have a common cache otherwise we need to invalidate the cache of A7 and then re-fill the A15 cache. Any word on the architecture of this octa-core??

  • delphi

    already reach 8 core huh.
    I'd better wait for phone that use 9-core Cell broadband processor. should be near

  • Susan

    How could this be any better than Tegra 4? Nvidia will obviously win for graphics (tegra zone optimization, fresh 72 core design) and Cortex A15 is capped at 2 GHz. Tegra 4 is 1.8 GHz, so at best this is 200 MHz faster, and slower in the GPU.

  • tintin.92

    So this is kinda like Switchable graphics on modern laptops... It's a switchable processor!