Since Samsung announced the Exynos 5 Octa at CES 2013, one major criticism has been leveled at its implementation of big.Little technology time and again: for some reason, it has only ever been able to run 4 of its 8 cores at a time. Not only that, but it has never been able to mix-and-match the higher performance A15 cores with power efficient A7 cores to get the best possible configuration for performance and power usage. Effectively, the Exynos 5 Octa acted like a quad core processor with the ability to toggle between two different architectures. That situation will be changing shortly as Samsung prepares to launch Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) for the Octa in Q4, making it possible to run any number of cores in any configuration.


In the original architecture, processor intensive applications would force everything to run on the A15 cores. For example, playing a game often resulted in the super-charged cores running simple background processes like those for handling phone calls and text messages. The updated architecture is designed to direct threads with higher priority and computational demands towards the "big" Cortex-A15 cores while low priority and less demanding threads can be run on the "Little" Cortex-A7 cores.

While I advise against it, you can take a look at Samsung's promotional video that demonstrates how the big.Little architecture works under Heterogeneous Multi-Processing. Seriously, I'm warning you, this video is pretty obnoxious.

Availability for Samsung's processor customers is scheduled for a 4th quarter release. Since HMP appears to be a combination of hardware and software, existing and immediately upcoming products, like the just-announced Galaxy Note 3, probably won't be able to take advantage of it. However, this definitely gives us something to look forward to as Samsung prepares to launch new flagship devices in the coming months.

Source: Samsung Global

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

    Octa S4 and Note 3 owners will be pretty pleased.. NOT.

    • MJ

      Why would they not be pleased? They bought a phone and a newer, faster processor will be coming out. LOL Shocker... In the case of the Note 3, people buy it because it has the biggest screen NOT because it has the fastest processor known to man.

      • HopelesslyFaithful

        i buy because of both....

  • SuyashSrijan

    0% battery life guaranteed.

    • andy_o

      It's almost as if they knew Samsung was gonna publish this video.

      • Hans Pedersen

        Well, if you try to claim that Cortex-A15 is less efficient per core than a custom ARMv7 I would say you're making things up.

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      That's just so much crap it isn't even funny... The point of having more cores is completely lost in the ad, it's to run stuff in parallel and not sequentially as they keep it (context-switching is expensive as hell)

  • Jan

    Your article titles are stupid and a pain to decipher in this narrow ass layout. Memes aren't witty and they don't make you more interesting than any of the alternatives. What's wrong with "Samsung announces improved multi-processing technology for Exynos 5 Octa"?

    • http://mrmcpowned.com mrmcpowned

      You seriously must not come here often...

    • Captain Obvious

      Because if he would have said that, then it wouldn't have been like a boss, which it is. If you don't like the name of an article, I suggest you go make your own website, get your own info, and write your own articles. Just my two cents.

      • Jan

        "If you don't like the way your company/public transport/country is run I suggest you go and make your own."

        Criticizing them for their flaws would be absurd.

        • SickoPsycho

          This isnt a democracy. This is a POLICE nation. =)

    • Ignacio

      Have to agree with Jan. Memes got old pretty fast.

      • Matthew Gardner

        So does needless bitching.

        • SickoPsycho


    • QikOver

      Wow, 3 words at the tail end of a completely clear and succinct title bothered you this much? Grow up.

  • bungadudu

    Probably for a new version of note 3 :-))

    Really hope this is not ment for the Galaxy S5, as next year we should see the new x64 processors!

  • Jesus d

    So the fact that all these exynos 5 octa phones were only running as quad cores is ignored, meanwhile motorola gets berated about its use of an Optimized S4 with X8 technology?

    • Spruce Cycle

      Motorola deserves to be berated for its crappy and mediocre offerings of late.

    • Stylus_XL

      That was never a secret. Everywhere I saw the octa reviewed they always made a point of making it clear that it was not "8-core" but rather two interchangeable quad core processors.

  • Spruce Cycle

    This is TRUE innovation and right where it counts too! Only Samsung is pushing this industry forward!

  • Spruce Cycle

    But-GAWD-this commercial filled with nasaly, hipster screeching has got to go

  • Danny Davis

    And somehow, Samsung products will still find a way to lag.

    • Dave

      The lag has nothing to do with the CPU. It is because the slow storage. iPhone also lags , it lags even more but it has faster storage and no multitasking so it is less noticeable. Many HTC phones for example do not lag even though they do things which iPhone will need minutes to calculate.

      • Danny Davis

        And somehow, Samsung product will still find a way to lag...

        • Dave

          Ah , a blind sheep troll. Well yes it lags, now go back to your basement.

          • Danny Davis

            You're an idiot. I haven't used an iPhone product in my life. I've own 3 different Samsung product, two HTC products, 3 if you include the Nexus One, two ASUS products including the Nexus 7 and everything has lagged unless I custom ROM it. The only product that barely had any lag is my Nokia 920 and that's because WP is a stripped down basic UI that just works. Touch Wiz is the worse UI interface I've ever encountered. Samsung can have 8 cores and 4 gb RAM and will still find a way to lag. I don't agree with you and you call me sheep. Baaaaaaaa. How childish is that, Sherlock.

          • Dave

            Haha the troll gets offended. You are the idiot here and immature kid obviously. You have never seen Android or Samsung phone as it seems. You just proven it. WP just does not work troll. If it worked people would buy it and they are not. Android is what works and it works well and for 80% + people. So get back where you came for - with your ugly and unusable squares, 4 second camera lag and arrogant Microsoft support. And by the way when they destroy the Lumia brand you will cry again since your garbage will be forgotten in a week. LOL

          • Danny Davis

            Wow. What an idiot. Sorry to hurt your feelings about the truth of Samsung shitty Touch Wiz. There's alot of great features implemented but its no secret it creates lags. Lol. Kid. Basement. Troll. That's what idiots say when they get mad cause heard the truth. And you right. WP is boring. It will never have the rich feature Android provides. But having the same S4 chip my One X has and seeing how much lag is in Sense, well... But why am i explaining anything to Sherlock.

  • RedPandaAlex

    Is this a new hardware variant or will it be a firmware update for existing devices?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Samsung used intentionally vague wording, so it's not technically clear. However, instinct tells me that this can't just be added to existing hardware, unless Samsung has already built it in without telling anybody (which really doesn't sound like Samsung). I'm pretty sure we're going to see this topic pop back up sometime around the announcement of the SGS 5, or possibly with a Meizu phone (one of Samsung's processor customers)

      • SuyashSrijan

        Actually, there was a bug in the Cache Coherent Interconnect on the Exynos 5410's silicon which lead to flushing of cache whenever you switched cores so it won't be available to Galaxy S4 users. The issue was fixed with Exynos 5420 so I guess it's coming to Galaxy Note 3 users only.

        Anyway, there's no point of running 8 cores since apps use 2 most of the time and your battery life will go down quickly.

        • QikOver

          What's the first part of that got to do with the article or comment you replied to?

          *Anyway*, if this thing has 8 cores and the system thinks it needs all 8, why shouldn't it use them? The old way always has 4 useless cores, that seems pretty pointless.

          • SuyashSrijan

            "However, instinct tells me that this can't just be added to existing hardware"

            I just explain why exactly it can't be added.

  • mapsickle

    what about battery?? we probably need car battery to run this for 24 hours

    • David Li

      the exynos s4 octa has better battery life than the s600, this being able to use a7 cores more often should have as good if not better battery than their 5410)

    • Skander

      A7 cores barely use any significant amount of power.

  • http://randomphantasmagoria.com/ Shawn

    ...and it still can't handle more than one or two LTE bands properly.

  • John Smith

    in the meantime all java apps use 1 thread to draw to the UI...

    • QikOver

      Did you need more? There's only 1 screen.

      • John Smith

        it doesn't sound like a problem until you see that the main thread is also used everywhere else in an app - unless separate threads are explicitly used for specific tasks. Prime example: a listview adapter will easily result in crappy performance when a designer wants to use a fancy layout because SO MUCH is done on the UI/main thread.

    • firesoul453

      How would multiple UI threads even work?