Samsung Electronics has added a quad-core chip to its Exynos family of ARM-based application processors, offering twice the processing power with reduced energy consumption for future smartphone and tablet devices.
The Exynos 4 Quad, available to hardware vendors now, is based on ARM's Cortex A9 core design and offers clock speeds exceeding 1.4GHz, providing a boost to multi-tasking, Samsung said.
The new chip will debut in an upcoming Galaxy smartphone set to be officially announced next month, widely expected to be the Galaxy S3, with Samsung claiming it as the first quad-core application processor to hit the handset market.
"Samsung's next Galaxy device, which will be officially announced soon, offers uncompromised performance and ground breaking multi-tasking features," Hankil Yoon, senior vice president of product strategy, said in a statement.
By fabricating the chips using a 32nm high-k metal gate process, the Exynos 4 Quad is able to deliver double the processing power of Samsung's previous 45nm processor generation while reducing power consumption by 20 per cent.
Questions over power consumption have been hanging over quad-core chips, though, with some vendors such as Nokia questioning their suitability for smartphones, where a decent battery life is a crucial concern.
Samsung said it has implemented a scheme for Exynos 4 Quad whereby each core can be powered down individually, in addition to per-core dynamic voltage and frequency scaling to adapt to changing workload levels.
The chip also integrates a video codec engine capable of full 1080p video recording and playback at 30fps, and features an embedded image signal processor interface for a camera and HDMI output.
Exynos 4 Quad is pin compatible with the existing Exynos 4 Dual, enabling handset makers to easily adopt designs for quad-core capability.
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