Keeping pace with Qualcomm, Samsung debuts new Exynos 8 Octo chip

Samsung is stepping up in the mobile chip wars with the Exynos 8 Octo: It has four custom cores and an integrated LTE modem for theoretical 600 Mbps download speeds.


Just days after Qualcomm unveiled its high-end Snapdragon 820 chip for phones and tablets, Samsung has an answer with the Exynos 8 Octo. The company on Thursday announced its new super chip which has a few firsts for Samsung.

Instead of using standard ARM processor cores, this is the first Exynos chip that Samsung has modified; exactly the same approach Qualcomm has taken with its Kryos core in the new Snapdragon. There are four custom cores in the Exynos 8 that are paired with four ARM Cortex A-53 cores.

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Samsung says the 64-bit chip will offer a 30 percent performance improvement and 10 percent more power efficiency over its Exynos 7 chip inside many of its current phones. That's a bit less than what Qualcomm is promising: It expects 2x jump in performance and power efficiency in the snapdragon 820 compared to the Snapdragon 810.

The Exynos 8 is also the first chip that Samsung has integrated with an LTE modem, although details are scarce on just how integrated that is. However, the modem promises the same fast LTE speeds as Qualcomm's offering, theoretically supporting 600 Mbps downloads and 150 Mbps uploads with carrier aggregation support.

For graphics, Samsung is using a standard ARM Mali-T880 chip, which should be capable of handling 4K video playback on mobile devices.

The company says that it expects to begin mass production of the Exynos 8 Octo chip before year-end, which is just in time for a spring refresh of the Samsung Galaxy handset line.

And who knows: Perhaps Samsung will even try to sell its next-generation mobile silicon to other handset vendors and really go head-to-head with Qualcomm.