In an unexpected and surprise annoucement, Samsung today revealed its new generation flagship SoC - the Exynos 8. The Exynos 8890 to be more specific, is the successor to the Exynos 7420 that we've come to know very well in this year's Galaxy flagships such as the Galaxy S6 or the Note5.

The Exynos 8890 is still an 4+4 big.LITTLE design using four Cortex A53 cores in the little cluster, but on the big cluster we see for the first time Samsung's own custom developed CPU architecture deployed in silicon. The new core, officially called the Exynos M1, is the first fruit of years-long efforts by Samsung's Austin R&D Center to try to create an in-house CPU architecture. What we do know of the M1 is that it's still very similar to ARM's big core architectures (And thus might be a derivative) such as the A72: It's still a 3-wide OoO design with the same amount of execution pipelines and similar, although not quite identical pipeline stages on the execution units.

Samsung is claiming the Exynos 8890 will provide up to 30% higher performance and 10% better power efficiency than the Exynos 7420's - although the wording is a bit vague and doesn't specify if we're talking about a pure architectural comparison or actual implementation comparison, as previous PR numbers on the Exynos 7420 also didn't quite represent the full improvements of the chipset.

Samsung follows MediaTek's example by dropping the use of ARM's CCI IP in favour of designing their own cache-coherent interconnect fabric aptly named SCI (Samsung Coherent Interconnect). It seems that vendors are keen to try to improve their SoC architectures by designing fully optimized SoC fabric solutions and I guess Samsung saw the need to differentiate in this regard.

On the GPU side, we see usage of an ARM Mali T880MP12. This is the biggest Mali core implementation to date and increases the number of cores by 50% compared to the Exynos 7420's MP8 configuration. Keeping in mind that the T880 also increases ALU pipelines per core by 50%, we're looking at a 2.25x increase in computational power assuming Samsung kept the clock frequencies equal. Alternatively, they could go lower in frequency for much improved power efficiency. Samsung advertises 4K as an option for this SoC so likely we're looking at a very powerful GPU setup.

Lastly, but not least, is the announcement that the Exynos 8890 is part of Samsung's ModAP lineup, meaning this is a part with a modem. The new modem supports LTE Category 12 download speeds with up to 3x carrier aggregation up to 600Mbps or uploads speeds up to 150Mbps on Cat. 13 with CA. This effectively makes the new Shannon modem on the 8890 equal Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 modem capabilities. Until further future confirmation on the matter, I fail to use the "integrated" word in regards to the modem due to Samsung's new product page presenting a graphic representing the modem/AP in a way that seems strikingly similar to a SiP (System-in-Package) solution, as opposed to an on-die solution.

The Exynos 8890 is announced to enter mass production in late 2015. With just six weeks left in the calendar year this likely means we're already seeing silicon being etched as we speak, just in time for Samsung's new Galaxy flagship early next year.

Source: Press release

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  • Kvaern2 - Thursday, November 12, 2015 - link

    Is he like the bicycle repairman for companies strugling with CPU design?
  • TechGod123 - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    He really is, isn't he? He did Apple's custom SOCs and Zen and next will be a Samsung SOC that he'll seriously spruce up...
  • jospoortvliet - Monday, November 16, 2015 - link

    Let's hope so. It will take 3 years before we see results of course but by then glad the industry runs Keller chips :-)
  • sseemaku - Thursday, November 12, 2015 - link

    The million dollar question is, will samsung use SD820 or Exynos in next galaxy phone? They now have a good SOC. Even if this SOC doesn't beat SD820, but if close enough, then samsung can ditch Qualcom once again!
  • lilmoe - Thursday, November 12, 2015 - link

    They're allegedly using both.
  • Laststop311 - Thursday, November 12, 2015 - link

    Well let's think back everytime qualcomm has used a custom core they have obliterated the competition not only due to their custom cores but to their superior modem integration offering the lowest power consumption of anything. Yes QC messed up when they scrapped their next custom core as it was still 32 bit and released a standard arm design to get them into 64 bit. They would have been better off releasing the planned 32 bit custom core instead of the abomination that was the 810 but people are idiots and would've said it sucked because 32 bit. Now they are back on track with their first real planned 64 bit chip.

    I am calling it now thier domination shall continue. This adreno graphics they are using now is going to kill the standard mali designs used by samsung. Why do you think samsung had to but the huge mp12 version on theri soc? They knew the new adreno was going to be massively powerful. Maybe the mp12 mali helps them somewhat keep up but at what power cost? And nobody can compete with the on die integrated modems from qualcomm they are the fastest and lowest power consuming modems available. The 600/150 speed it can push maximum will ensure that the modem is never the weak link in the connection as well.

    People only think the exynos is so great because qualcomm faltered on 1 chip making a bad decision to scrap the next 32 bit design and release a standard 64 bit arm design just to jump on the 64 bit bandwagon. I've been saying this from day 1 when qualcomm released the standard 64 bit cores, that they will be right back on top when they release their true krait successors and not that simple stop gap solution. Exynos has sucked and always will suck.

    I won;t be upgrading anyways, I'd still be on the galaxy note 2 if it wasnt for t-mobile putting band 12 700mhz LTE in my area and my phone not supporting it. So i was forced to get a galaxy note 4 which i love but really everything i ran worked perfectly fine on the note 2 but the ability to use band 12 LTE was far worth it and the note 4's extra battery life was a nice bonus too, I can use the phone as heavily as I want and I know it will make it 16 hours a day with sporadic charging on my car when i drive, the note 2 I had to baby it a little or I'd find myself without a charge.

    Even if the 820 is totally amazing the speed in my note 4 is more than enough for everything i need as is the battery life. The galaxy note 6 will have to bring something truly revolutionary for me to upgrade and nothing has done that for me so far. Most likely will stick to this phone until 600mhz starts being deployed and I need a new phone to take advantage of the new frequencies as t-mobile is sure to win a lot of 600mhz though i fear I won't be seeing it as they said it will mainly be for areas they dont have 700mhz coverage and i have 700mhz coverage already. Will still be useful for travel though. I'm still locked in on t-mobiles 70 dollars a month unlimited everything with 7GB of 4g LTE tethering and with the phone rooted you can actually cheat the tethering limit. And you don't get throttled at 21GB you only get throttled after 21GB if a cell site is congested. Basically once a cell site is congested anyone over 21GB on unlimited gets lower priority as well as people on mvno's.
  • TechGod123 - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    But A9. Still beats this SOC and Qualcomm's at single thread. The A9 has a beastly GPU and I'm not sure if Sammy or Qualcomm can compete.
  • geekbot - Saturday, November 14, 2015 - link

    Mali T880MP12 will be more powerful than PowerVR GPU in A9 . T880MP12 will be little more than twice more powerful than the T760MP8 currently being used in Exynos 7420. As per the CPU part single thread performance of the new exynos will be little less than A9 but as it is quadcore, it is absolutely going to destroy A9 in multicore performance. It will be really amazing that the custome core in exynos would reach(be slightly behind) the single thread performance of A9 even though having approximattely half the die size
  • ciderrules - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    So Samsung is claiming 30% improvement over the 7420 yet the "leaked" score posted previously for the 8890 shows single core at 70% faster than the 7420.

    I doubt Samsung would claim "only" 30% if their custom cores were actually a full 70% faster than A57 cores used in the 7420. Which means that "leaked" score is probably wrong and the real single core score for the 8890 would be more like 1750. A far cry from the 2500 the A9 gets, and the A9 is clocked at 500MHz slower to boot.

    Apple is still way ahead of Samsung here.
  • Nenad - Friday, November 20, 2015 - link

    So Samsung is claiming 30% improvement over the 7420 yet the "leaked" score posted previously for the 8890 shows single core at 70% faster than the 7420.

    It is possible that 30% refers to improvement at same frequency ( clock for clock), while 70% refers to total improvement that also assume higher frequency. Or not ;p

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