Samsung’s Exynos 8895 features custom CPU cores, first 10nm chip to market
by Joel Hruska
Mobile World Congress doesn’t start for a few days, but Samsung has already jumped the gun to announce its own SoC. The Exynos 8895 will be the first 10nm chip produced in commercial volume, and it’ll feature a new custom CPU core of Samsung’s own design.
We’ve discussed Samsung’s M1 processor before, since that chip featured in some versions of the Galaxy S7, but there’s no word on what kind of features or capabilities Samsung has baked into the core. With this version of the core following hard on the heels of the previous, it seems safe to assume it’ll be a tweaked version of the M1 core, optimized for better performance and the 10nm process, but not a new architecture or huge overhaul of the CPU core.
Samsung has previously described its 10nm LPE process as offering either 27% improved performance or 40% reduced power, and the Exynos 8895 is still an eight-core design with four Cortex-A53s and four Samsung M2 CPUs running at an unknown clock speed.
The Samsung M1 is a wide design capable of decoding four instructions per cycle. It can retire and rename four micro-ops per cycle and can issue up to seven micro-ops per cycle. Its L2 cache is 2MB (split between cores), with a 22 cycle latency — relatively high, as such things go, but this likely saves power compared with a more aggressive design.
We don’t know anything about M2 performance yet, but the M1 was generally quite strong against the Cortex-A57. It didn’t win every benchmark, even with a higher clock speed, but it would’ve at least offered performance parity at equal clock speed in many tests.
GPU performance is provided by the ARM Mali G71MP20. The G71 is based on ARM’s Bifrost architecture, which we discussed in more detail here. The G71 can scale up to 32 shader cores, much higher than previous GPU cores, and ARM claims it offers 20% energy efficiency, 20% more bandwidth, and 50% higher performance when implemented on the same process as the older Mali-T760. Samsung is claiming a performance boost of 60% (likely thanks to 10nm) but exact details aren’t yet available. Finally, the Exynos 8895 will also use LPDDR4x, an evolution of the LPDDR4 standard that can reduce DRAM power consumption by up to 20%.
With Cat16 LTE support supporting download speeds of up to 1Gbps, Samsung is clearly trying to carve out a niche for itself as a no-holds-barred high-performance company. We’ll have to wait how to see how the chip compares as a whole with the Apple A10 Fusion or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835. But Samsung seems to have a very good shot at breaking Android performance benchmarks when the Galaxy S8 hits later this year.
Originally published at www.extremetech.com on February 24, 2017.