While we mentioned this in our Galaxy Alpha launch article, Samsung is finally announcing the launch of their new Exynos 5430 SoC.

The main critical upgrade that the new chips revolve around is the manufacturing process, as Samsung delivers its first 20nm SoC product and is also at the same time the first manufacturer to do so.

On the CPU side for both the 5430, things don’t change much at all from the 5420 or 5422, with only a slight frequency change to 1.8GHz for the A15 cores and 1.3GHz for the A7 cores. We expect this frequency jump to actually be used in consumer devices, unlike the 5422’s announced frequencies which were not reached in the end, being limited to 1.9GHz/1.3GHz in the G900H version of the Galaxy S5. As with the 5422, the 5430 comes fully HMP enabled.

A bigger change is that the CPU IP has been updated from the r2p4 found in previous 542X incarnations to a r3p3 core revision. This change, as discussed by Nvidia earlier in the year, should provide better clock gating and power characteristics for the CPU side of the SoC.

On the GPU side, the 5430 offers little difference from the 5422 or 5420 beyond a small frequency boost to 600MHz for the Mali T628MP6.

While this is still a planar transistor process, a few critical changes have been made that make 20nm HKMG a significant leap forward from 28nm HKMG. First, instead of a gate-first approach for the high-K metal gate formation, the gate is now the last part of the transistor to be formed. This improves performance because the characteristics of the gate are no longer affected by significant high/low temperatures during manufacturing. In addition, lower-k dielectric in the interconnect layers reduce capacitance between the metal and therefore increase maximum clock speed/performance and reduce power consumption. Finally, improved silicon straining techniques should also improve drive current in the transistors, which can drive higher performance and lower power consumption. The end-effect is that we should expect an average drop in voltage of about 125mV, and quoting Samsung, a 25% reduced power.

In terms of auxiliary IP blocks and accelerators, the Exynos 5430 offer a new HEVC (H.265) hardware decoder block, bringing its decoding capabilities on par with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805.

Also added is a new Cortex A5 co-processor dedicated to audio decoding called “Seiren”. Previously Samsung used a custom FPGA block called Samsung Reprogrammable Processor (SRP) for audio tasks, which seems to have been now retired. The new subsystem allows for processing of all audio-related tasks, which ranges from decoding of simple MP3 streams to DTS or Dolby DS1 audio codecs, sample rate conversion and band equalization. It also provides the chip with voice capabilities such as voice recognition and voice triggered device wakeup without external DSPs. Samsung actually published a whitepaper on this feature back in January, but we didn’t yet know which SoC it was addressing until now.

The ISP is similar to the one offered in the 5422, which included a clocking redesign and a new dedicated voltage plane.

The memory subsystem remains the same, maintaining the 2x32-bit LPDDR3 interface, able to sustain frequencies up to 2133MHz or 17GB/s. We don’t expect any changes in the L2 cache sizes, and as such, they remain the same 2MB for the A15 cluster and 512KB for the A7 cluster.

The Galaxy Alpha will be the first device to ship with this new SoC, in early September of this year.

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  • name99 - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    "Not sure why they didn't go with a better gpu, maybe just testing the waters with a less complicated version for 20nm?"

    The whole product seems very much like an attempt to call FIRST for 20nm, ie a short-sighted marketing "triumph" (headlines today, forgotten tomorrow). There's no attempt to exploit the additional features 20nm gives you (ie run faster, use more transistors), it looks like all they did was "recompile" an existing CPU, make the absolute minimum changes they needed to get the damn thing to work, and rushed it out the door.
  • lilmoe - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    I don't know why you say that, but Samsung never claimed this was their flagship chip for the new process. I suggest you hold your assumptions until the 5433 is out...
  • GC2:CS - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Yeah, agree. They needed to ramp up 20 nm production so they put in exynos 5422 onto 20nm die, they made a new phone, that will be made in limited quantities ( I heard just a million to be made). Then when 20nm is ramped up somewhat, quickly put in a 64-bit octa core, that will power some small fraction of galaxy note 4's and claim FIRST for 64-bit octa core as well.
    I have a strong feeling that android OEM's would kill to prevent Apple from introducing the world's second 64-bit phone....
  • jameskatt - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    No need to suffer envy.
    If the new one is better that what you have, buy it.
    Then sell the old one.
    There is always something new coming around.
    The rush of being king of the hill is always fleeting.
    So keep buying to keep that rush going.
  • danielfranklin - Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - link

    So i guess this pretty much confirms that Apple's new SOC next month will be on 20nm...
    I was wondering how they would achieve their x2 performance increase this year if it wasnt ready in time, looks like it is though.
  • dakishimesan - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    But apple has been in volume production for months already.
  • Spunjji - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    Given that Samsung have just released a phone based around this, it's safe to say that this particular chip must have already been in production for some time now as well. Granted there's animosity between Samsung and Apple, but it would be odd for Samsung to prevent their biggest foundry customer from helping recoup costs on their shiny new 20nm process by giving them early access.
  • melgross - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    Apple isn't using Samsung this year. They are using TSMC, which is why Samsung announced that due to the loss of a major customer, their fab sales would be significantly lower than expected.
  • sigmatau - Friday, August 15, 2014 - link

    Actually they are using Samsung in addition to TSMC. Neither one can output the amount of 20nm silicon that they require so they will be using both.
  • dylan522p - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    Pretty much everyone states it's all TSMC. TSMC and Samsungs 20nm are different. No way in hell they would do that.

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