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Samsung’s first 20nm Exynos Octa-Core processor

The new SoC that powers the latest metal-clad Samsung Galaxy Alpha is a Samsung Exynos 5430 Octa SoC, the first SoC coming from Samsung’s 20nm HKMG process. What is its difference from the 28nm HKMG process? Read on to find out.

To start, it is an octa-core big.LITTLE processor design with four 1.8Ghz Cortex A15 and four 1.3Ghz Cortex A7 CPU, with a Mali T628MP6 GPU. This has been done before with its predecessor, the Exynos 5420 SoC. The improvement is in the manufacturing process, as mentioned, from 28nm to 20nm.

According to AnandTech, here are a few of the critical changes:

• 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.

• The lower-k dielectric in the interconnect layers reduce capacitance between the metal and therefore increase maximum clock speed/performance and reduce power consumption.

• Improved silicon straining techniques should also improve drive current in the transistors, which can drive higher performance and lower power consumption.

For users, this means a more powerful processor with longer battery life. We expect to see this SoC powering future Samsung devices and other OEMs. For now, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha gets the first dibs.


This article was contributed by Daniel Morial, a film school graduate and technology enthusiast. He's the geeky encyclopedia and salesman among his friends for anything tech.

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