About two weeks ago, Samsung unveiled its next generation system-on-chip or SoC, the Exynos 8 Octa. Now it is revealing what will be the first member of that new family, the Exynos 8 Octa 8890. This processor brings together all the latest in the silicon industry, including a 14 nm FinFET process as well as combining both application processor and a powerful new cellular LTE modem in a single chip. This new flagship processor is expected to power the Korean OEM’s Galaxy S7 smartphone, due to be revealed by February next year.
Samsung is no stranger to the new manufacturing process. Earlier this year, it announced the Exynos 7 Octa 7420 made with the same 14 nm FinFET process. It was then chip that would power the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, eschewing the tradition of having a Snapdragon-powered model. The current process only uses 22 nm and each smaller process brings about better energy efficiency and performance.
What makes the Exynos 8890 different is that it is the first 14 nm FinFET chip to have both processor and modem on a single chip. Ultimately, this translates to less space used up by the chips, leaving more room for manufacturers to add new chips and features. The LTE modem itself is no underdog either, capable of supporting Cat. 12 and its insane 600 Mbps rate on download and Cat. 13 LTE on upload for a speed of 150 Mbps.
One other distinctive feature of the 8890 is that it is Samsung’s first custom designed CPU core. In the past, the company has been using the designs directly from ARM Holdings. In contrast, Qualcomm has been using its own custom cores for some of its chips. Samsung has long been rumored to be planning on making such a move and has made that a reality in the Exynos 8 Octa series. In theory, this would allow Samsung to fine tune and customize its CPUs to its specific needs better than it were simply reusing ARM’s design.
The Exynos 8 Octa 8890 will be going into mass production later this year. This still gives Samsung enough time to integrate it into the upcoming Galaxy S7 by the time MWC rolls around in February.