Samsung ships test units of performance-boosting mobile chip

The company says its new chip doubles CPU performance and boosts 3D graphics fourfold

Samsung on Wednesday said it has started shipping test units of its latest dual-core mobile chip based on ARM's new Cortex-A15 processor design, which could boost the performance of applications and graphics on smartphones and tablets.

The dual-core Exynos 5250 for mobile devices runs at a clock speed of 2GHz, providing roughly double the CPU performance of the ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor running at 1.5GHz, Samsung said. Compared to the latest ARM Cortex-A9 processors used in smartphones and tablets, Samsung said. The chip's 3D graphics processing capabilities are four times better, while cutting power consumption compared to current mobile chips, Samsung said.

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The chip can play back video at deeper resolutions on 2560-by-1600 pixel displays, Samsung said. The chip employs specific technology to make screen refresh rates more efficient when reading e-books or Web pages, which helps save power, the company said.

The chip is scheduled for mass production in the second quarter of 2012, Samsung said. A company spokesman could not immediately comment on when devices with the chip would become available.

Samsung is one of the first companies to publicly announce a chip with Cortex-A15 processors, which were announced in September as a Cortex-A9 successor. ARM processors are used in most smartphones and tablets today, including Apple's iPhone and iPad.

ARM, which licenses chip designs, expects Cortex-A15 smartphones and tablets to hit the market by the end of this year or early next year, initially with dual-core parts and later with quad-core parts. The Cortex-A15, which is also targeted at PCs and servers, is capable of running at up to 2.5GHz and can stretch to 16 cores in some configurations.

Samsung will contend with competitors including Texas Instruments, which has said it would release OMAP 5000-series chips based on Cortex-A15, and a host of mobile chip makers including Nvidia that have licensed Cortex-A15.

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