Recently, Chipworks managed to get their hands on the Galaxy S6 and tear down the device to get a closer look at the ICs (integrated circuit) present in the device, which allows for additional analysis of the device. We’re still working on our full review, but we can take a quick look at what Chipworks has found in the device.

This includes an Exynos 7420 SoC that we’ve previously discussed, a Shannon 333 modem along with a Shannon 928 Transceiver and Shannon 710 envelope tracker for the RF front-end. Interestingly, they’ve found an ST-Microelectronics touch controller, which seems to be for the display. Given that most of the Galaxy S and Note family uses Cypress’ CapSense solution for the capacitive touch keys, it’s likely that this is true for the Galaxy S6 as well. Interestingly enough, Chipworks has also identified a Samsung C2N8B6 companion ISP present in the Galaxy S6.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the teardown thus far is that the die size of the 14nm FinFET Exynos 7420 is about 78 mm^2, which is incredibly small compared to the 113 mm^2 size of the 20nm Exynos 5433. It’s unlikely that this is purely due to process as the metal interconnect pitch improvements are relatively minimal when compared to 20nm HKMG, so it’s likely that we’re looking at a great deal of optimization in layout and possibly some IP blocks removed in order to reduce die size. With a die shot floorplan we should be able to figure out exactly what Samsung did to achieve this, and get a good idea of what Samsung has done for the Exynos 7420 which should help with our full review of the Galaxy S6.

Source: Chipworks

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  • Jumangi - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    Not to near the degree that an Apple A SoC is.
  • fteoath64 - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link

    The A57 design is optimized to some degree and probably leaves lots out for partners to handle their own optimizations. Arm wants to save transistors so it does optimization s that saves transistors. Sammy looks like ripping out modules and replacing with others. I doubt they did core CPU pipeline optimizations. To Stuff like Denver or A7/A8 takes too much time they do not have!. So counting on 14NM process works well enough as Intel can attest to.
  • TrojMacReady - Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - link

    Not sure how it's a lead when the SoC is considerably larger (just 78mm² for the 7420), no less power hungry, produces more heat and is slower in most benchmarks and practical tasks and use (except 3D games at native resolution), despite having push up to almost 4 times less pixels than say the S6.
  • name99 - Saturday, April 4, 2015 - link

    "Android can make use of all the cores it can get"

    Please justify this statement. The issue is not "can Android's version of Linux technically support 8 cores", that is obviously true. It's likely just as true that iOS's version of Darwin can technically support 8 cores [since OSX's version of Darwin clearly can].
    The point is: what evidence is there that some significant portion of Android software (the runtime, the frameworks, significant apps) make SIGNIFICANT use of 8 (or even 4) cores.
    The usual benchmarks don't show a massive boost from all these cores. Responsiveness is not significantly improved over iOS. If the best you can say is "games [in some vague generic sense] make significant use of them", well, perhaps (I personally don't give a damn about games); but I don't see evidence of some sort of hard-core Android gamer community that matters significantly to anyone from phone designers to phone revenue trackers.

    As for performance numbers, the single core GeekBench numbers for A8X are basically equal to the lower-end Broadwell-Y (1.1GHz, Turbo to 2.6) in the MacBook, as are the multi-core numbers (2 cores+HT for Broadwell, 3 cores for Apple). The higher end Macbook is maybe 15% faster (I haven't seen benchmarks for it yet), and I expect the A9X will exceed that 15% gap.

    Point is, when subject to the same design constraints (same power budget, same thermals) the A8X is every bit the equal of the Intel chip and probably superior, given the more constrained environment of a tablet vs ultrabook.

    As for your i3, i5 vs i7 rant. I have no idea what you're even saying there, so I'll just quietly ignore it.
  • kyuu - Saturday, April 4, 2015 - link

    Ah yes, let's cherry pick GeekBench numbers (why is that somehow considered the ultimate benchmark to some people?) and ignore that the A8X is definitely not equal to the Broadwell in single-threaded (or multithreaded performance with an equal number of cores) performance according to most every metric in existence.
  • Jumangi - Monday, April 6, 2015 - link

    Comparing a ARM ship to an Intel Core CPU is freaking stupid
  • lilmoe - Saturday, April 4, 2015 - link

    Why is it that an objective (or even subjective) opinion has to always turn into a flame war? Can't you just debate someone's claims without coming off looking as a fanboy or hurt because your favorite company didn't get absolute and affirmative praise? SMH.. I did give credit to their design decisions regarding their platform......

    Let's make this clear:
    - Application processors aren't only about single threaded performance. You can't measure a platform's worth based on specific, one sided metrics.
    - I'm not a huge fan of Core M, but it's definitely not comparable to other "mobile" processors. Atom is, especially the newer ones.
    - Geekbench, among other benchmarks, does NOT run equally, with the same workload, on each and every platform. Stop making one benchmark or two the sole basis of your opinion, especially when they're cross platform. That's similar (albeit not the same) to using "browser" benchmarks to judge cross platform CPU performance (which is ridiculous BTW). Geekbench is good to test the difference of generation upgrades at best.


    "The point is: what evidence is there that some significant portion of Android software (the runtime, the frameworks, significant apps) make SIGNIFICANT use of 8 (or even 4) cores"

    Dude, you're being paranoid. I'm not saying that iOS isn't capable of handling more cores at the OS/kernel level. Unlike iOS, Android _allows_ ANY task to run in the background without definitive constraints. This means that having more cores definitely benefits the platform. This isn't about particular apps taking advantage of multiple cores either, I'm talking about spreading the workload of DIFFERENT apps/processes running SIMULTANEOUSLY among different cores. Again, by design, iOS does NOT allow apps to run freely in the background, thus my point that iOS doesn't "need" many cores to run optimally, but rather faster cores that dedicated more power to the task in the foreground, and additional co-processors to handle tightly integrated tasks in the background. CPUs running Android can go the same route, BUT doing so would arguably not be optimal; If two Android apps are running simultaneously and are utilizing 60% of CPU power (for example), it would be more faster and more power efficient if 2 cores handle that workload utilizing 30% of each. CPU power scaling isn't linear you know... More cores isn't only about "marketing". This is more about system behavior/design decisions than it is about system capability.


    "Point is, when subject to the same design constraints (same power budget, same thermals) the A8X is every bit the equal of the Intel chip and probably superior"

    This is highly unlikely. Read above.


    I can direct you to a Webster definition of the word "rant", and might also elaborate more on my point about i3/5/7. But sure, lets leave it at that since I believe it was clear enough.
  • Speedfriend - Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - link


    "As for performance numbers, the single core GeekBench numbers for A8X are basically equal to the lower-end Broadwell-Y"
    Core m 5Y10 gets 2030 single core versus A8X at 1808, thats 12% higher or more than the performance improvement that Apple made between A8 and A7.
    Core M 5Y71 in the T300Chi gets single core 2900 and multi at 5500, which is 60% ahead on single core and 25% ahead on multi-core.
    Given how little the improvement was between A7 and A8, Apple will have to pull off a miracle to close that gap.
  • samlim01 - Saturday, April 4, 2015 - link

    I want Samsung to get a license and do a custom Exynos.
  • Mobile-Dom - Saturday, April 4, 2015 - link

    they already have one, the problem is that custom cores take a hella long time to develop

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