Difference Between Samsung Exynos 5 Dual and Exynos 5 Octa

Samsung Exynos 5 Dual vs Exynos 5 Octa

This article compares and contrasts the differences between Exynos 5 Dual and Exynos 5 Octa, two modern System-on-Chips (SoC) designed and manufactured by Samsung targeting handheld devices. A SoC is a computer on a single IC (Integrated Circuit, aka chip). Technically, a SoC is an IC that integrates typical components on a computer (such as microprocessor, memory, input/output) and other systems that cater electronic and radio functionalities. While Samsung released Exynos 5 Dual in October 2012, it announced Exynos 5 Octa in January 2013. 

Typically, the major components of a SoC are its CPU (Central Processing Unit) and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). The CPUs in both Exynos 5 Dual and Exynos 5 Octa are based on ARM’s (Advanced RICS – Reduced Instruction Set Computer – Machine, developed by ARM Holdings) v7 ISA (Instruction Set Architecture, the one that is used as the starting place of designing a processor). The Exynos 5 Dual and Exynos 5 Octa are manufactured using semiconductor process technologies known as High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) 32nm and 28nm respectively.

Samsung Exynos 5 Dual

Samsung Exynos 5 Dual is the first ever MPSoC to use a dual core ARM Cortex A15 processor architecture. When it was announced, the target device for the all-powerful Exynos 5 Dual was a tablet PC, known as Samsung Chromebook Series 3. Later, the MPSoC was adapted by other devices such as Google Nexus 10, Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3. On proposal, Samsung claimed that the processor will be clocked at 2GHz targeting high end tablet PCs. Although, on release the frequency adapted was 1.7GHz.

Atypical to an MPSoC, the instruction set used by the processor is ARMv7. The processor also featured ARM’s Mali-T604, a Quad-Core high performance graphics processor that is clocked at a frequency higher than 500MHz. Benchmark tests performed on a number of instances proved that both the CPU and the GPU of Exynos 5 Dual is better than Exynos 4 Quad. Similar to Exynos 4 Dual and Quad, Exynos 5 Dual used 32nm HKMG process technology.

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa

As you would have guessed by its name, the Exynos 5 Octa is supposed to carry 8 (yes eight!) cores in its die; although, it is expected to work like a Quad-Core processor depending on the mode it is to operate on. On the high performance mode, the ARM Cortex A15 cluster of processors (four cores) will be active, and on the high efficiency mode (maximize energy efficiency) the ARM Cortex A7 cluster of processors (again another four cores) will be active. That is A7 is for low power, low performance and A15 is for high power, high performance applications. All 8 cores, 4 x A15 and 4 x A7 will be situated on the same die accustom to a system-on-chip. It is claimed that Samsung, as opposed to its tradition, will not use ARM’s GPU rather will use Imagination’s PowerVR SGX544MP3 (three cores) for its graphics processing.

The instruction set used by both the processor clusters will be ARMv7, and they will use 28nm HKMG process technology for chip manufacturing. While the Cortex A15 cluster is expected to be clocked at 1.8GHz max, the Cortex A7 cluster is expected to clock at 1.2GHz max. In addition, the former cluster is shipped with a 2MB L2 cache, and the latter cluster will have only half an MB L2 cache.

Exynos 5 Octa is expected to be released with Samsung Galaxy S4 later this month (April, 2013). Galaxy S4 will be the successor to the famous Galaxy SIII. 

A Comparison Between Exynos 5 Dual and Exynos 5 Octa


Samsung Exynos 5 Dual

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa

  Release Date

October 2012

Q2 2013 (expected)




  First Device

Samsung Chromebook S3

Samsung Galaxy S4

  Other Devices

Google Nexus 10, Galaxy Mega 6.3



ARM v7 (32bit)

ARM V7 (32bit)


ARM Cortex A15 (Dual Core)

ARM Cortex A15 (Quad) + ARM Cortex A7 (Quad)

  CPU’s Clock Speed


1.8GHz + 1.2GHz


ARM Mali-T604 (4 cores)

PowerVR SGX544MP3

  GPU’s Clock Speed



  CPU/GPU Technology

32nm HKMG

28nm HKMG

  L1 Cache

32KB Instruction/Data per Core

32KB Instruction/Data per Core

  L2 Cache

1MB shared

2MB shared + 512KB shared


Exynos 5 Octa, apart from being the first ever eight-core MPSoC in the market, carries a number of other neat features such as power saving and the use of a better process technology. For its usage and benchmark performances, we need to wait for little longer.