Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has just taken the wraps off the eight coreHeterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) it will be using on its Exynos 5 Octa to take advantage of ARM’s big.LITTLE combo. It will be available to its Exynos 5 Octa application processor customers by the end of 2013.
According to Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Samsung Electronics, the HMP capability will be targeted at system-level designers developing apps for 3D gaming, complex augmented reality and advanced web browsing.
“It's usually assumed that the big CPU will do all the performance-critical work, however, power-efficient little cores can handle many significant workloads all on their own, so the workload is balanced within the system,” he said. “An eight-core processor with HMP is the truest form of the big.LITTLE technology with limitless benefits to the users of high-performance, low-power mobile products.”
He thinks HMP is the most powerful use model for ARM big.LITTLE technology, as it enables the use of all physical cores at the same time. “Software threads with high priority or high computational intensity can be allocated to the 'big' Cortex-A15 cores while threads with less priority or are less computationally intensive, can be performed by the 'LITTLE' Cortex-A7 cores, enabling a highly responsive, low-energy system to be built,” he said.
Because, software implementation is essential to maximizing the benefits of big.LITTLE technology, he said that in depth studies were done by the company of diverse use case scenarios to see where it is possible to achieve what the architecture promises, high performance while managing power levels. It does this by moving the whole processor context up to the 'big' core or down to the 'LITTLE' core based on the measured work load.