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Posts Tagged ‘samsung’

Study Shows Octa Core Processors Bring Little Over Quad Core Processors in Mobile Devices

September 1st, 2015 5 comments

Silicon vendor are now launching 8-core and even 12-core processors for mobile devices, and I can see some advantages in terms of power consumption in processors leveraging big.LITTLE processing with low power ‘LITTLE’ cores running light tasks such as audio or video playback, while performance ‘big’ cores running much demanding tasks. However, some processors, such as RK3368, feature the same eight cores, and in real-use don’t bring that extra bit of performance or lower power consumption, except in very specific cases. So the only “advantage” of this type of processor is a marketing one, with keyword like “Octa-core”, “64-bit”, etc… Last year, I found out, that more powerful cores may be more important than many cores, when I tested Allwinner A80 processor with PVRMonitor to check CPU usage per core in real-time, and in Antutu, while Browsing the web or playing games, only a few cores were used most of the time, and rarely all eight cores were needed.

PVRMonitor showing only 4 Cores out of 8 Cores Used during 3D Graphics Tests in Antutu

PVRMonitor showing only 4 Cores out of 8 Cores Used During 3D Graphics Test in Antutu

Moor Insight and Strategy, a high-tech analyst firm, benchmarked five smartphones in order to find out whether the number of cores mattered, and when possible disabled a few cores during testing to get an idea of the performance difference between 2-, 4- and 8- core performance.

The five smartphones under test were:

  • LG G4 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 2x Cortex-A57 + 4x Cortex-A53 processor (6 cores) – Android Lollipop
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 with Samsung Exynos 7420 4x Cortex-A57 + 4x Cortex-A53 processor (8 cores) – Android Lollipop
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i with Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 8x Cortex-A53 processor (8 cores) – Android Lollipop
  • HTC Desire 820S with MediaTek MT6752 8x Cortex-A53 processor (8 cores) – Android Kitkat
  • LG G Flex 2 with Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 4x Cortex-A57 + 4x Cortex-A53 processor (8 cores) – Android Lollipop

The three benchmarks:

They also ran YouTube v10.24.57 and WeChat v6.2 apps, as well as Qualcomm Trepn Profiler to measure clock speed and load, and 3D CPU manager to disable cores on devices that supported (rooted + hotplug support) it, which sadly, meant only LG G Flex 2 and Xiaomi Mi 4i.

PCMark_Android_6_cores_8cores

6 and 8 Core Smartphones Results in PCMark

One of their first remark was to notice that LG G4 with its 6-core processor outperformed almost all smartphones based on 8-core processors. This should have been expected since two of the eight cores smartphone are only running low power (and performance) Cortex A53 cores while LG G4’s Snapdragon processor comes with both A57 and A57 cores, but I guess it still shows to consumers that an 8-core is not necessarily faster than 6-core smartphone.

The more interesting part of the study is when they disable cores with on the same device with 3D CPU Manager.

PCmark_2_4_8_coresThe chart above shows that PCMark results are the same with 2, 4, 6 or 8 on Xiaomi Mi 4i, and results only drop on LG G Flex when switching from 4 to 2 cores, and the only reason is that only two Cortex A53 cores were active, while at lest two Cortex A57 cores were active when  4 to 8 cores were enabled.

Basemark_X_LG_G_Flex_2In 3D graphics tests with Basemark X, there was little differences between 2, 4, 6 or 8 cores activated, and amazingly they even noticed a slightly better performance with 2 cores compared to 8 cores. They repeated the tests several times with the same, and assumed it might be due to thermal throttling as the processor would heat more with 8 cores…

CamSpeed_Gold_Xiaomi_Mi_4iThe camera benchmark however showed a clear improvement with 4 cores over 2 cores (the same Cortex A53 cores), but very little improvement when 6 or 8 core were enabled.

Finally, while testing apps they found out that YouTube would play 1080p video in Xiaomi Mi 4i with 2 cores enabled, except when UI calls may cause a slowdown, which disappeared with 4 cores or higher. Unsurprisingly, WeChat ran perfectly fine on two cores…

Their conclusion was that CPU core count was not an accurate measurement of performance or performance, and that more CPU cores is not always better. They called on phone manufacturers and carriers to stop promoting the number of cores as a selling point, and instead improve benchmark practices and education.

If you feel like it, you can also watch the 49-minute benchmark session.

The white paper can be downloaded here.

Via ExtremeTech and thanks to Milkboy for the tip!

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Connect an Android Smartphone or Tablet to a Monitor, USB Keyboard and Mouse Easily with a DisplayLink Docking Station

August 29th, 2015 4 comments

Following my post featuring Zenfone 2 Deluxe Special Edition smartphone with 256GB internal storage and 4GB RAM, I had an interesting discussion about mobile and desktop convergence, and we had different views on how this may pan out and what the consumers want, but we all basically agreed this was still work in progress.

DisplayLink_Android

Another reader pointed me to his various attempts to conveniently connect his Android smartphone and tablet to a large monitor together with keyboard and mouse. He basically considered – and in most cases tested – four choices:

  • Wireless Display solution (Miracast, Chromecast, EZcast…) together with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse
  • Micro USB port with MHL using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse
  • Slimport adapter based on MHL but with USB port for keyboard and mouse. Here’s on example of Slimport to HDMI adapter ($10).
  • Displaylink docking station with HDMI and VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0

Wireless display was not satisfactory because of lag, and Bluetooth also introduced some lag, so the first two solutions are feasible, but not with the best user experience. Slimport would have worked, but it’s a solution for mobile platforms only, and some models are only compatible with Samsung devices Samsung-only (5P vs 11P), so finally the best and most versatile solution was to go with a Displaylink docking station such as StarTech.com Universal USB 3.0 laptop mini docking station with model USB3SMDOCKHV including HDMI and VGA ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB 3.0 cable to connect to a laptop or mobile device.

Displaylink_Docking_StationAfter the first time setup where you need to connect a VGA or HDMI TV/monitor, the USB keyboard and mouse via a USB hub, you just need to connect the docking station to your USB OTG capable Android 5.0+ smartphone and tablet using a USB OTG adapter, and all signaling for video and input devices go through the USB cable. The bonus is that, just like with MHL, it will also charge your device as you use it.

The provided CDROM includes a user’s manual and drivers for Windows and Mac, which you can also download via the product page. However, fi you’re going to use an Android device this won’t help, and instead you need to download DisplayLink Desktop (Beta) via Google Play Store. Apps reviews are quite positive and the app has been confirmed to work with Nexus 6, Asus Fonepad 7, Galaxy S6 Edge, and One Plus One with CM12. It has also been tested successfully with StartTech docking station with Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and Note 4.

Samsung Galaxy S Tab 8.4 Connected to StarTech DisplayLink Dock

Samsung Galaxy S Tab 8.4 Connected to StarTech DisplayLink Dock

Thanks to JoyTest for sharing his experience.

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BBC Micro Bit Educational Board Features nRF51822 ARM Cortex M0 MCU

July 7th, 2015 2 comments

The BBC announces its intention to give away 1 million Micro Bit to British schoolchildren a few months ago, but at the time, the specifications were not completely frozen. The broadcaster has now finalized the design which is based on an ARM Cortex M0 micro-controller.Micro_Bit

 

Micro Bit board specifications:

  • ARM Cortex M0 micro-controller (Nordic Micro nRF51822 Bluetooth SoC)
  • 5x holes for 3V, GND, and 3 GPIOs
  • 2x user buttons, 1x reset button
  • 25x red LED indicator lights in a 5×5 matrix
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth LE
  • Sensors – Compass, magnetometer, accelerometer
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for port and programming
  • Power – 5V via USB or battery port to connect two AAA batteries
  • Dimensions – 4cm x 5cm

Micro_Bit_Back

On the software side, the BBC has partnered with Microsoft to develop a web based, drag and drop interface for programming called TouchDevelop. Samaug is also involved in the project as they are developing the Android app, and an iOS app is also planned.

The BBC will send 1 million pieces of the board to schools in the UK this autumn, but they also plan to sell the board to the general public, although pricing and availability information is not available yet.

Via Hexus

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Samsung Artik is a Family of Arduino Compatible Boards for IoT Applications

May 13th, 2015 14 comments

There was a time when development boards were only reserved to companies, then boards like Arduino or Beagleboard made these available and affordable to consumers, and with the introduction of the Raspberry Pi, the maker movement grew even more rapidly, and many low cost boards started to be designed and manufactured mostly my smallest companies. But now larger companies like Intel or Qualcomm have jumped on the makers’ bandwagon, and the latest entry is Samsung with their Artik platform currently comprised of three boards that are programmable with the Arduino IDE.
Samsung_Artik
Let’s go through specifications for the three boards:

  • Artik 1
    • SoC – Dual Core MIPS32 processor @ 250MHz (microAptiv UP) and 80MHz (microAptiv UC) without GPU
    • Memory – 1MB RAM on-chip
    • Storage – 4MB SPI flash
    • Display – Up to WVGA (800×480)
    • Connectivity – Bluetooth Low Energy with chip antenna
    • Security – Secure element
    • Sensor – 9-axis motion sensor with gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer
    • Dimensions – 12×12 mm
  • Artik 5
    • SoC – Dual core ARM processor @ 1GHz with ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU
    • Memory – 512 LPDDR3 (on-chip)
    • Storage – 4GB eMMC (on-chip)
    • Display – TBD
    • Video Decode/Encode – H.263/H264/MPEG-4/VP8 (720p)@30fps and decoding of MPEG-2/VC1/Xvid
    • Connectivity – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee/Thread
    • Security – Secure element, TEE (Trustzone)
    • Expansion – 60-pin and 40-pin headers for USB, MIPI, I2S, I2C, SPI, UART, Analog inputs, etc…
    • Sensor – N/A
    • Dimensions – 29x25mm
  • Artik 10
    • SoC – Octa core processor with 4x ARM Cortex A15 @ 1.3GHz, 4x ARM Cortex A7 @ 1.0 GHz, and ARM Mali-T628 GPU
    • Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 (on-chip)
    • Storage – 16GB eMMC
    • Display – TBD
    • Video Encode/Decode – 1080p@120fps H.263/H.264/ MPEG-4/VP8 + MPEG-2/VC1 decoding
    • Audio – HW 5.1 Channel I2S + TDM up to 8 Channels + HW mixer 
    • Connectivity – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee/Thread
    • Security – Secure element, TEE (Trustzone)
    • Sensor – N/A
    • Expansion – 80-pin and 40-pin headers for USB 2.0/3.0, MIPI, I2S, I2C, SPI, UART, Analog inputs, etc…
    • Dimensions – 39×29 mm
Artik 10 Block Diagram

Artik 10 Block Diagram

Artix 1 runs Nucleus OS, and can be programmed with Arduino IDE, and/or Samsung SDK with C/C++ language. Artix 5 and 10 run a Fedora distribution built with Yocto 1.6, and on top of tools and languages supported by Artix 1, they can also be programmed in Java or Groovy.

The boards are not available yet, and pricing has not been announced either, but Samsung invites developers to register for an alpha kit by May 31, 2015.

Via Make

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Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Octa-core Smartphones Support Two Wireless Charging Protocols and UFS 2.0 Flash

March 2nd, 2015 No comments

Samsung Electronics announced Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones at Mobile World Congress 2015 during their “Unpacked” event. Both features Exynos 7420 octa-core SoC with 64-bit ARM cores, and 5.1″ display, bit the Galaxy S6 Edge display is curved on both sides.

Samsung_Galaxy_S6_S6_Edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 (Left) and Galaxy S6 Edge (Right)

Galaxy S6 &  S6 Edge specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung Exynos 7 Octa (Exynos 7420) octa core processor with four Cortex A57 core @ 2.1GHz + four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.5Ghz, and Mali-T760 MP8 GPU, manufactured using 14nm process.
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 32, 64 or 128GB UFS 2.0 flash.
  • Display
    • Galaxy S6 – 5.1’’ Quad HD(2560×1440) 577ppi, Super AMOLED. Gorilla Glass 4.
    • Galaxy S6 Edge – 5.1’’ Quad HD(2560×1440) 577ppi, Super AMOLED, Dual edge. Gorilla Glass 4.
  • Camera
    • 16MP OIS(rear), 5MP (front).
    • Features: Quick Launch (0.7s by pressing the home button twice), Tracking AF, Auto Real-time HDR(Front & Rear) , F1.9, Low Light Video(Front & Rear), High Clear Zoom, IR Detect White Balance, Virtual Shot, Slow Motion, Fast Motion, Pro Mode, Selective Focus
  • Video –  MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM, VP9 (up to 1440p)
  • Audio
    • Codec – MP3, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, Vorbis, FLAC, OPUS
    • Format – MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA
  • Network – LTE Cat.6 (300/50Mbps)
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), HT80 MIMO(2×2) 620Mbps, Dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Mobile hotspot
    • Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP, LE, apt-X, ANT+
    • NFC
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG
  • Sensor – Accelerometer, Light, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass, Barometer, Fingerprint, Hall, HRM
  • Misc – IR Remote
  • Battery – S6: 2,550mAh; S6 Edge: 2,600mAh. Faster wired charging: 1.5 times faster than the Galaxy S5, providing about 4 hours of usage after only 10 minutes of charging.
  • Wireless Charging – WPC 1.1 (4.6W Output – Qi) & PMA 1.0 (4.2W) compatible
  • Dimensions  & Weight
    • Galaxy S6 – 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8mm | 138 grams
    • Galaxy S6 Edge – 142.1 x 70.1 x 7.0mm | 132g

The phones run Android 5.0 Lollipop, and include usual Samsung features like Ultra Power Saving Mode,  Download Booster,  S Health 4.0,S Finder, S Voice, as well as Microsoft Apps (OneDrive 115GB for 2 years, OneNote), and support for the new Samsung Pay. Google Mobiles Services are also enabled, and the PlayStore, Chrome, YouTube, Google+ are all pre-installed.

Key innovation for the phones are support for two wireless charging standards (Qi and PMA), the first 14-nm 64-bit ARM processor, Samsung Pay, UFS 2.0 storage providing up to 3 times better performance from a user’s perspective than previous generation eMMC flash. Exynos 7420 is also one of the few processor with a video processing unit supporting VP9 codec (up to 1440p). Galaxy S6 (SM-G925W8) has already been benchmarked in Antutu 5, and it achieved 60978 points.

Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge smartphones will be available globally starting from April 10, 2015 with 32/64/128GB storage options. Several tech blogs already checkout of the devices such as The Verge, Arstechnica, Gizmodo among others.

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Samsung Introduces Faster Full-Duplex UFS 2.0 Storage for Mobile Devices

February 26th, 2015 3 comments

eMMC (embedded multimedia card) provides a boost in read and write performance compared to traditional NAND flash memories, let alone micro SD cards. Samsung has now announced the manufacturing of the first 32, 64, and 128GB embedded memory solution based on Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 standard delivering up to 350MB/s read speed and 150MB/s write speed, or 40% improvement in read speed over eMMC 5.1.UFS_vs_eMMC_PerformanceThis should help further reduce boot time, and app loading times. Moreover, while eMMC read and write operating are sequential (half-duplex), UFS 2.0 allows for full-duplex operating, meaning writing and reading can happen at the same time.

eMMC_vs_UFSUFS can achieve this feat thanks to a LVDS (Low-Voltage Differential Signaling) serial interface with dedicated read/write paths contrary to the parallel 8-bit interface used for eMMC. Combined with a Command Queue(CQ), which sorts out the commands that needs to be carried out, UFS 2.0 allows three times faster file copy, and three times the multitasking capability compared to existing solutions. Command Queue is also an improvement found in eMMC 5.1 specifications.

If you are a JEDEC member, you can download UFS 2.0 specification (JESD220B) via JEDEC Universal Flash Storage page.

Via Liliputing

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Categories: Hardware Tags: benchmark, flash, samsung, standard, ufs

Samsung Z1, the First Commercially Available Tizen Smartphone, Has Launched in India

January 15th, 2015 4 comments

Tizen operating system is already found in cameras, and smartwatches, with works also being done for televisions, laptops and cars, but the Tizen smartphone has been mostly newsworthy because of product cancellations or delays, rather than product launches. But finally, the first Tizen smartphone has been introduced in India, it’s called Samsung Z1 and sells for 5,700 Indian Rupees ($92).

Samsung_Z1Samsung Z1 (SM-Z130H/DS) specifications:

  • Processor – Spreadtrum SC7727S dual core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 768 MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB Internal memory + micro SD slot (up to 64GB)
  • Display – 4” WVGA (800×480) PLS screen
  • Cellular Connectivity – GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, HSDPA 900/2100 MHz. Dual SIM support.
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS
  • Video – MP4, M4V, 3GP, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV
  • Audio – MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, AMR, AWB, FLAC
  • Camera – 3.1MP rear camera, VGA front-facing camera
  • USB – micro USB 2.0 port
  • Sensor – Accelerometer
  • Battery – 1500 mAh battery good for 7 hours of video playback, or 8 hours of talk time
  • Dimensions – 120.4 x 63.2 x 9.7 mm
  • Weight – 112 grams

The phone runs Tizen 2.3, and also comes with other features such as “Ultra Power Saving Mode, Private Mode, Send Help Message, Security”. Some blogs report Samsung Z1 will run Android apps via OpenMobile ACL, but TechCrunch contacted Samsung and got a different story:

We asked Samsung just how many apps are available for Tizen, but the company declined to reveal a figure. Samsung did, however, confirm that reports suggesting that the Z1 could use Android apps were incorrect.

“Both Android and iOS apps must have their codes re-written to run on Tizen devices,” a spokesperson said.

So it’s quite possible only a subset of Android app will run on Tizen, or if the phone did not include an Application Compatibility Layer (ACL), the apps would have to be ported to Tizen. Wait and see.

You may want to read Samsung Z1 user’s manual for more details, and/or visit Samsung Z developers’ page to download the SDK and documentation.

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TyGL OpenGL ES 2.0 Backend for WebKit Speeds Up Web Rendering by Up to 11 Times

December 23rd, 2014 3 comments

ARM, Szeged University in Hungary, and Samsung Research UK have been working on TyGL, a new backend for WebKit accelerated with OpenGL ES2.0, and developed and tested on ARM Mali-T628 GPU found in Samsung ARM Chromebook. It will typically provide 1.5 to 4.5 times higher performance, but in the best cases, it can achieve up to eleven times the performance of a CPU-only rendered page.

TyGL_ScreenshotThe key features of TyGL include:

  • Web rendering accelerated by GPU Batching of draw calls delivers better results on GPUs. TyGL groups commands together to avoid frequent state changes while calling the Graphics Context API.
  • Automatic shader generationTyGL generates complex shaders from multiple shader fragments, and ensures the batches fit into the shader cache of the GPU.
  • Trapezoid based path rendering – Work in progress. It will leverage GPU capabilities such as the Pixel Local Storage extension for OpenGL ES.
  • No software fallback – Complete GPU-based hardware accelerated solution with no dependency on legacy software.

You can get more technical details about the implementation on TyGL: Hardware Accelerated Web Rendering blog post on ARM community.

They have now officially published benchmark results, but I found some benchmark results on Webkit mailing list:

Since EFL supports cairo, we compared EFL-TyGL and EFL-Cairo

The other good news is that TyGL is now open source, with the code available on github, and you can build it and give it a try on ARM Mali-T62X development boards such as Arndale Octa or ODROID-XU3 (Lite) running Ubuntu Linaro 14.04, or other Linux based distributions. The complete build is said to last about 10 hours, but this will obviously depend on your machine. TyGL should also work on other mobile GPU supporting OpenGL ES 2.0, but I understand this has not been tested yet.

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