Samsung plans its own netbook chips

April 23, 2010 | 12:24

Tags: #arm-vs-x86 #cortex #cortex-a8 #cortex-a9 #mercury #netbook #orion #pegasus #venus

Companies: #arm #hercules #samsung

A leaked product roadmap from Samsung has confirmed up-coming quad-core processors designed to bring a significant performance boost to mobile devices.

The roadmap document, which was leaked to Notebook Italia and picked up to, was created in November 2009 and demonstrates the company's planned netbook output for the next few years.

While there aren't very many surprises from Samsung's perspective, the document provides a fascinating insight into Samsung's plans to produce its own ARM-based processors - including an up-coming quad-core chip that might finally close the performance gap between netbooks and notebooks.

The first chip listed in the roadmap is the Orion, an 800MHz dual-core processor based on the ARM Cortex-A9 series and due for mass production at start of next year. This will be followed up by a single-core 1GHz version dubbed Pegasus, expected at the end of next year.

If you're still after more speed, Hercules - a dual-core version of Pegasus clocked at 1GHz - is listed as being due at the start of 2012, to be followed up by the dual-core 1.2GHz Draco processor towards the end of 2012 or the start of 2013.

Samsung is also looking to keep things ticking over at the ultra-low power end of the spectrum two, with a pair of new chips for maximum battery life due some time later this year: the Mercury single-core and Venus dual-core, both based around the ARM Cortex-A5 and clocked at 600MHz.

However, the most interesting part listed in the document has been saved for last: the Aquila quad-core. Again based around ARM's Cortex-A9 series, the Aquila will feature four physical processing cores running at 1.2GHz while retaining a low power draw for maximum battery life. Sadly, it's not due to hit mass production until 2012 - or possibly even 2013.

The new chips represent Samsung's desire to move away from a Wintel - Windows OS on Intel chips - platform for its netbooks and towards a future where its ultra-portables run Ubuntu and Chrome on Samsung's own processors.

Are you impressed with Samsung's plans for future ARM-based processors, or will the impressive-seeming 1.2GHz quad-core chip be hopelessly outdated by the time it's released in 2012/2013? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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