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New Broadcom, Samsung ICs debut via Galaxy S4

Posted: 30 Apr 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:big-little? NFC IC? baseband? transceivers?

At TechInsights, we took apart the GT-I9500 model. This version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 was not LTE-compliant but featured Samsung's newest powerhouse processor, the Exynos Octa 5410. Claiming to be an eight-core processor, the Octa is one of the first processors to incorporate the "big-little" design utilising four 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A15 cores and four 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A7 cores.

When we open the I9500 model, the most surprising discovery is that of Intel's mobile communication components earning design wins for the baseband and corresponding transceiver.

In this report:

  • Overview
  • Taking it apart
  • Chips that made the cut
  • This Galaxy S4 uses Intel's PMB9820 baseband processor, which we surmise is from their X-GOLD 636 reference design. This baseband is optimised for EDGE, WCDMA and HSDPA/HSUPA bands. The transceiver IC is the PMB5745, which we believe is their SMARTi UE3 RF transceiver. This is the first major design win we've seen for Intel since they lost their lucrative sockets in the Apple iPhone to Qualcomm. However, it should be noted that the Qualcomm does have the design wins in the GT-I9505 model, which will be readily available in the US and Canada.

    image name

    Figure 1: (Left) Die image of the Samsung Exynos Octa. (Right) Die marking of the Exynos 5410.

    Broadcom continues its reputation of securing high-profile socket wins within high-profile handset devices. Apart from providing devices to the iPhone, Broadcom has previously used the Galaxy to introduce new components. With the Galaxy S4, we find the first use of their new Broadcom BCM4335 all-encompassing wireless IC for Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, and Wi-Fi hotspot. Broadcom previously introduced the BCM4334 first in the Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-I9300 model.

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