Based on the resounding success of the Galaxy SIII, many in the industry are wondering if Samsung would be able to continue delivering on the technology inside their feature handset. Immediately noticeable upon removing it from its box is the screen-to-case ratio. It is evident that Samsung has maximized the size of the screen while reducing the size of the bezel around it. Doing so keeps the Galaxy S4 comparable in size and form factor to handsets with smaller screens like the Nexus 4 or the Galaxy S3. Utilizing a 5.0 inch screen featuring Samsung’s proprietary Super AMOLED (1080 x 1920 pixels) technology, the edges of the display nearly touch the sides of the phone.
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 utilizing four 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 cores and four 1.2 GHz 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. This Galaxy S4 uses Intel’s PMB9820 baseband processor, which we surmise is from their X-GOLD 636 reference design. This baseband is optimized 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.
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.
Die markings on the Broadcom BCM4335 wireless connectivity combo chip.
Allan : looks like you are the first with teardown of the S4. How about the size and speed of the new LPDDR 3 type of DRAM you found in it. How many dies for the DRAM ? How are they packaging all his ? PoP ? How much gap beteen the 2 packages stacked one over the other ?
CM: The size of the LPDDR3 is 2GB and it features two DRAM die within the package in a stacked architecture. It is in a PoP orientation with the Octa processor. There is very little gap between the two packages as we had to decap both at the same time to salvage the die.
I received a couple of the Qualcomm variants of this phone last week. Although I am impressed with the RFID and IR remote capabilities and other features (oh yeah, and the phone), my main issue is the locked bootloader that hinders flashing of standard Android on the device for those who don't care for the Samsung flavor. This is the main downside to me for getting a non-nexus Android phone regardless of features.
That is correct. The original Google mantra of the "open" Android system has since essentially been closed by the US carriers as far as the consumer is concerned. The maintenance of the original galaxy S phones were discontinued years ago, yet I had the most recent Android jelly bean on my 3 year old phone simply because it was flashable and therefore self-serviceable. Now I've lost hot spot, flashability, and some other carrier crippled features as a consequence of "upgrading".
Comparing IOS with an Android phone with locked bootloader is like comparing Apples to Oranges. Even with a locked bootloader you have access to non-approved apps or can write your own. Try to do that with an Iphone that hasn't been jailbroken. Futher, the Android modding community is very strong. It shouldn't be long before there's an exploit to allow root and custom ROM's. My Droid Bionic also has a locked bootloader, but I was able to play arround with ICS and JB custom ROM's well before they released an official version.
"Even with a locked bootloader you have access to non-approved apps or can write your own."
can write your own app in iphone also..
"Futher, the Android modding community is very strong. It shouldn't be long before there's an exploit to allow root and custom ROM's." which is equivalent to doing jailbreak in iOS, afterwhich you can do most of the same stuff. And the iOS JBing community is pretty strong also.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.