Teardown: Inside the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone
6/14/2012 2:43 AM EDT
Samsung keeping it in the family
On the European version of the Galaxy S3, Samsung utilizes its proprietary Exynos brand of processors. In this case, Samsung selected the quad-core Exynos 4212 (which was at one point named the Exynos 4412 and then finally renamed the Exynos Quad). According to Samsung, this processor was manufactured at the 32-nm node, similar to that of the latest version of the Apple A5 processor found in the 3rd generation Apple TV or 2nd generation iPad 2. This new Exynos processor uses power gating across all four cores, which apparently reduces power consumption when not in use.
This isn't the first case that Samsung has taken a different path in the implementation of Exynos processors. The Samsung Galaxy S2 was initially released using the Exynos 4210 dual-core processor, but later variations of the same handset saw the Exynos replaced with Texas Instrument's OMAP4430 or, in the case of T-Mobile 's version, Qualcomm 's APQ8060 dual-core processor.
The Samsung Exynos Quad was found within a Package-on-Package (PoP) arrangement. Its secondary package was that of a Samsung K3PE7E700M 1GB Low-Power DDR2 DRAM. Labeled “Green Memory” on the package, the “green” refers to the low power consumption of the memory and not the manufacturing process. A de-encapsulation of this device reveals that it was manufactured at the 32nm node which was the same in use for LP DDR2 DRAM in the Galaxy S2. Samsung also utilizes a KMVTU000LM multi-chip memory package. This package consists of 16Gb of mobile flash and 64Gb of Mobile DRAM with a eMMC controller. Samsung also turns to their own semiconductor business to provide the image processor in the S3. Samsung 's S5C73M3X01 has not been seen in other Galaxy devices, making this the first time we 've seen this backside illumination (BSI) processor. Samsung also selects their 1.9 MP image sensor, the S5K6A3YX14, in combination with an 8 MP CMOS image sensor from Sony to provide the camera functionality.
Broadcom is also a major design winner in the new Galaxy S3. Deep within a Murata wireless module lies the Broadcom BCM4334, an apparent 40nm device is the follow-up to the BCM4330 that had found its way into the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Apple iPhone 4S. This new component from Broadcom is a architecturally refined version of the BCM4330 that improves on the power consumption; a necessity with respect to the more power-hungry 4G and LTE radios.
Intel takes advantage of their recently-purchased Infineon portfolio with a design win in the form of the X-GOLD 626 PMB9811 baseband processor. The PMB9811 was also found in the Samsung Galaxy S2, the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Nexus confirming that this baseband processor has the faith of Samsung 's design engineers. Intel also leverages Infineon to provide the PMB5712 GSM/CDMA RF transceiver.
Other major design wins include Maxim, who continued to provide devices to the Galaxy family of phones. In this situation, Samsung incorporates Maxim 's MAX77686 and MAX77693 as power management devices within the Galaxy S3. As mentioned earlier, Maxim has a long history of working with Samsung, previously providing similar power management ICs for the Samsung Galaxy S2, Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Nexus, just to name a few.
Skyworks is again a major socket winner in a major handset. With four devices, ranging from a power amplifier module to antennae switches and even an LED driver, Skyworks continues their run of being found in high profile mobile computing products. This year has already seen Skyworks win sockets in the iPhone 4S, the iPad 3 and the Galaxy Note.
STMicro provides some of the key sensors in the Galaxy S3, providing the LSM330DLC package consisting of the accelerometer and gyroscope, and the LPS331AP MEMS pressure sensor. Rounding out the major wins is Cypress Semiconductor, whose CY8C20236A PSoC CapSense controller controls the keys. NFC capability is provided by NXP Semiconductor.
With over 9 million units pre-ordered before its release date, the Samsung Galaxy S3 was Samsung 's most anticipated handset to date. Judging by the effort placed on the selection of components and its sleek and nimble design, fans who pre-ordered should not be disappointed.
Other Samsung Galaxy S3 Key Components
- Skyworks SKY77604-31 - Quad-band GSM/W-CDMA Power Amplifier Module
- Samsung KMVTU000LM Multichip package – eMMC (16GB) + MDDR (64MB)
- Maxim MAX77686 – Power management
- Maxim MAX77693 – Power management
- Unmarked 330DC – STMicroelectronics LSM330DLC 3D Accelerometer & 3D Gyroscope
- Murata KM2323011 – Wireless module
- Broadcom BCM47511 – Integrated Monolithic GNSS Receiver (found in the Galaxy Note)
- Skyworks SKY77604-31 - Quad-band GSM/W-CDMA Power Amplifier Module (found in the Galaxy Note)
- Silicon Image Si9244B0 – Mobile HD Link Transmitter (found in Galaxy Nexus)
The Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-I9300 survey teardown is available for purchase here. Also, you can check out older teardowns related to the Samsung Galaxy here.
Allan Yogasingam is a technical research manager at UBM TechInsights, a sister company to EE TImes.