Samsung has launched a new quad-core, 32nm HKMG processor today that it intends to showcase as part of the Galaxy S3, which will be officially launched next week. The new chip contains up to four Cortex-A9 cores running at 1.4GHz. Itís the first Exynos to utilize per-core scaling and voltage adjustments ó previous devices, including Nvidiaís own Tegra 3, have eschewed individual core clock-gating (NV has claimed this actually reduced power by avoiding the need to implement power-hungry traces and gates).

According to Samsung, the new quad chip is capable of higher performance and lower power consumption than any of its 45nm cousins; the company hasnít stated what GPU powers the device but its rumored to be a quad-core version of the Mali-400 that was used in the Galaxy S2.

Whether or not customers will be able to make effective use of a quad-core device, or whether weíll see the Exynos 4412 squeezing into phones instead of tablets remain open questions. The shift to 32nm and the addition of clock gating and independent voltages should give the 4412 a power profile similar to Samsungís older dual cores. Software optimizations remain an open question ó if code isnít written properly, the extra cores simply wonít be used enough to make a significant difference.