Samsung’s next Exynos SoC will have an AMD GPU | GeekComparison

Samsung's next Exynos SoC will have an AMD GPU

Samsung and AMD announced in June 2019 that the two would team up to bring mobile GPUs to Samsung Exynos chips, with Samsung System LSI (the Exynos division of Samsung Electronics) licensing AMD’s Radeon GPU IP in a multi-year agreement. . Yesterday, Samsung gave an update on the collaboration in a presentation for the Exynos 2100. Samsung LSI President and GM Dr. Inyup Kang announced, “We are partnering with AMD and we will have a next-generation mobile GPU in the next flagship product.”

So an AMD GPU is coming pretty soon, in the next “flagship product”. Cool. There have been a number of different interpretations on the internet of what “flagship product” means in this context. Does that mean the next flagship Samsung smartphone or the next flagship Exynos chip? Since Kang works at Samsung LSI, the Exynos division, we are going for the interpretation that “product” means the next Exynos chipset, which will be released in a whole year. The other interpretation, that there would be a new GPU on a Galaxy Note, Fold, or whatever you want to interpret as “flagship smartphone” sometime this year, would be very unusual, as it would mean that the new Exynos 2100 will be less than one year after launch.

Currently, Samsung is not putting the full weight of the company behind its own SoC division, but is splitting global distribution between Exynos and the Exynos division’s biggest SoC rival, Qualcomm. International users have yet to see what the new Exynos 2100 looks like, but previously, the Exynos versions of Samsung phones were so vilified that Samsung users started begging to petition to sell Qualcomm SoCs in their territory instead. For the 2020 Galaxy S20, Samsung also pulled the Exynos SoC from its home market of South Korea, opting to ship a US-made Qualcomm chip instead, a move that reportedly “humiliated” the Exynos division.

Along with this AMD deal, there are some signs that Samsung may be putting a heavier focus on its Exynos SoCs. The motto of yesterday’s presentation was “Exynos is back”, which seems to indicate that Samsung admits that it has been bad in the past. And today, Domino’s Pizza style, the division regrets it all and turns a new page. Last year the Exynos flagship was the “Exynos 990”, but this year the flagship has a new model number scheme, “Exynos 2100”, which seemingly brings it closer to Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S21. Presumably next year’s AMD GPU-Packing Exynos will be the Exynos 2200 and will debut in the Galaxy S22.

But will Samsung ship Exynos to the rest of the world?

But will this change Samsung’s SoC distribution plan? The problem with Samsung Exynos news is that it doesn’t apply to about half of Samsung’s user base. Usually the US, China, Japan, Latin America and (lately) Korea get Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, while Europe, India and the rest of the world get Exynos. Samsung has yet to state that it wants to switch to Exynos everywhere, and this would be a major upheaval in Samsung’s product line, manufacturing capabilities and in the SoC market in general.

Meanwhile, a better GPU isn’t a great attack vector if Samsung wants to go into the SoC war with Qualcomm. Qualcomm’s strength lies in its modem technology and connectivity patents, and it has used its patent aggressively enough to give itself a monopoly on the Android SoC market in places like the US. The two companies are even when it comes to CPU technology; they both use off-the-shelf ARM designs. Today, Samsung uses off-the-shelf ARM Mali GPUs, while Qualcomm has its own graphics department called “Adreno”.

Interestingly, with the partnership with Samsung, AMD’s graphics division will be the ancestor of two of the major GPU implementations in the mobile market. Qualcomm’s Adreno GPUs are the result of a marriage to ATI’s old mobile GPU division. Qualcomm and ATI teamed up to design Qualcomm’s first Adreno GPUs around 2006, and Qualcomm eventually bought ATI’s mobile “Imageon” group outright, forming Qualcomm’s in-house GPU division. AMD’s graphics division stems from a later purchase of the rest from ATI, which gives us AMD Radeon. Today, you can still see a tribute to AMD’s GPU division in Qualcomm’s branding: “Adreno” is an anagram of “Radeon.”

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