In the world of phones, Samsung is the most well-known Android competitor to Apple, where the company’s products are at the forefront of technology in terms of everything from screens to cameras and performance. Samsung’s flagship, however, is equipped with different processors depending on where in the world the phones are sold. In-house developed Exynos processors are used internationally, instead of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon which is used in the home country of South Korea and the USA.
The latest generations of Exynos have delivered substandard performance and energy efficiency compared to their Snapdragon counterparts, something Samsung has been criticized for. The company highlights just that criticism in the presentation of the Exynos 2100 performance circuit, which promises great performance advances and improved energy efficiency. Part of the energy efficiency is based on the processors being manufactured on Samsung’s 5 nanometer technology with EUV lithography.
According to Samsung, the move to 5 nanometers means an energy saving of 20 percent compared to 7 nanometers, while a performance (clock frequency) improvement of 10 percent can be achieved with the savings. In terms of processor cores, the Exynos 2100 is the premiere of the Cortex-X1 performance core, which runs at 2.9 GHz. It will be joined by three high-performance Cortex-A78s, and the performance quartet will also be joined by four energy-efficient Cortex-A55 cores.
Samsung announces that the company has not only implemented the Cortex-X1 in the standard version, but tailored the performance core. The adaptations include improved cache memory, more efficient schedulers for tasks and optimized power management for better energy efficiency. According to Samsung, it gives 30 percent higher top performance compared to its predecessor. The graphics part is also upgraded to ARM’s latest solution Mali-G78, whose 14 graphics cores will offer 40 percent better graphics performance compared to the previous generation Exynos.
Exynos 2100 also uses a system called AMIGO that uses performance profiles in graphics applications to ensure high performance with as low power consumption as possible. However, the focus of a modern phone processor is also on calculations of machine learning and AI, and here Samsung claims that Exynos is taking a big step forward. The three NPU units take the step up to 26 TOPS in computing power, up from 15 TOPS in last year’s Exynos 990.
In addition to AI and machine learning, the NPU power is also used to improve photography, where the NPU units collaborate with the signal processor (ISP). This one is also upgraded and can now handle photography in up to 200 megapixels. On the video side, recording in 4K UHD and 120 FPS, or 8K and 60 FPS is supported. 8K video playback in HDR10 + is supported via the AV1 decoder format.
A mobile system circuit in 2021 is not worth much without 5G and with the Exynos 2100 Samsung integrates its own 5G modem that covers the frequency bands in both Sub-6 GHz and millimeter waves (mmWave). By integrating the entire 5G solution, energy consumption is reduced compared to previous generations. Samsung states that the Exynos 2100 can reach speeds of 7.35 Gbps over 5G mmWave, and 5.1 Gbps over 5G Sub-6 GHz.
Samsung concludes the presentation by lifting the rug for what the next generation Exynos has to offer. The company is partnering with AMD to integrate “next-generation graphics technology” into the next Exynos processor, which is likely to be a graphics component based on AMD’s RDNA architecture, where current RDNA 2 or future RDNA 3 are two possible candidates. If Samsung follows the established launch schedule, Exynos with RDNA graphics will take place in phones in the year 2022.
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