Samsung unveils the Exynos 9820: 8nm process, dedicated NPU, 8K video recording

Samsung’s Exynos line of System-on-Chips (SoCs) powers most Samsung smartphones sold globally, including the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines of flagship smartphones. Their Exynos chipsets often beat the competition in terms of performance and raw power, especially in the past few years. The Exynos 9810, the chipset behind this year’s Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9, was no slouch, but increased competition from the likes of Huawei’s HiSilicon, Apple, and Qualcomm have called on Samsung to step up to the plate. To that end, Samsung has now announced the Exynos 9820 which is set to power their 2019 flagship smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S10 as well as the Galaxy Note 10. And with a lot of improvements in tow, it’s totally worth our attention.


Exynos 9820 Quick Look and Specifications

Specifications Exynos 9820 Exynos 9810
CPU 2x Custom CPU (4th gen) + 2x Cortex-A75 + 4x Cortex-A55 4x Custom CPU (3rd gen) + 4x Cortex-A55
GPU ARM Mali G76 MP12 ARM Mali G72 MP18
NPU Yes (integrated) No
Process 8nm LPP FinFET 10nm LPP FinFET (2nd gen)
Storage UFS 3.0, UFS 2.1 UFS 2.1
Modem LTE-A Cat.20 8CA (2Gbps download) / Cat.20 3CA (316Mbps upload) LTE Cat.18 6CA (1.2Gbps download) / Cat.18 2CA (200Mbps upload)
Display WQUXGA (3840×2400), 4K UHD (4096×2160) WQUXGA (3840×2400), 4K UHD (4096×2160)
Camera 22MP rear, 22MP front, 16MP+16MP dual 24MP rear, 24MP front, 16MP+16MP dual
Memory LPDDR4X LPDDR4X
Video recording 8K@30fps, 4K@150fps, encoding/decoding w/ 10-bit HEVC(H.265), H.264, VP9 4K@120fps, encoding/decoding w/ 10-bit HEVC(H.265), H.264, VP9

The Exynos 9820 is set to compete with the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 8150 platform as well as the HiSilicon Kirin 980, so it needs substantial improvements to keep up. One of the greatest areas of improvement in the Exynos 9820 over its predecessor is the addition of a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) to offload AI-related tasks. A neural processing unit allows the processor to perform AI-based tasks over 7 times faster than the Exynos 9810, according to Samsung. The future is artificial intelligence and we’ve seen how the Huawei Mate 20 series uses its dual NPUs for new video features, so it makes sense for Samsung to finally include an NPU on their next chipset if they want to make the Galaxy S10 competitive.

The Exynos 9820 also features the 4th generation of Samsung’s custom CPU cores, but instead of a custom quad-core core cluster coupled with 4 Cortex-A55 cores, the Exynos 9820 instead goes for a tri-cluster setup consisting of a custom dual-core big cluster together with 2 Cortex-A75 cores and 4 Cortex-A55 cores. This new core setup allows the Exynos 9820 to achieve improved single core performance and power efficiency. Speaking of efficiency, the Exynos 9820 is fabricated on an 8nm LPP FinFET process. While not as bleeding-edge as the 7nm process the Kirin 980 and the Apple A12 Bionic are fabricated on, it’s still a much-appreciated improvement over the previous 10nm LPP FinFET process the Exynos 9810 was fabricated on. According to Samsung, this new low power design allows the Exynos 9820 to consume up to 10% less power than its predecessor, which should mean wonders in terms of battery life and efficiency on the upcoming Galaxy S10.

Other improvements of the Exynos 9820 include 8K recording at 30 frames-per-second (and improved 4K recording at 150 frames-per-second), improved security capabilities, an advanced ISP with support for up to 5 camera sensors, an improved LTE-Advanced Cat.20 modem (not 5G NR capable), and the high performing ARM Mali G76 GPU for better gaming performance.

Samsung’s latest SoC is expected to begin mass-production by the end of 2018, and it’s expected to ship with the upcoming Galaxy S10 lineup of smartphones. It’s also expected to power Samsung’s upcoming foldable smartphone, which is rumored to be launched in March. We should get to know more about Samsung’s latest silicon before the announcement of the Galaxy S10, and as always, we’ll keep you in the loop as things unfold.


Source: Samsung

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