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ARM’s powerful new cores for Samsung’s next flagship Exynos chip unveiled

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Last updated: May 26th, 2021 at 11:19 UTC+02:00

Semiconductor company Arm has announced its new CPU and GPU designs that will power next year’s flagship Samsung Exynos chip. Arm’s core architecture is getting a major upgrade for the first time in a decade – the ARMv8 architecture that’s been seen in pretty much every Android chipset over the last ten years is being replaced by ARMv9, which brings with it more powerful and efficient processor cores.

The Exynos 2100 and Snapdragon 888 chipsets use a big.LITTLE setup that includes a single ultra-high-performance Cortex-X1 core, three high-performance Cortex-A78 cores, and four power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores, and all of these cores are now being upgraded with new designs. There’s the Cortex-X2, which promises 16% higher performance compared to the X1 and twice as fast machine learning performance. The Cortex-A710, meanwhile, promises 30% higher efficiency and 10% better performance over the A78.

For the first time in many years, Arm is introducing new power-efficient cores as well. The Cortex-A510 offers up to 30% better performance over the Cortex-A55 and up to 20% better efficiency. Since many basic tasks on a phone are handled by these low-performance but highly efficient cores, this promises to be the biggest upgrade of all with the ArmV9 architecture.

Coming to a Samsung Exynos chip near you… with an AMD GPU?

According to Arm, these new cores can be used in a similar configuration as before, so we should see one Cortex-X2, three Cortex-A710, and four Cortex-A510 cores in whatever new flagship chipsets Samsung and Qualcomm will come up with next year. Arm has also introduced three new GPUs, with the flagship Mali-G710 promising up to 20% better gaming performance over the Mali-G78 found inside the Galaxy S21’s Exynos variant.

However, the way Samsung has been teasing things this year, the Korean giant could switch to an AMD GPU for its next flagship Exynos chip. Rumors suggest the Samsung and AMD partnership will first bear fruit with a laptop later this year, and while there is no guarantee that Samsung will have an AMD GPU ready for its phones by 2022, it is looking highly likely given how long the two companies seem to have been working together.

Even if the AMD GPU isn’t ready by 2022, we should see faster performance and better efficiency on Samsung’s flagship phones (whichever form they might take), thanks to the new Arm CPU and GPU designs that are bound to be used in Samsung and Qualcomm’s next-generation chips. We’ll learn more by the end of this year when those chips are typically announced.

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