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Exynos 2100 vs Exynos 990: How much improvement to expect?


Last updated: January 12th, 2021 at 15:21 UTC+02:00

Samsung unveiled the Exynos 2100 processor today, and the company claims that its new chip offers improved performance and power efficiency over last year’s Exynos 990. After the Exynos 990’s dismal performance, Samsung aims to put behind all the woes that are generally attributed to Exynos chipsets. So, how improved is the Exynos 2100 over the Exynos 990? Let us find out.

With the Exynos 2100, Samsung has put an end to its custom CPU cores and introduced the Cortex-X1 CPU core from ARM. The company has also upgraded to a 5nm process, making the Exynos 2100 more power-efficient than the Exynos 990. The new processor also brings a beefier GPU, a more powerful NPU for faster AI and machine performance, and more advanced connectivity.

Exynos 2100 vs Exynos 990: Full specs comparison

The Exynos 2100 is made using Samsung’s 5nm EUV process, while the Exynos 990 was fabricated using the 7nm process. A newer fabrication process alone is expected to offer 20% lower power consumption or 10% higher overall performance than the Exynos 990. Then there are architectural improvements as well.

Exynos 2100 has a faster CPU, beefier GPU, better performance under sustained loads

The Exynos 2100 uses a Cortex-X1 CPU core clocked at 2.9GHz, three Cortex-A78 CPU cores, and four Cortex-A55 CPU cores. In comparison, the company’s last year’s flagship processor featured two custom Mongoose M5 CPU cores clocked at 2.73GHz, two Cortex-A76 CPU cores clocked at 2.5GHz, and four Cortex-A55 CPU cores. Samsung says that the new processor offers up to 30% higher CPU performance. The Mali-G78 GPU used inside the Exynos 2100 offers up to 40% higher performance compared to the Exynos 990’s Mali-G77 GPU.

The company says that it has tweaked its scheduler and cache memory handling. The Exynos 2100’s advanced multi-IP governer technology called AMIGO optimizes power usage of the CPU, GPU, and other components to offer higher sustained performance even with intense on-screen activities. If this claim is true, it would be a huge win for Samsung, especially after the disappointing sustained performance of the Exynos 990.

Exynos 2100’s tri-core NPU means faster AI, machine learning performance

The Exynos 2100 supports LPDDR5 RAM (51.2Gbps) and UFS 3.1 storage. The Exynos 990 was launched with support for LPDDR5 RAM as well, but in terms of storage, it was only limited to UFS 3.0 chips. So, you can expect faster storage access, and ultimately, faster app launches and faster data transfer. The tri-core NPU inside the Exynos 2100 can perform up to 26 TOPS, while the Exynos 990’s dual-core NPU maxes out at 15 TOPS.

Exynos 2100 supports up to 200MP camera sensors

Samsung has improved the camera handling capabilities of its new processor. The Exynos 2100’s ISP can work with up to 200MP camera sensors, and up to six sensors are supported. It can take signals from up to four cameras simultaneously, which means smoother zooming and switching between multiple camera sensors. It also offers improved image quality from telephoto and ultrawide cameras. In comparison, last year’s Exynos 990 SoC offered compatibility with up to 108MP camera sensors. It can work with six sensors as well, but it can only take signals from three sensors simultaneously. The Exynos 2100 can record up to 8K 30fps or up to 4K 120fps videos, similar to the Exynos 990. However, in terms of video playback, the new processor can play up to 8K 60fps videos. In comparison, the Exynos 990 could only play up to 8K 30fps videos.

Exynos 2100 has an integrated 5G modem

In terms of connectivity, the Exynos 2100 features a fully-integrated 5G modem that is compatible with both mmWave and sub-6GHz networks. The Exynos 990 did not have an integrated modem, and it needed to be paired with the Exynos Modem 5123 for 5G connectivity. Both processors support Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, NFC, and USB Type-C connectivity.

On the whole, you can expect the Exynos 2100 to offer faster CPU performance when compared to the Exynos 990, especially under sustained workloads. Plus, the new processor offers improved gaming and camera performance. It also offers faster AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) performance compared to the Exynos 990. You can also read our Exynos 2100 vs Snapdragon 888 comparison article to know how well-matched these flagship processors are.

Exynos 2100 Exynos 990
Process 5nm LPE EUV 7nm LPP EUV
CPU 1x Cortex-X1 + 3x Cortex-A78 + 4x Cortex-A55 2x Mongoose M5 + 2x Cortex-A76 + 4x Cortex-A55
GPU ARM Mali-G78 ARM Mali-G77
Memory LPDDR5 (51.2GB/s) LPDDR4X & LPDDR5
Storage UFS 3.1, UFS 2.1 UFS 3.0, UFS 2.1
NPU Tri-core (26 TOPS) Dual-core (15 TOPS)
ISP Up to 200MP, up to 6 sensors, 4 sensors simultaneously Up to 108MP, up to 6 sensors, 3 sensors simultaneously
Video Encode/Decode Up to 4K 120fps or 8K 30fps encode, up to 4K 120fps or 8K 60fps decode Up to 4K 120fps or 8K 30fps encode, up to 4K 120fps or 8K 30fps decode
Modem Fully-integrated 5G modem, mmWave (7.35Gbps), sub-6GHz (5.1Gbps), 4G LTE (3Gbps), 3G, 2G Non-integrated 5G modem, mmWave (7.35Gbps), sub-6GHz (5.1Gbps), 4G LTE (3Gbps), 3G, 2G
General Exynos 2100Exynos 990
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