The bizarre story of the Exynos 2200 continues. Samsung LSI’s flagship smartphone chip was supposed to be announced a week ago at a widely publicized event, but the day came and went with no announcement. Samsung made the unprecedented move of no-showing its own launch event, fueling rumors of troubled chip development and behind-the-scenes dysfunction at Samsung.
The day after the chip was supposed to launch, Samsung said, “We are planning to unveil the new application processor at the time of launching a new Samsung smartphone,” which most watchers assumed was the Galaxy S22 launch in February. It turns out that wasn’t the right timing for the unveiling, either, and the chip was surprise-announced last night.
Now, the Exynos 2200 is finally official. The headline feature is a new “Samsung Xclipse 920 GPU” that was co-developed by AMD. Samsung says the GPU uses AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, the same as AMD’s Radeon desktop GPUs, and will bring “hardware-accelerated ray tracing” to mobile devices.
David Wang, the SVP of AMD’s Radeon division, said, “Samsung’s Xclipse GPU is the first result of multiple planned generations of AMD RDNA graphics in Exynos SoCs.” Previous reports have indicated that Samsung isn’t just eyeing smartphones but eventually wants to put together an Apple M1-fighting ARM laptop chip.
The CPU is about what you would expect from a 2022 ARM chip. The 4 nm SoC has one Cortex X2 CPU for single-threaded performance, three Cortex A710 cores, and four low-power Cortex A510 cores, just like Qualcomm’s 2022 chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. These are all new ARM v9 cores, with the X2 and little cores both being 64-bit only.
Samsung’s announcement does not put to bed any questions about a troubled development of the Exynos 2200. The press release and product site are both lacking many of the details that are typically disclosed at this point. For instance, Samsung has not made any performance claims about the Exynos 2200 CPU or GPU. If you read through the Exynos 2100 press release from this time last year, you’ll see claims like 30 percent better CPU multi-core performance and 40 percent faster graphics.
This year, though, Samsung does not actually promise its new chip will be faster than its old chip. That’s not to say it won’t be, but if the rumors are true and Samsung is still dealing with heat issues, it’s too early to commit to specific performance claims. Similarly, the product site for the Exynos 2200 doesn’t list any frequencies for the CPU or GPU, while the Exynos 2100 site does.
Samsung’s flagship Exynos line is now named after the Galaxy S line, so we should see the Exynos 2200 in the Galaxy S22. The Galaxy line usually uses two different SoCs, though, with Qualcomm chips in the US, China, and other regions and Exynos in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Korea. If the Exynos 2200 really is troubled, we could see Samsung move the S22 more toward Qualcomm for this generation, but we’ll have to wait for the phone announcement to see if that’s happening.