Although taking a “break” from the high-end range, Samsung isn’t giving up on its own Exynos range, planning to equip future chipsets with GPU units developed in partnership with AMD.
Samsung announced in June 2020 a very promising partnership with AMD to license the RDNA graphics core and include it in proprietary chipsets historically aimed at tablet and smartphone devices. Expectations were that the agreement would allow Samsung to “pair” processors from its own Exynos range with AMD-developed GPU units, replacing the “Mali” solutions previously used on Samsung chips. Unfortunately, expectations were contradicted by the performance of the Exynos 2200, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 alternative demonstrating at least equivalent performance, delivered with lower power efficiency. A significant part of the ‘problem’ was the Xclipse 920 core itself, which, insufficiently optimised to operate under the temperature and power consumption constraints of a handheld smartphone, fell short of the performance delivered by Qualcomm’s alternative, the Adreno 730.
Although the start of the collaboration with AMD wasn’t exactly on the best of terms, and in the meantime relations between the two companies seemed to cool even further, Samsung can’t ignore the huge potential of working with the second largest developer of PC graphics accelerators after NVIDIA. So the two giants will continue to work on developing the most powerful GPU for mobile devices, taking aim at both rival Qualcomm and solutions delivered by Apple.
But in the meantime, it looks like Samsung will take the easy way out, developing under the Xclipse brand new GPU units for mid-range phones, incidentally the main market segment still covered by Exynos chipsets:
“Together with AMD, Samsung has revolutionized mobile graphics, including our recent collaboration that brought ray tracing capability to mobile processors for the first time in the industry. Building on our technological expertise in designing ultra-low power solutions, we will continue to drive innovation in the mobile graphics solutions arena.”
Unfortunately, the announcement doesn’t come with a precise release schedule, hinting more at a long-term collaboration whose fruits will be seen especially in the years to come.