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Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Could Get a New AMD-Fueled Chip

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Image: Samsung

Samsung has unveiled the Exynos 2200, its first smartphone processor with AMD graphics. More specifically, the chip uses AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture which enables variable-rate shading and hardware-accelerated ray tracing, a technique used to make lighting effects in virtual environments appear more realistic.

While it hasn’t been confirmed, we assume the SoC will be featured in Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S22 set to be revealed at the Unpacked event (which is rumored for Feb. 8). However, Samsung typically reserves its in-house Exynos chips for international markets and turns to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips for stateside models. Based on the latest rumors, US Galaxy S22 versions will likely run on the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

The Exynos 2200 uses what AMD calls an “Xclipse” GPU and is based on Samsung’s 4-nanometer processing node. We’ve known since 2019 that the two chipmaking juggernauts would work together, and just last year, AMD confirmed that Samsung’s “next flagship mobile SoC” would use RDNA 2, the platform of AMD’s latest mobile and desktop GPUs.

The term “flagship” here is noteworthy in that it suggests the processor will indeed make its way to Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S series phones when they presumably arrive next month. What neither company has been willing to share just yet are performance numbers, though Samsung will likely highlight those during the Galaxy reveal. So far, the company is only claiming that the chip will enable the “ultimate mobile phone gaming experience.”

“AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture extends power-efficient, advanced graphics solutions to PCs, laptops, consoles, automobiles and now to mobile phones. Samsung’s Xclipse GPU is the first result of multiple planned generations of AMD RDNA graphics in Exynos SoCs,” said David Wang, the senior vice president of Radeon Technologies Group at AMD.

Shifting to the CPU, the Exynos 2200 will use Arm’s latest Armv9 CPU cores in a tri-cluster configuration consisting of a single Arm Cortex-X2 “flagship core,” three balanced Cortex-A710 big cores, and four power-efficient Cortex-A510 little cores.

According to Samsung, the chip has more advanced AI, an upgraded neural processing unit (NPU) with twice the performance as its predecessor, and an image signal processor with support for up to 200-megapixels, 4K HDR (or 8K video recording), and the ability to connect to seven individual image sensors and drive four concurrently.

We’re curious to see what benefits the new graphics bring and whether those performance gains and features will be supported by mobile games. Interestingly, Samsung says the Xclipse GPU is “positioned between the console and the mobile graphic processor” so it sounds like the company wants to blur the lines by delivering at-home gaming performance on mobile hardware.

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