A New Restart on 5nm with X1 Cores

Right this moment, Samsung LSI took the digital stage to announce the brand new Exynos 2100 flagship SoC. The brand new chip is sort of particular for Samsung’s chip division because it marks a departure from previous iteration designs – being the primary SoC not utilizing Samsung’s personal in-house efficiency CPU microarchitecture, however as an alternative counting on Arm’s Cortex cores comparable to the brand new X1.

It’s an enormous change for Samsung not simply technologically, but additionally when it comes to normal tone and messaging – with a way more upbeat enthusiasm from the corporate and likewise the primary ever truly offered launch occasion for a Samsung cell SoC, extra intently mimicking what we might see from Qualcomm.

The brand new SoC guarantees some very giant technical upgrades – the aforementioned new Cortex-X1 efficiency CPU, a really giant GPU efficiency increase, but additionally very giant positive aspects in issues like AI efficiency, a re-integrated main 5G modem, digital camera assist for as much as 200MP sensors, AV1 video decoding, all on a brand new 5nm course of node.

Samsung Exynos SoCs Specs

Exynos 990

Exynos 2100

CPU 2x Exynos M5 @ 2.73GHz

2MB sL2

3MB sL3


2x Cortex-A76 @ 2.50GHz

2x 256KB pL2

4x Cortex-A55 @ 2.00GHz

4x 64KB pL2

1MB sL3

1x Cortex-X1 @ 2.9GHz

3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.8GHz

4x Cortex A55 @ 2.2GHz

?MB sL3

GPU Mali G77MP11 @ 800 MHz Mali G78MP14 @ ? MHz

LPDDR5 @ 2750MHz

2MB System Cache


?MB System Cache

ISP Single: 108MP

Twin: 24.8MP+24.8MP
Single: 200MP

Twin: 32MP+32MP

(As much as quad simultaneous digital camera)

>10 TOPs
Triple NPU + DSP
26 TOPs
Media 8K30 & 4K120 encode & decode

H.265/HEVC, H.264, VP9
8K30 & 4K120 encode &

8K60 decode

H.265/HEVC, H.264, VP9
AV1 Decode
Modem Exynos Modem Exterior 

(LTE Class 24/22)

DL = 3000 Mbps

8x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM

UL = 422 Mbps

?x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6)

DL = 5100 Mbps

(5G NR mmWave)

DL = 7350 Mbps

Exynos Modem Built-in

(LTE Category 24/18)
DL = 3000 Mbps

8x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM

UL = 422 Mbps

4x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6)

DL = 5100 Mbps

UL = 1920Mbps

(5G NR mmWave)

DL = 7350 Mbps

UL = 3670 Mbps

Mfc. Course of Samsung
7nm LPP
5nm LPE

Beginning off with the big-ticket merchandise right now, it surrounds Samsung’s utilization of the brand new Arm Cortex-X1 CPU cores. This follows a 5 yr journey that had began off with the Exynos 8890 again in 2016 and the Galaxy S7 collection of devices- with Samsung utilizing their very own designed CPU microarchitecture dubbed the M1 by way of to the M5 CPU in final yr’s Exynos 990 used within the Galaxy S20 collection.

Sadly, Samsung’s personal designs had been by no means actually profitable, and really introduced the other of what the corporate had hoped for – as an alternative of optimistic differentiation within the SoC market the utilization of customized cores was truly extra of a destructive, bringing with them decreased efficiency and fairly worse energy effectivity in comparison with the Arm Cortex counterparts. Whereas Samsung had been affected person with the SARC CPU design group, too many failures in a row, significantly massive blunders such because the Exynos 9810 and the Exynos 990 resulted within the termination of the undertaking, with Samsung selecting to easily simply use Arm Cortex cores.

In final yr’s Cortex-X1 announcement from Arm, Samsung was truly one of many main companions which publicly acknowledged their use of the brand new high-performance CPU IP, and right now’s announcement of the Exynos 2100 unveils the fruits of this collaboration.

The brand new Exynos 2100 follows a CPU configuration that had been first launched by Qualcomm within the Snapdragon 855 in that it’s a 1+3+4 CPU design, that includes one new high-performance Cortex-X1 core clocking as much as 2.8GHz, three Cortex-A78 cores as much as 2.8GHz, and 4 Cortex-A55 cores at as much as 2.2GHz.

What’s fascinating right here about this setup is the clock frequencies, and the way they distinction to Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 which was launched a number of weeks in the past and is beginning to ship within the first new flagship gadgets of 2021.

Notably on the center and on the effectivity cores, the Exynos chip exhibits a 400MHz benefit in clock frequencies over the Snapdragon chip, which ought to lead to a notable benefit with regards to multi-threaded CPU workloads.

On the a part of the X1 cores at 2.9GHz – effectively it’s a disgrace we once more simply missed the mark on the symbolic 3GHz mark this technology, nevertheless it’s nonetheless 60MHz larger than the Snapdragon counterpart so it ought to lead to a small efficiency increase, though I doubt it’ll be noticeable.


Samsung truly did have some efficiency figures proven throughout the presentation, together with the anticipated 33% multi-threaded efficiency increase due to the now a lot larger efficiency center cores.

I used to be truly delighted to additionally see Samsung publish a separate 19% single-threaded efficiency determine – nevertheless this quantity is a bit odd to me because the leap from a 2.7GHz Exynos M5 to a 2.9GHz Cortex-X1 must be bigger than that. I don’t know what Samsung makes use of when it comes to coming to those figures, however I’m optimistic that issues might find yourself larger than simply 19%.

As a part of the launch occasion presentation Samsung additionally claimed to have included “higher cache reminiscence” – this could possibly be a reference to a doable 8MB L3 cache within the CPU cluster, however is also associated to a greater system-cache construction. That they had additionally made point out of a extra environment friendly voltage management implementation – what precisely this implies in apply is open to interpretation however one space Samsung might differentiate itself from the Snapdragon 888 is to present the Cortex-X1 cores their very own devoted voltage rail. We’ll should see how the precise SoC behaves as Samsung doesn’t go into such technical depth for his or her chip launches.

A 40% GPU Efficiency Uplift?!

On the GPU facet, we’ve seen the transfer from a Mali-G77MP11 at as much as 800MHz to a brand new Mali-G78MP14 at an undisclosed frequency. That’s typically an anticipated implementation increase when it comes to variety of cores – 27% extra cores to be precise.

What’s fascinating right here is the truth that Samsung is proclaiming an enormous 40% higher graphics efficiency determine. This truly actually provides me pause and I query as to how Samsung has achieved such a determine. The Mali-G78 was meant to be a quite small generational improve with solely 10% higher perf/W enhancements. The method node of the Exynos 2100 is marketed as bringing a 20% energy effectivity enchancment. In principle and on paper, the brand new course of and GPU IP ought to leads to a 32% higher perf/W enchancment nevertheless it’s very uncommon that such theory-crafting truly leads to correct estimates for precise silicon designs, significantly on the GPU facet.

So whereas 40% efficiency enchancment sounds incredible, it’ll all rely upon how a lot energy and the way environment friendly the brand new Exynos 2100 is – and the way effectively it could maintain these efficiency figures in extended gaming classes.

A Extra Highly effective NPU

One other massive improve is discovered on the a part of the brand new technology NPU. Samsung has developed their IP from 2-core design to a brand new 3-core design, and guarantees new architectural adjustments comparable to pruning and weight compression to enhance the facility effectivity of the NPU by 2x.

Samsung right now proclaimed AI efficiency determine of 26 TOPS, however this determine appears to be an combination determine throughout all of the SoC computational blocks, together with CPU, GPU, NPU and DSPs, evaluating itself to a 15 TOPS determine of the Exynos 990. The predecessor chipset was truly introduced with a ten TOPS determine final yr, so there’s a bit of selling revisionism happening right here, in all probability desirous to match the figures that Qualcomm is placing out for his or her SoCs. It’s unlucky that each corporations are resorting to such blurring of the particular IP block performances.

Extra Highly effective ISP – As much as 4 Simultaneous Sensors

By way of multi-media options, Samsung says to have made giant enhancements to its digital camera ISP and DSP’s. The brand new chip helps single-sensors as much as 200MP, whereas additionally connecting as much as a complete of 6 digital camera sensors, and concurrently working 4 of them in parallel. No less than on this regard, the brand new chip flexes larger capabilities than the Snapdragon 888 which solely helps as much as 3 simultaneous cameras.

Samsung has up to date its MFC block (Multi-format Codec) video encoder and decoder to assist as much as 8K60 video decoding, though encoding has remained at 8K30/4K120. What’s fascinating right here is that Samsung does now assist AV1 decoding, marking it the second chipset within the cell market after MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000 to assist the brand new characteristic.

5G modem built-in

Lastly, the brand new platform is once more a brand new monolithic design, reintegrating the 5G modem on the identical silicon die, promising some positive aspects in energy effectivity and permitting for higher PCB house utilization. The precise modem itself doesn’t appear to have seen notable adjustments in options in comparison with the discrete Exynos 5123 modem – nevertheless that’s in all probability as a result of it already was totally featured when it comes to supporting all new applied sciences comparable to 5G sub-6GHz and mmWave connectivity.

Within the announcement video, Samsung made an emphasis that mmWave deployments are rising in 2021, and that we’ll be seeing extra Exynos powered gadgets utilizing mmWave. That is going to be fascinating as we haven’t but seen Samsung’s personal mmWave antennas available in the market, though the corporate had set free in 2019 that they’d a number of generations of such designs.

5nm Course of Node

Lastly, Samsung reveals that the brand new Exynos 2100 is manufactured on Samsung’s 5nm course of node, which brings both 10% increase in clock frequencies, or a 20% drop in energy on the identical frequency. Final yr we had suspected that Samsung’s 7nm course of node was wherever between 20 and 25% much less energy environment friendly than TSMC’s newest N7P node, so basically we’re anticipating the brand new course of to only catch up when it comes to energy effectivity, with newer TSMC 5nm SoCs such because the Apple A14 and the Kirin 9000 to nonetheless have a notable course of node lead.

Optimistic Messaging, Good Outlook

Right this moment’s launch occasion was extraordinarily optimistic n phrases of tone and normal enthusiasm on the a part of Samsung, proclaiming catchphrases comparable to “Exynos is again” and throughout the presentation acknowledging that the earlier technology SoCs had points. I feel that’s a significant change in messaging from the corporate, and at the very least on paper the brand new Exynos 2100 seems to be extraordinarily aggressive. I do hope this particular additionally interprets onto the precise merchandise, with the upcoming new Galaxy S21 collection in a number of weeks’ time sporting the brand new Exynos chipset for the primary time.

Associated Studying:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *