Samsung, Apple, and Huawei are the only companies that can design their own smartphone chipsets. Samsung has been making Exynos chipsets for many years and uses its chipsets for a large part of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note models. But where did this story begin? Although Samsung also makes Exynos low-end and mid-range chipsets, here is a look at the history of Samsung‘s flagship chipsets.
2010: Birth of Exynos
In 2010, the first Galaxy S series phone with a Samsung chipset was introduced, which was called Hummingbird at that time. The name of this 45nm chipset was later changed to Exynos 3 Single, which was considered a powerful chip for its time. At a time when processors with a 1 GHz core were scarce, this chipset used a 1 GHz Cortex-A8 processor core. In fact, in 2009, when the chipset was unveiled, Samsung announced that the first chipset had a 1 GHz processor.
Other features include the PowerVR SGX540 GPU with support for 800×600 displays, 1080p video capability, LPDDR2 RAM support, and eMMC 4.3 internal storage. It should be noted that this was the only chipset made by Samsung to reach one of the Google Nexus phones.
Notable phones: Galaxy S, Google Nexus S
2011: Increasing the attractiveness of Exynos
The first Exynos chipset to bear this name from the beginning was the Exynos 4210 Dual, introduced in 2011 with the Galaxy S2. This chipset uses a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. Another notable feature was the use of the Mali-400MP4 GPU, which for the first time saw the introduction of a GP processor designed by Arm to one of Samsung’s chipsets.
This chipset had a few features in common with the previous generation, such as 45nm manufacturing technology, support for LPDDR2 RAM, and the possibility of 1080p video recording. However, with this chipset, Samsung was able to support displays based on higher resolution (1440 x 900) and internal memory of eMMC 4.4. At a time when phones had small screens, this chipset was used for the first Note series phone in 2011. Chinese company Meizu also used this chipset for its first phone.
Notable phones: Galaxy S2, Galaxy Note, Meizu MX
2012: Industry moves to quad-core processors
In 2012, the most important news in the mobile chipset market was the migration to quad-core processors, and Samsung joined the trend with the introduction of the Exynos 4412. This chipset was first available to users with the Galaxy S2, but months later the Galaxy Note 2 also benefited from it, although the speed of the chipset in question increased slightly.
Although the processing core of this chipset was still the Cortex-A9 like the previous generation, doubling its number would allow for much more processing power. In the meantime, we have to mention the preservation of the GPU in the previous generation, which means that it had nothing new to say in this regard. Other new features include 32-nanometer manufacturing technology. This chipset also found its way to both Lenovo and Galaxy Note 8 tablets.
Notable phones: Lenovo K860 and K860i, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S3
2013: Using an 8-core processor
The mobile chipset industry has grown from a dual-core processor to an 8-core processor in just a few years. In 2013, the Exynos 5410 came with the Galaxy S4, which uses four powerful Cortex-A15 cores and four low-power Cortex-A7 cores.
One of the most important limitations of the Exynos 5410 was that it could only use half of the processor cores, which meant that applications had to choose between sections containing A15 or A7 cores in different situations. This was a strange limitation that somehow called into question the purpose of embedding 8-core processors.
However, it uses a powerful PowerVR SGX544 MP3 graphics processor and supports displays with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and LPDDR3 RAM. Phones based on this chipset could capture 1080p video at 60 frames per second, as well as a 13-megapixel main camera.
Fortunately, Samsung unveiled the Exynos 5420 in late 2013, with this chipset, applications could use all eight processing cores simultaneously. Samsung used the Mali T628 MP6 instead of the PowerVR GPU, and apart from these two features, this chipset was no different from its predecessor.
Notable phones: Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3
2014: Exynos defeats Snapdragon in 64-bit migration
2014 was a great year for Samsung, and this year saw the launch of one of the company’s most successful handsets, the Galaxy S5. The phone only uses the Snapdragon 801, but Samsung used the Exynos 5433 20-nanometer chipset for the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge alongside the Snapdragon.
With this chipset, Samsung was able to defeat Qualcomm in the field of migration to 64-bit architecture, so the eight processing cores of this Exynos chipset were able to do more complex tasks. Other features of the Exynos 5433 include the Mali-T760 MP6 GPU and support for LPDDR3e RAM.
The chipset was a significant upgrade to the previous generation in terms of video and photography, and supported a 3.7-megapixel selfie camera, a 16-megapixel main camera. In addition, we should not miss the possibility of 4K video recording and 1080p video recording at 120 frames per second. Also, this chipset finally made possible the support of LTE internet.
Notable phones: Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge
2015: The best flagship chipset of the year
The 14-nanometer Exynos 7420 chipset is said to be the best flagship chipset of 2015. The chip uses an 8-core processor based on 4-core Cortex-A57 and 4-core Cortex-A53. The GPU was the Mali-T760, which had two more cores than the previous generation.
Meanwhile, thanks to the use of 14nm manufacturing technology, support for 4K displays, LPDDR4 RAM and UFS 2.0 internal memory, it was able to make a lot of noise. Other notable features include support for a 20-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel selfie camera, and the ability to record 4K videos at 30 frames per second.
Samsung did not use the Snapdragon chipset for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 series, and these phones were only marketed with this chipset, which Samsung apparently made this decision due to concerns about the Snapdragon 810 overheating.
Notable phones: Meizu Pro 5, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 series
2016: Exynos uses proprietary processors
Until now, Samsung has been using Arm-based processors for all its chipsets. But in 2016, the Exynos 8890 was introduced with proprietary Mongoose series processors. Of course, in addition to the four-core Mongoose M1 processor, Samsung also installed four Cortex-A53 cores.
For the first time, this chipset made it possible to support a 12-megapixel dual camera, and phones based on it could use a 13-megapixel selfie camera. Although the Exynos 8890 supported 4K video recording at 60 frames per second, the Galaxy S7 series lacked this feature. The Snapdragon 835 is said to lack this feature, and Samsung has dropped it to keep the features of the two models the same. According to studies, this chipset had more to say than its Snapdragon rival in terms of energy consumption.
Notable phones: Meizu Pro 6 Plus, Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S7 series
2017: Emergence of heterogeneous processes
Exynos 8895 was introduced in 2017 with 4 Mongoose M2 processor cores and 4 Cortex-A53 cores. Using the Mali-G71 MP20 graphics processor, Samsung was able to bring a lot of power to the chipset. Other features include support for UFS 2.1 internal storage and LPDDR4X RAM.
The chipset was also equipped with a visual processing unit (VPU) that was used for tasks such as object and landscape recognition. This was Samsung’s first major attempt to add machine learning capabilities to its chipsets. Samsung also used a dual-core image processor, one of which was used for complex image processing and the other for simpler processing.
In terms of video recording, this chipset made it possible to record 4K videos at a speed of 120 frames per second. To increase security, Samsung has dedicated part of the chipset to storing important information such as fingerprint data. Unfortunately, phones based on this chip also did not use 4K video recording at 60 or 120 frames per second, but some programmers offered solutions to enable 4K video recording at 60 frames per second.
Notable phones: Meizu 15 Plus, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8
2018: Minor improvement
The Exynos 9810 in 2018 was more of a minor evolution than its predecessor. The processor of this chipset had 4 cores of the third generation Mongoose processing and next to it, 4 cores of Cortex-A55 were installed. It should be noted that the A55 cores are even in the latest Exynos flagship chipsets.
Although the chip uses a better graphics processor than the previous generation, but in general it was not much different from it, and for example, it was still based on 10-nanometer manufacturing technology. It was also the last Exynos flagship chipset used by Meizu. Over the past few years, Vivo has been using Samsung chipsets, but the company only uses Samsung mid-range chips for its handsets.
Notable phones: Meizu 15 Plus, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 10 Lite
2019: Roadmap for the next generation of Exynos chipsets
The Exynos 9820 takes advantage of features that have become a constant part of the next generation of Exynos. First of all, we must mention the placement of processing cores in three parts. In one part, two Mongoose M4 processor cores were installed for heavy processing, in the other part, two Cortex-A75 cores were used for medium processing, and finally, four Cortex-A55 cores were allocated for light processing.
After Huawei, Samsung also installed a neural processing unit in this chipset. Its GPU was about 40 percent faster than the Exynos 9810 and consumed 35 percent less power. Despite these improvements, the Exynos 9820 had more to say than the Snapdragon 855 only in terms of single-core performance and failed against the Snapdragon in other areas such as graphics performance, heat generation and battery life.
In the same year of 2019, Samsung also unveiled the Exynos 9825 chipset, which was used in the Galaxy Note 10 series. According to studies, this chipset also performed worse than the Snapdragon 855, especially in terms of graphics.
Notable phones: Galaxy S10 series, Galaxy Note 10 series
2020: Worst year for Exynos chipsets
One of the most significant signs of the Exynos 990’s failure was the fact that Samsung used the Snapdragon 865 chipset for the Galaxy S20 for the Korean market. The 7-nanometer chipset had a lot to say on paper, but the Exynos 990 outperformed the Snapdragon 865 in almost every way.
Samsung’s flagship chipset for the first time in 2020 made it possible to support 120Hz displays with QHD + resolution, and also allowed handsets based on it to use a 108-megapixel main camera. In the meantime, Samsung has finally introduced 8K video recording for the phones in question. Eventually, however, a major failure of the chipset led to the closure of the proprietary processor design department, and Samsung also considered major changes to improve the chip’s GPU.
Notable phones: Galaxy S20 series, Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, Galaxy Note 20 series
2021: Exynos 2100
The company has been working with AMD for the past few years to develop GPUs, but these processors were not yet ready for the Exynos 2100, and Samsung, on the other hand, re-used Arm’s designs after years of trying to develop proprietary processors.
The 5-nanometer chipset is very similar to the Snapdragon 888 in terms of processing cores, and the Mali-G78 MP14 GPU delivers about 50% better performance than the previous generation. According to studies, the performance gap between the Exynos and the Snapdragon Galaxy S21 Ultra is much smaller than before.
The Exynos 2100 was first introduced among Samsung’s flagship chipsets with an integrated 5G modem, which reduces power consumption. Other improvements include the 3-core neural processing unit, which was based on two cores in the previous generation. Like other flagship chipsets in 2021, the Exynos 2100 will support LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.1 internal storage, a 144Hz QHD + display, and a 120Hz 4K display.
Notable handsets: Galaxy S21 series
2022: The future of Samsung’s Exynos chipsets
Samsung chipsets will start using AMD GPUs next year, ushering in the new Exynos era. According to AMD CEO, the company’s GPU provides features such as ray tracing and variable rate shading for the handsets. Simply put, this chipset can double the graphics appeal of games.
It looks like the successor to the Exynos 2100 will be announced in late 2021 and will be available in early 2022 with the Galaxy S22 series. Samsung is going to use a Cortex-X2 core, 3 Cortex-A710 cores and 4 Cortex-A510 cores for this chipset. As we said, Samsung is working hard to change the performance of Exynos chipsets. Although the first generation AMD GPU in the Exynos chipset is not going to be revolutionary, it will undoubtedly lay the groundwork for the next Exynos evolution.
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