Samsung today announced the Exynos 980 mobile processor, its first SoC with an integrated 5G modem. The AI-powered SoC is manufactured using an 8nm FinFET process. It comes with an octa-core processor with two 2.2GHz Cortex-A77 cores and six 1.80GHz Cortex-A55 cores.
The chipset also comes equipped with a Mali-G76 graphics processor and features an integrated NPU (Neural Processing Unit) for advanced AI capabilities. The new NPU will improve user authentication, content filtering, mixed reality, intelligent camera, and other AI tasks. Samsung promises the Exynos 980 to bring a performance gain of up to 2.7 times compared to the predecessor.
The Exynos 980 combines a 5G modem and mobile processor into one chip. Not only this helps reduce power consumption but also takes up a lot less space than the older generation SoCs. Its modem supports 5G to 2G networks. Samsung says that the SoC can support download speeds of up to 2.55-gigabits per second (Gbps) in the sub-6GHz 5G spectrum. The 4G downlink speed is capped at 1Gbps. The chip also supports dual connectivity, allowing data transfer rates of up to 3.55Gbps. The Exynos 980 gets support for the new Wi-Fi 6 standard as well, enabling improved speeds and greater stability over Wi-Fi networks. There's also support for Bluetooth 5 and GNSS (global navigation satellite system).
The Exynos 980 can support a camera system of up to 108-megapixels. Its advanced image signal processor can sync up to five individual sensors, with three of them running simultaneously. The new chip's multi-format codec (MFC) supports encoding and decoding of 4K UHD video at 120 frames per second (fps) and HDR10+.
Exynos 980 brings 5G to the masses
5G promises to significantly boost the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. In fact, 5G wireless networks can deliver faster data transfer rates than today's physical fiber-optic cables. While 5G is currently available only in a handful of markets, the rollout is expected to expand rapidly over the next few months. And with wider coverage, the demand for 5G smartphones is also highly likely to increase. Samsung is trying to tap that opportunity with its 5G-integrated Exynos 980. The company hopes that the Exynos 980 will make 5G more accessible to a wider audience.
"With the introduction of our 5G modem last year, Samsung has been driving in the 5G revolution and paved the way towards the next step in mobility," said Ben Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. "With the 5G-integrated Exynos 980, Samsung is pushing to make 5G more accessible to a wider range of users and continues to lead innovation in the mobile 5G market."
Only a select few smartphones currently support 5G networks. Samsung's Galaxy A90 5G could be the cheapest of them all. However, that device has a separate 5G modem and will reportedly cost over $700. With the 5G-integrated Exynos 980, expect 5G to trickle down to more affordable devices.
Samsung expects to begin the mass production of the Exynos 980 by the end of this year. So it's quite likely that we will see some Exynos 980-powered handsets coming out early next year.