Samsung's Exynos chipsets may not have a very good reputation but the company isn't giving up on them anytime soon. And now, it appears even Google is willing to give Exynos chips a chance with its upcoming Pixel phones.
A new report claims that Samsung is developing a custom flagship Exynos chipset for Google. This chipset will be made using the Korean company's 5nm LPE process. It will also use standard CPU and GPU designs from ARM. So no custom CPU cores here, unlike Samsung's previous Exynos chips.
The yet-unnamed Exynos SoC will feature two Cortex-A78 CPU cores, two Cortex-A76 CPU cores, and four power-efficient Cortex-A55 CPU cores. It will reportedly pack a Mali MP20 GPU based on a new architecture from ARM, code-named Borr. Google's Visual Core ISP and NPU will replace Samsung's ISP and NPU on this chipset.
Google could reportedly launch this custom Exynos processor by the end of this year. Given it features the yet-to-be-announced Cortex-A78 CPU cores with standard CPU and GPU designs from ARM as well as custom Google solutions, it will surely be very powerful hardware. Samsung may well leave its Exynos woes behind with this chip.
Samsung's Exynos chipsets have been consistently performing worse than Qualcomm's Snapdragon counterparts over the past few years.
And while the company isn't admitting that there is a difference in the performance between the latest Exynos 990 and the Snapdragon 865 chipsets, it certainly knows something needs to be changed.
Samsung is moving away from custom CPU cores this year. The company's switching to stock ARM cores for its next-gen flagship Exynos processor. The South Korean giant is also ditching ARM's Mali GPUs in favor of AMD's Radeon graphics. We'll have to wait and see what difference these changes make to Samsung's Exynos chips.
Google settles on Samsung Exynos chips after a long search
Google wants to reduce its dependency on Intel and Qualcomm and has been putting in efforts to create its own chipset over the last few years. The search giant has reportedly hired chip designers from Broadcom, Nvidia, and even Intel and Qualcomm and created a team of 16 engineers in Bengaluru, India, with plans to hire hundreds more in the future.
However, the company seems to have shelved the plan of making its own chipsets for now. Instead, it has settled for a custom Exynos chipset.
It's unclear when and where we'll see this Exynos chipset first. Since it features Google's Visual Core ISP and NPU, it may find enough usage on Google's servers for data centers, let alone mobile products like Pixel smartphones and Chromebooks.
As for Samsung, it's not just Google that's looking at its Exynos chips. Social media giant Facebook is also reportedly interested in them. Samsung's Exynos chips could feature in the upcoming crop of Facebook's Oculus AR/VR products.
Samsung has already created a new 'Custom SoC' team of 30 members. The company plans to expand the team in the coming years as it eyes the top spot global semiconductor market.