Samsung has announced its first 5G-integrated mobile processor, the Exynos 980. The chipset comes with multi-mode capabilities, meaning it will support 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G standards.
The Exynos 980 is based on an 8nm FinFET process and features a hexa-core design — two high-performance Cortex-A77 cores and four Cortex-A55 efficiency cores. These are paired with a Mali-G76 MP5 GPU.
Unlike the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, the Samsung Exynos 980 integrates the 5G modem on the SoC. This means that it will take up less space in a smartphone and help reduce power consumption. The only other integrated chipset in the Exynos 980’s league is the upcoming MediaTek Helio 5G chipset with M70 modem.
Exynos 980: Making 5G more affordable
The 980’s hexa-core structure and mid-tier GPU setup also suggest that it’s intended to be used in mid-range smartphones, unlike the octa-core Exynos 9820. So you can expect it to bring down the entry price point of Samsung’s 5G devices. The company says that with the launch of the new 5G-integrated chipset, it aims to make 5G more accessible to a wide range of users.
The Exynos 980 will be able deliver 1Gbps download speeds on 4G LTE and up to 2.55 Gbps on sub-6GHz 5G spectrum (i.e. in peak network conditions). According to Samsung, the chipset also supports dual 4G-5G connectivity, delivering speeds of up to 3.55Gbps. It also seems like the chipset lacks support for mmWave 5G spectrum, as used by operators such as Verizon and T-Mobile.
AI and imaging
A Neural Processing Unit (NPU) on the Exynos 980 promises to up performance 2.7x compared to its predecessor and handle on-device AI tasks more efficiently. It also adds application enhancements such as secure user authentication, content filtering, mixed reality, intelligent camera tech, and more.
In terms of imaging, the Exynos 980 can support up to 108MP resolution and up to five individual sensors on a device. The NPU will assist with AI camera tasks such as object and scene recognition.
Further, Exynos 980’s multi-format codec will support encoding and decoding of 4K UHD video at 120 frames per second. Compared to this, the Exynos 9820 and Exynos 9825 on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 respectively support encoding and decoding of 8K videos at 30fps.
The new Exynos processor also brings support for HDR 10+ with dynamic mapping, which means that any supported video you watch will be fine-tuned on a scene-by-scene basis, producing better picture quality than HDR.
The Exynos 980 is set to go into mass production by the end of the year, which means we’ll only see the first phones with the processor in 2020.