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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series could get a massive chipset upgrade

A new leak points to a major CPU and GPU upgrade over the Exynos 990 seen in the S20 series.

Published onMay 28, 2020

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Renders 2
The alleged Galaxy Note 20 Plus (or Ultra) render

Samsung traditionally offers a brand-new chipset with the Galaxy S series flagships, with that year’s Galaxy Note then adopting the processor or a tweaked version of it. But it seems like the Galaxy Note 20 could get a major chip upgrade this year.

ZDNet Korea reports that Samsung has completed mass production preparations for a 5nm Exynos processor that’s expected to be the Exynos 992. Furthermore, the outlet’s sources say Samsung is still deciding whether to add it to the Galaxy Note 20 series.

A 5nm design alone would make for improved power efficiency and performance compared to the 7nm Exynos 990 in the Galaxy S20 series. But ZDNet says this wouldn’t be the only upgrade for the new Exynos chip.

6 things you need to know about the latest Arm CPUs and GPUs
The Arm logo at Arm TechCon 2018.

It’s claimed that the Exynos 992 will actually use Arm’s Cortex-A78 CPU and Mali-G78 GPU. The A78 on a 5nm design uses 50% less power and has a sustained performance boost of up to 20% over a Cortex-A77 CPU on a 7nm design (as seen on the Snapdragon 865). Meanwhile, Arm claims the new GPU on a 5nm process has a 25% performance improvement on over the 7nm Mali-G77 seen in the Exynos 990.

In other words, the purported shift to a smaller manufacturing process and new CPU and GPU tech should result in a big boost to performance and power consumption over the S20 series.

Would you buy an Exynos-powered Samsung flagship?

2682 votes

There are a couple of reasons to be a little skeptical of this latest report though, with the first Exynos 992 leak touting a 6nm process instead of 5nm mentioned by ZDNet. Furthermore, Samsung has usually brought major chipset upgrades to the S series first, generally adopting Arm’s latest silicon in the new year.

So a major upgrade like this seems very uncharacteristic, and more in line with HUAWEI. The Chinese brand debuts new Arm tech in Mate phones released in the second half of the year, then brings this hardware to the P series.