Samsung's next-gen Exynos 9820 chip adds dedicated AI for its 2019 phones
As it has in the past, Samsung just given us a sneak preview of the Exynos processor chip that's going to be powering its flagship phones over the next 12 months. The Exynos 9820 brings with it a dedicated AI engine, faster connectivity, and a 15-20 percent performance boost over its predecessor.
That AI engine – or Neural Processing Unit (NPU) – is perhaps the headline feature here. While the Exynos 9810 is partially optimized for chewing through artificial intelligence and machine learning tasks, the new system-on-a-chip (SoC) has a dedicated component for the job.
As with the latest chips from Huawei, Apple, and others, the NPU means more AI processing can be done on the phone itself without sending data to the cloud for processing. Think image recognition, voice recognition, augmented reality, and so on – NPUs help the main processor with AI tasks just like Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) help the main processor with graphics.
Elsewhere there are eight separate CPU cores: four low-performance, low-power Cortex-A55 cores, two high-performance, high-power Cortex-A75 cores, and two custom cores. The Exynos 9820 will reduce battery load by only using the higher power cores when apps are at their most demanding.
The 8-nanometer architecture should help here. This is Samsung's first 8 nm chip, which means smaller transistors on the silicon, which means better performance and lower power draw at the same time.
Samsung says the chip will provide 15-20 percent better performance or 40 percent less power draw than the ones inside the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9, while graphics performance will be up 40 percent on average. The Exynos 9820 will also be capable of displaying 4K videos at 150 frames-per-second.
On top of that the chip can take inputs from up to five camera sensors at once, perhaps an indication that the 2019 Samsung phones will up the camera lens count. Speaking of cameras, the Exynos 9820 is able to encode 8K video at 30 frames-per-second, if you need the highest possible resolutions from your clips.
All the latest connectivity options are included too, such as 8x CA (Carrier Aggregation), a maximum 2 Gbps download speed, and 4x4 MIMO (four antennas). Of course some of these features may or may not be supported by the phones Samsung puts the Exynos 9820 into.
Those phones should include the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus, as well as the Galaxy Note 10 later in 2019. Rumors continue to swirl about when Samsung is going to finally launch its innovative foldable smartphone, but if it does appear in the next year, it's likely to be running on the Exynos 9820 too.
The Exynos 9820 SoC will be in mass production by the end of 2018, Samsung says.