Samsung announces Exynos 1080 SoC with ARM Cortex-A78 CPU cores and Mali-G78 GPU
Samsung’s Exynos lineup of chipsets has been lagging behind their counterparts for the last few generations. While this applies to SoCs across different price brackets, news around Samsung’s flagship processors trailing behind their competitors from the Qualcomm camp has gained most traction. The Exynos 990 from earlier this year was also overpowered by the Snapdragon 865, but Samsung has been working its way out to change this dynamic. At an event today in China, Samsung’s semiconductors division announced the Exynos 1080 to power Samsung’s next generation of high-end smartphones.
Although Samsung did not clarify, the Exynos 1080 is expected to be a successor to the Exynos 980 — or to an imaginary intermediate between the Exynos 980 and 990 chipsets.
Exynos 1080: Samsung’s latest high-end processor
The Samsung Exynos 1080 SoC features an octa-core CPU design in a 1+3+4 configuration. It is fabricated with a 5nm EUV-based FinFET process, which is expected to make the chips 25% smaller and 20% more power efficient as compared to the 7nm EUV process that is used to make the Exynos 990.
For the last five years, Samsung had been using its custom Exynos M cores, which could not match up to ARM’s Cortex-A cores. This led the Korean giant to eventually shut down its dedicated research program and drop their plans to develop the Exynos M6 core. Instead, they decided to rely fully on ARM’s Cortex cores for the Exynos 1080.
For the CPU, the Exynos 1080 utilizes one ARM Cortex-A78 core clocked at 2.8GHz along with three Core-A78 cores clocked at 2.6GHz for performance and four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 2.0GHz for power-efficiency. The said performance cores are expectedly more powerful than the Cortex-A77 cores that are employed on Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon 865 Plus, and Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 9000 chipsets.
The new CPU configuration is likely to bring the Exynos 1080 neck-and-neck with the counterparts from Qualcomm and Huawei. Samsung claims that the new chipset shows a 50% increase in single-core performance and a 100% improvement in terms of multi-core performance as compared to the previous generation, presumably Exynos 980.
In addition to the modern CPU design, the Exynos 1080 also features a Mali-G78 MP10 GPU. As per Samsung, the new GPU outputs a 2.3 times (130% higher) performance as compared to the Mali-G77 MP11 GPU on the Exynos 990. Furthermore, the Exynos 1080 is also equipped with a neural processing unit (NPU) for predictive tasks, pre-loading apps, and other AI applications along with an AI-backed ISP for improved photography and videography.
Exynos 1080: 200MP cameras, 10-bit recording, 5G, and Wi-Fi 6
The Exynos 1080 is capable of supporting up to six cameras with a maximum resolution of 200MP. The processor also facilitates 10-bit 4K video recording for higher vibrancy as well as the ability to edit HDR 10+ videos on the smartphone itself.
In terms of connectivity, the Exynos 1080 supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. When it comes to 5G, the chipset supports both — sub-6GHz and mmWave — frequencies with maximum download speeds of up to 5.1Gbps and 3.7Gbps, respectively.
Lastly, the Exynos 1080 overcomes the Exynos 990’s limitations with refresh rate at higher resolutions. It supports WQHD+ displays at 90Hz refresh rate as compared to 60Hz on the latter, and up to 144Hz refresh rate at Full HD+ resolution. This leaves some room for speculation that Samsung may be working on the rumored Exynos 2100 that is likely to feature support WQHD+ displays at 120Hz for truly smooth scrolling on their 2021 flagships. The speculation hasn’t been confirmed yet, so please take it with a pinch of salt.
Vivo partners with Samsung for Exynos 1080
As reported earlier, Vivo has teamed up with Samsung to procure the Exynos 1080 chips for its smartphones. Earlier this year, Samsung has supplied Vivo with Exynos 980 and 880 to close in on rival mobile semiconductor manufacturers such as Huawei. The previous report also suggested that Xiaomi and OPPO could also become potential consumers of Exynos 1080 but that hasn’t been announced yet.
Previous timelines suggest smartphones with Exynos 1080 will hit the market in early 2021. We will have to wait and see if Vivo furnishes any SKUs before Samsung’s Unpacked 2021 event in mid-January where it is expected to announce the Galaxy S21 series.