Samsung announces the new Exynos 2200 SoC with Samsung Xclipse 920 GPU
The launch of a new chip is a big event in the smartphone space. Unlike phones that can be designed, manufactured, and sold by a number of OEMs, phone SoCs are limited to a handful of players, and even fewer of them compete in the flagship space. These flagship SoCs define the very competition expected in the year, laying the groundwork for feature sets that we can expect to see in our next Android flagship. Samsung has now finally announced the new Exynos 2200 SoC with the Xclipse 920 GPU, which will give tough competition to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
Samsung Exynos 2200: Specifications
|Samsung Exynos 2200|
|Display||Maximum On-Device Display Support: 4K @ 120Hz/QHD+ @ 144Hz; HDR10+|
|AI||AI Engine with Dual-core NPU and DSP|
|Memory & Storage||LPDDR5; UFS 3.1|
|Connectivity||Location: Beidou, Galileo, GLONASS, GPS|
|Manufacturing Process||Samsung 4nm EUV process|
GPU: The new AMD RDNA 2-based Xclipse 920
The Samsung Exynos 2200 is an exciting SoC, and we’ll get to the full rundown in a bit. But to start off, it’s worth talking about the biggest highlight of this new SoC. The Exynos 2200 comes with the new Xclipse 920 GPU, a direct product of the partnership that Samsung had announced with AMD back in Jan 2021. It is expected to offer massive performance improvements over the Mali-G78MP14 on the Exynos 2100. If you have used an Exynos 2100 flagship, like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra that is sold in India, you would know how terrible gaming performance on the device really is. I have personally purchased and used the Galaxy S21 Ultra as my daily driver, and it is a rather disappointing experience for my daily gaming fix with Genshin Impact. So much so that I shifted to the OnePlus 9 Pro and the Mi 11 Ultra (both with Snapdragon 888) as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
With the Exynos 2200 and Xclipse 920, Samsung is setting some lofty expectations. This is the first Samsung chipset with AMD’s RDNA 2-based GPU. RDNA is the codename for AMD’s current Radeon graphics architecture, and RDNA 2 is used in the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, as well as AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. The architecture that is used for consoles and desktop graphics is now being integrated into a mobile chip. This integration is what allows Samsung to tout “console-quality” immersive visuals with the first hardware-accelerated ray tracing (RT) solution for mobiles in the form of the Xclipse 920 GPU. There is also variable rate shading (VRS) onboard.
Ray tracing refers to tech that simulates how light physically behaves in the real world, while VRS tech allows developers to apply lower shading rates in areas that will not impact quality, thus improving frame rate. While we definitely need to wait to see how the chip and its GPU actually perform on these expectations, simply using these keywords in marketing materials instantly raises the bar of expectations so much higher than what it was with the Mali-G78MP14 on the Exynos 2100. If Samsung is bringing down console and desktop features down to mobile, surely the Xclipse GPU performs better than the Mali-G78MP14, right? One can hope.
Samsung’s press release also mentions that the Xclipse GPU is the “first result of multiple planned generations of AMD RDNA graphics in Exynos SoCs“, so we certainly hope to see great gaming performance become a default feature for Samsung’s flagship SoC in the future.
CPU: The latest from ARM
For the CPU, the Exynos 2200 follows the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 closely, in that both have made the jump to the ARMv9 architecture that was introduced in March 2021. Qualcomm’s Kryo chip in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is based on the ARMv9 architecture-based CPU designs, and Samsung uses the same CPU designs on the Exynos 2200. Much like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the Exynos 2200 features a Cortex-X2 prime core, three Cortex-A710 performance cores, and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores. Samsung has not revealed the exact clock speeds, so we will have to wait on a device to release to get access to that information. Either way, we expect a much smaller delta in performance between these two flagship chips this year than it has ever been in the recent past.
Exynos 2200: NPU
Samsung’s press release isn’t too heavy on the details for the NPU, and we reckon that this could become a point of difference between Qualcomm and Samsung’s offering this year. NPU’s have grown in importance as smartphones have relied more on AI and ML for their functions, and if the Google Tensor chip on the Pixel 6 series is any indication, the results are worth watching out for.
For the Exynos 2200, Samsung claims the upgraded NPU has doubled in performance compared to its predecessor. The NPU now offers “much higher precision with FP16 (16bit floating point) support in addition to power efficient INT8 (8bit integer) and INT16.”
The Exynos 2200 comes with a 3GPP Release 16 5G modem, with support for both sub-6GHz and mmWave. The claimed top speed is 7.35Gbps download on mmWave, but with the E-UTRAN New Radio – Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) feature, the modem can boost speeds to up to 10Gbps by utilizing both 4G LTE and 5G NR signals.
For safekeeping, the Exynos 2200 comes with Integrated Secure Element (iSE) to store private cryptographic keys as well as to play a role as RoT (Root of Trust). Also, an inline encryption HW for UFS and DRAM has been reinforced to have user data encryption safely shared only within the secure domain. We hope to get more details on these features once the chip makes its way onto a device.
Exynos 2200: ISP
The Exynos 2200’s ISP supports camera resolutions up to 200MP, opening the door for a future Samsung device to ship with an ultra-high res camera if Samsung wanted to. At 30fps, the ISP supports up to 108MP in single camera mode, and 64+32MP in dual camera mode. Further, the ISP can connect to up to seven individual image sensors, and even drive four of them concurrently — this should open the door for more versatile camera setups as well as better and seamless switching between lenses.
With the help of the NPU, the ISP can realize a more content-aware camera experience, such as ML-based AI recognition for multiple objects, the environment, and faces within scenes.
For video recording, the ISP supports up to 4K HDR, and up to 8K resolution recording. The Multi-Format Codec (MFC) on the Exynos 2200 allows for up to 4K @120 and up to 8K @30 encoding, and up to 4K @240 and 8K @60 decoding. The MFC integrates the AV1 decoder, so you get better power efficiency and longer playback time.
Exynos 2200: Release and Availability
Samsung mentions that the Exynos 2200 is in mass production. There’s no mention of any timeline or device estimates, which is rather intriguing if you have been following the leaks and news around this new SoC. The Exynos 2200 was originally supposed to launch on Jan 11, 2022. But the day went by with no announcement. Samsung had even deleted the date announcement tweets, fueling speculation that the Exynos 2200 may not materialize after all. Samsung had to clarify that the new chip will be unveiled alongside the Galaxy S22 launch. And here we are a week later with the chip being announced, but no devices being named.
Current speculation suggests that markets like Europe are still on track for receiving the Exynos 2200 in the Galaxy S22 series, while markets like the US and India are expected to get the Galaxy S22 with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Samsung has not clarified either way, so it remains to be seen how the situation pans out. Nonetheless, we are excited to finally see a gaming-competent Exynos chip and Samsung flagship.