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Samsung shocks with surprise unveiling of Exynos 2200 chipset

Samsung dismissed rumors about relinquishing its in-house Exynos series of system-on-a-chip (SoC) modules, and had hinted that the next flagship chipset — called Exynos 2200 — would be launched at the same event as its next flagship smartphone series. However, the company left us slightly puzzled and somewhat stunned by unveiling the Exynos 2200 with an online announcement earlier today, a few weeks ahead of its Unpacked 2022 event. The Exynos 2200 chipset is expected to power the upcoming Galaxy S22 lineup that launches next month.

The successor to last year’s Exynos 2100, the Exynos 2200 is built on a 4nm process and comes with the leaked AMD GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), along with an improved NPU (Neural Processing Unit) for A.I. applications. The Exynos 2200 is slated to compete with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000 chipsets for smartphones.

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A render of the Samsung Exynos 2200 system on a chip.

4nm CPU with ARM Cortex X2

For its CPU, Samsung Exynos 2200 uses a tri-cluster design identical to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform. The CPU on the Exynos 2200 comprises one ARM Cortex-X2 primary core for performance. along with three Cortex-A710 cores and four Cortex-A510 cores arranged in a big.LITTLE configuration.

Just like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the Exynos 2200 is also made on Samsung Semiconductors’ 4nm EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) process. Although Samsung has not announced the frequencies of the cores, we can expect a performance that is neck and neck with Qualcomm’s flagship chipset owing to their congruent designs.

AMD GPU with ray tracing support

Samsung has also announced a long-awaited custom Xclipse GPU on the Exynos 2200, made with AMD’s RDNA 2 technology that is also used on gaming consoles such as the Xbox Series S and X, as well as the Sony PlayStation 5. The letter X represents Exynos and is used by Samsung to indicate that the new GPU will mark the beginning of a “new exciting chapter” in terms of mobile gaming.

The ray tracing feature is enabled on Call Of The Sea game in a screenshot showing the ruins of a hut.
Call Of The Sea with ray tracing enabled.

One of the key benefits of this custom GPU made in collaboration with AMD is that it adds support for ray tracing, which allows for a greater emphasis on rays from light sources — especially the sun — in mobile game graphics. With ray tracing, light sources in mobile game visuals appear more realistic — and closer to what we expect to see with our own eyes — than without it.

Ray tracing is seen on high-end graphics cards such as the Nvidia RTX and AMD RX 6XXX series. The Exynos 2200 is the first mobile chipset with a GPU that supports ray tracing.

Faster modem and neural processing unit

The Exynos 2200 features an upgraded 5G modem that supports sub-6GHz as well as mmWave signals. The modem also supports 3GPP’s Release 16 standard for mobile broadband connectivity, also known as 5G Phase 2. The standard brings support for key connectivity features including LTE-5G dual connectivity. Without naming the modem, Samsung says it can support speeds of up to 10Gbps.

Meanwhile, Samsung claims the new NPU on Exynos 2200 to be twice as fast as that on the Exynos 2100.

Redesigned ISP for faster processing

The new Image Signal Processor (ISP) on the Exynos 2200 supports up to 200-megapixel cameras, which will not be seen on the Galaxy S22. Although the figure is the same as the last generation, Samsung says the ISP has been redesigned to bring faster processing with support for a full 108-megapixel viewfinder that refreshes at 30 frames per second (fps).

The ISP is capable of decoding 4K videos at up to 240 fps and 8K videos at up to 60 fps. It can encode 4K videos at 120 fps and 8K videos at 30 fps. In simpler terms, this means smartphones with the Exynos 2200 will be able to record 8K video at 30 fps or 4K videos at up to 120 fps while being able to play 8K videos at up to 60 fps and 4K videos at 240 fps.

Exynos 2200 availability

A leaked press image showing the rear panel of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus.
A leaked press image of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra (Credit: Letsgodigital). LetsGoDigital

As noted above, the Exynos 2200 chipset will make its debut next month with the Galaxy S22 series. Based on Samsung’s practice of using different chipsets for different regions, we can expect to see the Exynos 2200 globally except in certain markets such as the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, and South Korea, where the Galaxy S22 series is likely to be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC.

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