The Korea Economic Daily has set a date for the arrival of the Samsung Exynos SoC for laptops that we have been talking about in recent months. It will be available in the second half of 2021 and will include graphics technology from AMD.
Apple has opened a path of no return with its ‘silicon’ project. It is the most influential firm in global technology and we already said that the strategic decision to replace Intel’s x86 architecture with ARM’s in its Mac computers could be followed by other manufacturers. Microsoft has been trying for years together with Qualcomm with the Windows platform on ARM and yesterday we presented you with the launch of the Huawei Qingyun L410 laptop with Kirin 990 chipset and Linux.
Samsung’s entry into PCs with its own chips It’s just a matter of time. It is one of the large semiconductor manufacturers, it has an astonishing production capacity, manufacturing technologies as advanced as 5 nanometers, its own advanced components to cover sections of screen, memory and storage, and it has ARM licenses to design its own Exynos chipsets. that until now were preferably used for smart phones, but also in televisions, wearables or the automotive industry.
Samsung Exynos for Laptops
The performance of the Exynos had been below what Apple and Qualcomm offered, but the launch of the Exynos 2100 has opened a new path. This SoC is manufactured in 5 nm processes, includes an eight-core processor, mounts a next-generation GPU and has a 5G modem.
It is the most advanced ever produced by Samsung and is surely a good basis for future developments such as the one cited by the South Korean media: “A premium Exynos that can be used in laptops and smartphones and will arrive in the second part of this year”. A development like this requires a CPU, a GPU and a modem. This last component is less important on a PC than on a mobile and can be taken out of the equation, but Samsung has work ahead of it.
Can a Samsung Exynos for laptops compete with the performance of an x86 from Intel or AMD or an SoC from Apple? It is the big question and it will not be easy, as they explain from Ars Technica. Until now, Samsung’s development has been different from Apple’s. The Cupertino folks follow the more advanced route that ARM offers, licensing the ARM instruction set and designing their own CPUs, while Samsung directly licenses the CPU designs that ARM offers generally.
The same does Qualcomm, another great specialist that has not been able to reach the performance of Apple, although it is at it. In January it bought the CPU design firm Nuvia founded by former engineers in Apple’s CPU division, including the chief CPU architect. Qualcomm says that with Nuvia it will be able to develop internally designed CPUs (as Apple does) in the second half of 2022.
Samsung signed an agreement with AMD in 2019 to introduce its graphics technologies to the Exynos series. Or what is the same, use a mobile AMD GPU in the private label chipsets. According to information from the Korean media “The new Exynos chip for laptops will use the graphics processing unit developed jointly with American semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices Inc”.
AMD develops custom graphics chips for various manufacturers and market segments, with Microsoft and Sony consoles as great examples. A couple of years ago we even saw a Vega graphics on an Intel CPU, something unthinkable due to its rivalry in processors. Mobile AMD GPU for Samsung is next under these third-party collaboration agreements.
Although Samsung has improved the situation with the Exynos 2100, its GPU performance is below the Adreno 660 in the Snapdragon 888 and the one developed by Apple. This will end in the next chips. Using a graphics architecture like AMD’s RDNA it will be a huge leap forward for Samsung and it will allow you to place your devices at the forefront of performance, at least for the graphic part.
And the operating system?
Another important leg of the equation. Samsung Exynos for Laptops is sure to work on it. Windows 10 over ARM. A system that has not offered so far what consumers expect and not even Microsoft’s collaboration with Qualcomm has been able to carry it forward with relevance in sales and to stop Chromebooks that do not stop growing.
Very interesting this Samsung Exynos for laptops, but there are many unknowns to clear, in hardware and software. What is clear is that Apple’s strategy with silicon (so far successful) seems a path of no return that other manufacturers will follow.