The first 5G-ready smartphones are already here. But so far they’ve all relied on multi-chip solutions: a mobile processor to power most smartphone functions, and a separate 5G modem.

Now chip makers are starting to make the first smartphone processors with built-in 5G capabilities.

Huawei’s Kirin 990 chip is expected to have integrated 5G support. And Samsung’s newly announced Exynos 980 does as well.

The new processor is an 8nm, octa-core chip with two ARM Cortex-A77 CPU cores and six lower-power Cortex-A55 CPU cores. It has Mali-G76 graphics and a neural processing unit that Samsung says offers up to a 2.7 percent boost in performance.

The processor supports cameras up to 108 megapixels, as well as 4K UHD video encoding and decoding at up to 120 frames per second. THere’s also support for HDR+ content.

But the most noteworthy thing about this new processor is probably the integrated 5G modem, which Samsung says should provide download speeds up to 2.5 Gbps on sub 6 GHz 5G networks… if you have access to one.

By integrating the modem into the processor, Samsung says it was able to reduce power consumption and reduce the physical space requirements.

The processor also featured integrated support for WiFi 6, also known as 802.11ax.

Given that this processor has just two high-performance CPU cores, it seems likely to be destined for next-gen Galaxy A series smartphones rather than the next Galaxy S or Galaxy Note. But with mass production set to begin by the end of 2019, we probably won’t know for certain until phones powered by the new chip start shipping sometime next year.

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4 replies on “Samsung Exynos 980 chip has 5G support baked in”

  1. It’s also using a 14nm node, instead of a 7nm node.
    The “8nm” moniker that Samsung uses, is another way of saying +++14nm like Intel. That’s not to say the 8nm isn’t advanced or a bad wafer. It is one of the best out there, but more like a distant third. It’s just in the same league as their old 10nm wafers, like the Snapdragon 835.

    The new Exynos 9825 is using a proper 7nm node.
    I suspect Samsung will be using this node for their next-2020 Galaxy S/Note phones. Maybe Samsung by this time would also have fixed their Mongoose cores, otherwise ditched them for Cortex A77’s.

    M1 = on-par with Kryo-100 and Cortex A72
    M2 = slightly better than M1, slightly inferior to Cortex A73
    M3 = slightly better than M2, very inferior to Cortex A75
    M4 = decently better than M3, very inferior to Cortex A76
    M5 = ??? better than M4, ??? inferior to Cortex A77

    1. Incorrect about 8nm, it is a refined 10nm finfet process meant for precisely this kind of chip (ie value mobile SoC’s on an advanced process).

      1. Welcome to modern metrology of processor architecture side, where the measurements are made up and don’t matter. Bait for wenchmarks right?

        1. The process numbers are made up, but excepting Intel’s they roughly correspond to each other.

          14/16nm are similar, 11/12nm are similar improvements of 14/16nm.

          I think TSMC has no equivalent to Samsung 8nm given they spent little time refining 10nm in order to push forward on 7nm, which shows in their prevalence current 7nm orders vs Samsung.

          Though Samsung’s 8nm will likely be used by many as a cheaper alternative for some time (ala 28nm) until 7nm finfet derivatives are going cheaper as fabs transition to even moar expensive MBCFET/Nanosheet derivates at named 3nm node.

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