AMD’s Radeon graphics technology could be coming to smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Or something.

Samsung has announced it’s partnering with AMD to license AMD graphics intellectual property for use in future products “including smartphones.”

While that could mean that we’ll see Radeon technology in upcoming Samsung Exynos mobile processors, this could also just be a case of Samsung paying for access to patents held by AMD while it builds it own GPU technology.

Samsung has been producing mobile processors under the Exynos name for almost a decade and up until now most of those chips have featured Arm-based CPU cores paired with either Arm Mali graphics or Imagination PowerVR graphics.

It’s possible that the new partnership with AMD could lead to Radeon graphics technology finding its way to upcoming smartphones. But the official announcement is pretty light on details, so it’s a little early to say whether that’ll happen or what, if any, benefits there would be to using Radeon graphics in a mobile device.

AMD has made a name for itself in other markets in recent years, with the companies GPUs powering recent game consoles, gaming PCs, and workstation computers like the crazy powerful new Mac Pro that Apple announced today.

The company’s Ryzen Mobile chips for laptops also feature Radeon Vega graphics that have historically outperformed Intel’s equivalent Intel UHD integrated graphics… but that may be set to change this year with the impending release of Intel’s new  Ice Lake processors with Gen11 graphics.

Anyway, the folks at Anandtech speculate that we’re unlikely to see Radeon-branded mobile graphics in future Samsung chips since Samsung has actually been developing its own GPU technology for the past seven years. Instead, the site figures this is probably a patent deal which could help protect Samsung from lawsuits as it prepares to bring that new GPU to market.

Either way, it seems like we could see some interesting new graphics technologies from Samsung in the not-too-distant future.


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8 replies on “Samsung licenses AMD tech for mobile graphics”

  1. I am thinking that this is more about legally selling Exynos in the US market than about increasing performance. Instead of paying Qualcomm royalties, they can pay AMD lower royalties.

  2. I’d love to hope for a chance to finally get some open-source GPU/VPU drivers for modern hardware in ARM space, but yeah, likely a cross-licensing patent deal.

    1. What would the point be? The Nvidia Shield TV has already been destroying benchmarks for over 4 years now, and Android games have not come any closer to needing something stronger.

      1. There’s no-one developing a “Crysis” App for Android that’s why.
        It seems like business suicide to make something that cannot be run on many/most devices. So that may be the reason why.

        Though, I thought it was Intel-x86 that held all the benchmark leaderboard. I’m pretty sure a throttle-limited QSD 855 actually surpasses the performance of an overclocked/power-delivered Tegra X1.

        But I agree, right now there’s very little use (demand?) for more powerful hardware, at least when we disregard the emulator scene (PS2, Gamecube, Wii, Wii U, Switch).

        1. Yes Emulators are the only thing that can and will take advantage of more performance. I’d love a system that could emulate Gamecube and Wii. However, such a device would probably break the $200-250 range, and at that point a J5005 NUC is a better buy.

          1. When it comes to emulation; software is more important than hardware.

            I mean iPhone’s have faster storage, memory, gpu and especially cpu than Android phones. On top of that, they have great access to Metal API, and they run using a more optimised and native code. So by all accounts, an iPhone XS Max should be running a Nintendo Wii emulator much much faster than the OnePlus 7 Pro.

            However, the opposite is true. There are A LOT of Android users, and the interest in emulators is high, especially in the lower-class/poorer people. Whereas in iOS there isn’t this demand, and its harder for these part-time enthusiasts to get into the iOS platform. For that reason, the Nintendo Wii emulator is actually quite good/playable now, and even the weaker-but-more-complicated PS2 emulator is okay/decent. On iOS, the Wii Emulator is barely functional and the PS2 emulator doesn’t even work.

            Windows still remains the most optimised platform for emulators. Hence why you can get a lot done on the Intel Core i7y – Intel Core M3, or even the Intel Atom Z8750. We’re talking upto Nintendo Switch emulation, but not PS3/Xbox 360/Xbox One/PS4.

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