Huawei was the first to roll out its 2019 chipset, with the Chinese manufacturer announcing the 7nm Kirin 980 last month. With the 980, HiSilicon (Huawei's semiconductor division) doubled down on AI processing, introducing a dual NPU that enables a host of new features on the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.
Samsung is now announcing its own flagship chipset for 2019, the Exynos 9820. The 9820 builds on the strengths of this year's 9810 — which powered the global variants of the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 — by introducing a fourth-gen CPU and an LTE modem that can hit up to 2Gbps with 8x carrier aggregation.
The highlight with the Exynos 9820 is a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) that will allow Samsung to offer a range of AI features on the Galaxy S10. The chipset also enables 4K video recording at 150fps and 10-bit colors, as well as the ability to shoot 8K video at 30fps. It also supports up to 4K UHD (4096x2160) and WQUXGA (3840x2400) displays, as well as UFS 3.0 and UFS 2.1 storage formats and LPDDR4x memory.
Samsung says that the dedicated NPU leads to a 7x increase in the performance of AI-related tasks, with the platform facilitating on-device AI features like real-time scene detection when using the camera. Huawei has relied on its own NPU to offer a similar "Master AI" feature on its flagships for some time now, and it's likely we'll see Samsung do the same next year with the Galaxy S10.
Samsung is touting a 20% increase in single-core performance or 40% higher efficiency, and a 15% uptick in multi-core performance from the Exynos 9810. The custom cores are joined by two high-performance Cortex A76 cores and four Cortex A55 cores that will kick in for energy-efficient tasks. The Exynos 9820 has the latest Mali-G76 GPU, which delivers a 40% performance boost from the Mali-G72 on the 9810.
As is to be expected, Samsung is heavily advertising the AI capabilities of the Exynos 9820 platform, with vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics Ben Hur noting that it will provide a "new dimension of performance:"
As AI-related services expand and their utilization diversify in mobile devices, their processors require higher computational capabilities and efficiency. The AI capabilities in the Exynos 9 Series 9820 will provide a new dimension of performance in smart devices through an integrated NPU, high-performance fourth-generation custom CPU core, 2.0Gbps LTE modem and improved multimedia performance.
Like previous years, we'll likely see the Exynos 9820 make its debut in next year's Galaxy S10.
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