Samsung's Exynos 990 is an octa-core chip that can power 120Hz screens

What you need to know

  • Samsung unveiled its next-gen premium mobile processor at its Tech Day 2019 event.
  • The Exynos 990 is built on a 7nm EUV processor and has eight cores.
  • The new Exynos Modem 5123 it can be paired with will also enable download speeds of up to 5.1 Gbps on 5G networks.

Samsung's newest processor, which we'll likely see the Galaxy S11 sporting next year, is the Exynos 990. Built on a 7nm processor using extreme ultra-violet (EUV) lithography, the SoC combines two custom Exynos cores with two high-performing Cortex-A76 cores and four lower-power Cortex-A55 cores in a tri-cluster configuration. The entire package, Samsung claims, is 20% faster than the previous generation Exynos 9820.

In addition to the overall bump in performance, the Exynos 990 also boasts 20% faster GPU performance, thanks to the inclusion of the latest Mali-G77 GPU from ARM. There's also a dual-core NPU, because what's a mobile processor in 2019 if it doesn't have some AI chops?

The two features that will get people most excited about the chip — and what it means for the company's upcoming flagships — are the new Exynos Modem 5123 and the Exynos 990's new display driver. The former can be paired with the SoC to support "virtually all networks" and will enable downlink speeds of up to 5.1 and 7.35 Gbps for different 5G spectrums and up to 3.0 Gbps on 4G networks.

The display driver on the Exynos 990 leave's the Pixel 4's 90Hz 'Smooth Display' in the dust and can output up to 120 frames per second, should a future Samsung phone sport a screen that can take advantage of its extra processing power. Even more impressive, it can do so even on phones with multiple displays, like the company's Galaxy Fold.

The South Korean giant will begin mass-producing the octa-core monster by the end of the year, meaning we should start seeing Exynos 990-powered handsets by next year.

Muhammad Jarir Kanji