Samsung starts production of new 10-nm Exynos 9 Series chip

The octa-core processor is designed for phones, VR handsets and automotive infotainment applications

Samsung unveiled Thursday a new octa-core application processor that combines a custom CPU with a gigabit LTE modem and a separate processing unit for security applications, leading to speculation that it could be designed into the new flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone that the company is expected to launch soon.

The Exynos 9 Series 8895 is already in mass production and Samsung expects the chip to be designed into smartphones, VR headsets, and automotive infotainment systems.

The new processor chipset is the first from Samsung to use the 10-nanometer FinFET process technology that delivers up to 27 percent higher performance while consuming 40 percent less power when compared to earlier 14-nm technology, the company said.

The octa-core processor combines four second-generation custom designed main CPU cores from Samsung with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores. It uses Samsung Coherent Interconnect (SCI) technology for cache coherency to deliver a heterogeneous system architecture that enables faster calculations for applications such as artificial intelligence and deep learning, Samsung said.

For graphics, the Exynos 8895 uses ARM’s Mali-G71 GPU. The chip's multi-format codec (MFC) also supports recording and playback of video content at a maximum resolution of 4K UHD at 120 frames-per-second with support for the latest video codecs, including the HEVC (H.265), H.264 and VP9 video compression standards.

The new chip also has a separate processing unit geared for mobile payment and related security applications that use iris or fingerprint recognition, besides a Vision Processing Unit (VPU) for machine vision that could lead to the design of devices with corner detection features used in motion detection, image registration, video tracking and object recognition.

On the communications side, the gigabit LTE modem supports five carrier aggregation, or 5CA, with the promise of up to 1Gbps downlink with 5CA and 150 Mbps uplink using two-carrier aggregation. Carrier aggregation permits higher data download speeds by the combination of spectrum across multiple, separate spectrum bands.

Samsung did not comment on whether the processor would go into its upcoming top-end phones, including the Galaxy S8, though some of the features of the chip could give a clue as to what new capabilities the phone may have. Samsung had teased last week the arrival of the #TheNextExynos, offering users the opportunity to discover "cloud 9 with Exynos.”

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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