Mobile World Congress is just around the corner, which means news about new mobile processors and modems is flying fast and thick. The latest announcement is from Samsung, which today unveiled its latest flagship Exynos chip for high-end smartphones. The Exynos 9 8895 combines eight CPU cores with an ARM Mali-G71 GPU and a Samsung-designed gigabit LTE modem. The chip is manufactured on Samsung’s new 10nm process, which according to Samsung allows for performance increases up to 27 percent while using up to 40 percent less power compared to its 14nm process.
The CPU uses four “big” cores and four “little” ones; the small cores are based on ARM’s tried-and-true Cortex A53 CPU architecture, the go-to choice for low-power 64-bit cores. The large cores are based on Samsung’s “second-generation custom CPU core,” called the Samsung M2. Samsung has said very little about it, aside from the fact that it’s a 64-bit ARMv8 core and that it was “designed from scratch.”
As for the GPU, ARM detailed the Mali-G71 last year, and it’s a major update. It uses ARM’s new “Bifrost” GPU architecture, which fully supports the Vulkan graphics API as well as OpenGL ES and OpenCL. The existing “Midgard” architecture used in the last few generations of ARM GPUs already did that, so what’s more significant is its support for HSA, which allows the CPU and GPU to access the same data in system memory at the same time. This eliminates quite a bit of overhead, since that data won’t need to be shuffled back and forth between separate “pools” of memory used by the CPU and GPU.