Samsung’s Exynos 2100 uses the same ARM core design as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, but there are differences in clock speed and graphics to consider.
Samsung recently announced its Exynos 2100 chip, one of an elite group of mobile processors that are manufactured with a 5-nanometer process. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 and Apple’s A14 are created with a similarly dense design, but these companies rely on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) for production. In contrast, Samsung designs and manufactures its Exynos chips.
Samsung began manufacturing semiconductors in the 1970s and has continued to expand and refine its process over the decades. While TSMC is currently a favored manufacturer of mobile processors and the current choice of Qualcomm, Samsung’s foundry division is a strong rival and has produced processors for Qualcomm in the past. In addition to designing and manufacturing the systems-on-a-chip (SoC) that’s used in the international versions of its smartphones, Samsung’s foundry produces very popular and advanced memory chips used for both temporary (RAM) and long-term storage (SSD). It also manufactures chips that power a variety of electronics for many other companies.
Samsung’s recently announced Exynos 2100 is based on ARM architecture and uses a 5-nanometer process, just like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888. The two SoCs are quite similar, making a comparison all the more interesting. The Exynos features one ARM Cortex X1 high-performance core, three A78 performance-cores and four power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores. Samsung said the top clock speed is 2.9-gigahertz. The Snapdragon 888 uses the same combination of ARM cores but the clock speed is 2.84-gigahertz, resulting in a very close match. Qualcomm claims a 35-percent improvement in graphics performance, while Samsung claims a 40-percent improvement over its previous generation. Both state neural processing speed of 26-trillion-operations-per-second, but Samsung says it can process four concurrent images while Qualcomm handles three images. The Exynos 2100 and the Snapdragon 888 each have integrated 5G modems and support both mmWave and Sub-6-gigahertz bands.
Benchmarks & Hands-On Leaks
Benchmarks and real-world tests of the Samsung Galaxy S21 will reveal which chip design best suits various purposes, although it is quite likely the results will be similar. However, there have been some leaks, including listings on Geekbench, that suggest the Exynos 2100 will surpass Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, at least on CPU benchmark performance. The tests revealed the Exynos 2100 may have slightly better scores than those that Qualcomm published, but the Exynos devices used were pre-release versions, so these figures may change.
The speed and efficiency benefits of the tightly packed components might be roughly equivalent between the two chips, so it comes down to design decisions. As is often the case, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 is expected to include the Snapdragon 888 for the US market and the Exynos 2100 for international markets. This would allow a direct comparison on the same type of smartphone between the chip that Samsung designed and manufactured and the chip designed by Qualcomm and produced by TSMC.
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