Samsung debuts flagship ‘Exynos 990’ processor, probably for the Galaxy S11


Hot on the heels of Huawei’s Kirin 990 flagchip launch a month ago, Samsung has announced their own next-gen Exynos processor with up to 20% better performance for use in next year’s Galaxy S11 series… also called the ‘990’.


Anticipating the launch of their next-gen flagship Galaxy S11 family of smartphones next year (or whatever they decide to call it), and not to feel outdone by Huawei’s already-launched Kirin 990 and 990 5G found in their Mate 30 series, Samsung has just unveiled their bid for the 2020 flagship processor game; the ‘990’… the Exynos 990 that is.

Exynos 990 Exynos 9820/9825 Kirin 990 / 5G Snapdragon 855+
CPU 2 x ~2.8Ghz Exynos M5
2 x ~2.3Ghz Cortex A76
4 x ~1.9Ghz Cortex A55
2 x 2.7Ghz Exynos M4
2 x 2.4Ghz Cortex A75
4 x 2Ghz Cortex A55
2 x 2.9Ghz Cortex A76
2 x 2.1Ghz (2.4Ghz 5G) Cortex A76
4 x 1.9Ghz (2Ghz 5G) Cortex A55
1 x 3Ghz Cortex A76
3 x 2.4Ghz Cortex A76
4 x 1.8Ghz Cortex A55
GPU ~700Mhz Mali G77 MP11 702Mhz Mali G76 MP12 600Mhz (700Mhz 5G) Mali G76 MP16 672Mhz Adreno 640
Memory 2750Mhz LPDDR5 2093Mhz LPDRR4X 4266Mhz LPDDR4X 2133Mhz LPDDR4X
ISP/Camera Single 108MP
Dual 24.8MP
Rear 22MP
Front 22MP
Dual 16MP
Single 48MP
Dual 20MP
Single 48MP
Dual 22MP
Neural Dual NPU + DSP >10 TOPs Dual NPU 1.86 TOPs Dual ‘Da Vinci’ Dual NPU 7 TOPs
Media 8k30/4k120 encode & decode
H.265/HEVC, H.264, VP9
8k30/4k150 encode & decode
H.265/HEVC, H.264, VP9
4k60 encode & decode
H.265/HEVC, H.264
10-bit 4k60 encode & decode
H.265/HEVC, H.264, VP9
Modem External Exynos Modem
LTE Category 24/22
3000 Mb/s down, 422 Mb/s up

5G NR Sub-6
5100 Mb/s down

5G NR mmWave
7350 Mb/s down

Integrated Exynos Modem

LTE Category 20/20
2000 Mb/s down, 316 Mb/s up

Integrated Kirin Modem

LTE Category 22/22
1600Mb/s down, 200Mb/s up

5G (990 5G)
2300Mb/s down, 1250 Mb/s up

Integrated Qualcomm Modem

LTE Category 20/20
2000Mb/s down, 316Mb/s up

Lithography Samsung 7nm EUV Samsung 8nm LPP / 7nm EUV (9825) TSMC 7nm EUV TSMC 7nm
Note that frequencies have not been disclosed and are merely guesses

Built on Samsung’s new 7nm EUV lithography, the same as Huawei’s aforementioned Kirin 990, the Exynos 990 should be significantly more efficient than the current flagchip Exynos 9820 built on Samsung’s 8nm LPP, which was a refined 10nm, especially when combined with claimed efficiency improvements in the core architecture.

To those cores themselves, though, and the Exynos 990 is sporting a tri-layer design with the classic staple Cortex A76 core we’ve seen in the all other flagchips so far, however it tops it with some sort of custom ‘Mongoose 5’ code which Samsung claims a 20% performance improvement over the M4 with, which was roughly equivalent to the same Cortex A76; my guess is that the M5 is a derivative of ARM‘s Cortex A77, since Samsung has said they’re ditching custom designs now, or at least roughly equivalent in performance.

And to the Exynos 990’s GPU, we’re seeing Samsung utilising ARM’s newest Mali G77 architecture, though with one fewer core than the Exynos 9820, which the company claims will provide a 20% boost to gaming and any other GPU-intensive tasks aided by the G77’s new ‘Valhalla’ design.

We’re also seeing Samsung claim an enormous 10TOPs of neural processing power in the Exynos 990, which should speed up certain features in the phone such as scene recognition and perhaps some pattern recognition algorithms.

Penultimately, Samsung has also hugely improved the memory subsystem with the Exynos 990 being perhaps the first mobile chipset to support LPDDR5 memory, which is unlikely to provide any noticeable performance benefit but is nevertheless a great new technology.

And finally, Samsung has confirmed that the Exynos 990 will support camera systems of up to the ridiculous 108MP size – an imaging sensor only Samsung themselves yet offers – which is to me essentially a confirmation that the Galaxy S11 will use that 1/1.33inch 108MP Samsung ISOCELL HMX image sensor.

There’s also the curious fact that the Exynos 990 doesn’t sport an integrated wireless modem unlike all other chipsets of the last few generations. Instead, Samsung is simultaneously launching the ‘Exynos 5123’ external 5G modem, which all Exynos 990 phones will use, with blazing fast theoretical speeds in both 4G LTE and 5G settings.

The Exynos 990 will likely be given a solid run for its money with the upcoming Snapdragon 865 tipped to support ARM’s latest core designs combined with Qualcomm’s own leading graphics technologies, but it is nonetheless an extremely powerful and feature-rich processor for the next generation of smartphones.

Source: Anandtech


Located in Melbourne, Australia, Oscar has been a tech enthusiast for a decade, though only finally getting his first smartphone with an HTC One M7, and moving to a OnePlus 2, OnePlus 3, and now an Essential Phone. Now studying astrophysics and linguistics, Oscar has become immersed in the evolving phone industry, with a great memory for specs and details, he is always looking to find the greatest value and most innovative phones.




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