Samsung left everyone hanging last week when it decided not to announce the new Exynos 2200 chip as planned. Instead, it offered a belated statement that it had to delay the event for business reasons. Now, the Exynos 2200 is official with the promised AMD RDNA 2-based GPU, making it the first mobile chip with support for ray tracing at the hardware level.
AMD and Samsung announced this collaboration back in 2019, and AMD confirmed in 2021 that Samsung’s next flagship system-on-a-chip (SoC) would have RDNA 2. It looked last week as if Samsung might push back the Exynos 2200, leaving everyone to get by with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Exynos chips have lagged behind the competition in recent years, so Galaxy S22 owners might have preferred that.
Still, the Exynos 2200 seems to have everything going for it on paper. It has eight CPU cores, all ARM reference designs, including a Cortex X2 at the high-end, three more fast Cortex A710 cores, and four efficient Cortex A510 cores. This triple-island CPU arrangement is increasingly common in flagship parts. For example, Qualcomm has an X-2 based “Prime Core” in the Gen 1, and Google uses two Cortex X1 cores. Samsung also has an upgraded NPU with double the AI performance of the previous version, and the image signal processor can now handle sensors as large as 200 megapixels.
Samsung has named its new GPU core “Xclipse,” which I don’t love. By the sound of it, we’re going to be seeing this name for a long time. AMD VP David Wang says the Exynos 2200 is just the first of several planned chips with RDNA 2 graphics technology. We don’t have details about the performance of the new GPU — not even the vague ‘X percent better’ claims we usually see in these announcements. That could be thanks to the rushed announcement, but perhaps RDNA 2 has proven more challenging to shrink than expected. Previous rumors did point to heat issues with the chip.
All the unknowns will be revealed soon. With the Exynos 220 official, we can expect it to be in the international version of the Galaxy S22. With the Snapdragon version of this phone is identical in most ways, this will make it easy to see how the new GPU performs versus the latest Adreno GPU in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Interestingly, Adreno is based on similar GPU technology that was also licensed from AMD — “Adreno” is even an anagram of “Radeon.” Adreno has outgrown its roots, becoming one of the benchmarks for mobile gaming after Qualcomm bought AMD’s mobile graphics team in 2009. While RNDA 2 flaunts next-gen features like ray tracing, you won’t find a lot of that in mobile games just yet.