The Samsung Exynos flagship chipsets have received a lot of criticism the past few years due to poor battery efficiency combined with benchmarks that don’t quite compete with the best Qualcomm have to offer

However, last year Samsung announced they were ditching their custom CPU cores, possibly due to the above issues, and will now be using reference designs from Arm similar to Hisilicon and Mediatek.

The Samsung Exynos 992 will be the first flagship chipset from Samsung to use the reference designs, and this will be the first chipset to use the just announced Arm Cortex-A78 and Mali G78 GPU built on the 5nm fabrication process.

This is effectively the chipset design we will see on most flagship devices in 2021, but it currently looks like Samsung may launch this chipset with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 later this year. If this is true, this puts Samsung at a considerable advantage over other companies.

At the moment the only information that has been leaked is that the final production of the SoC will commence in August. So getting that SoC inside the Note 20 for this year sounds a little optimistic.

Not much else is known about the chipset at the moment, Arm have only just announced the Cortex-A78 and the Mali G78 GPU.

With what we know so far the comparison are  a little poor, we can expect the next Mediatek flagship chipset to use the same rough design, while Qualcomm will use a customised version of the Cortex-A78 combined with the Andreno 660 (assuming the naming convention stays true).

Samsung Exynos 992 vs Exynos 990

The big thing here is that Samsung has shifted away from the two custom M5 performance cores and will now adopt reference designs from Arm.

How the layout the chip remains to be seen. Currently, the Exynos 990 uses:

  • 2x Exynos M5 (custom)
  • 2x Cortex-A76
  • 4x Cortex-A55
  • Mali-G77 MP11

So it could be that the Exynos 992 uses

  • 2x Cortex-A78
  • 2x Cortex-A77
  • 4x Cortex-A55
  • Mali-G78 MP?

Samsung Exynos 992 vs Snapdragon 865 vs Kirin 990 vs Mediatek Dimensity 1000

We know that Samsung will use the Cortex-A78 cores with a Mali-G78 but that’s it. This year we have seen quite a bit of difference between the companies, with Mediatek coming out with their first flagship in years with the Dimensity 1000, then Hisilicon falling a little behind using the Cortex-A76 cores for its chipsets.

With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 you have:

  • 1 x 2.84GHz Kryo 585 (Cortex A77)
  • 3 x 2.42GHz Kryo 585 (Cortex A77)
  • 4 x 1.80GHz Kryo 585 (Cortex A55)
  • Adreno 650 20% performance boost vs 640

Then Hisilicon Kirin 990 5G uses:

  • 2x Cortex A76 @2.86G
  • 2x Cortex A76 @2.36G
  • 4x Cortex A55 @1.95G
  • G76MP16 @ 700MHz

Finally the Mediatek Dimensity 1000 has:

  • 4x 2.6GHz (Cortex A77)
  • 4x 2GHz (Cortex A55)
  • Mali-G77 MP9

ARM’s Cortex-A78 CPU & Mali-G78 GPU Performance

Samsung Exynos 992 vs Exynos 990 vs Snapdragon 865 vs Kirin 990 vs Mediatek Dimensity 1000 – Samsung's first 5nm Arm Cortex-A78 chipset 2

All the above doesn’t mean much, it is just numbers and letters we don’t know for sure how well Arms new designs will perform in the real world

Similar to all launches there are lots of big claims. Arm has said the Cortex-A78 CPU core design is “unquestionably our most efficient Cortex-A CPU ever designed for mobile,”

ARM says that the performance should enable better efficiency for demanding 5G battery drains. It also says that the new CPU design should be particularly suited to computationally hungry foldable devices with multiple and larger screens.

The top-of-the-line Mali-G78 supports up to 24 cores, which ARM promises will allow it to offer a 25 percent increase in graphics performance compared to last year’s Mali-G77.

ARM is also introducing a new Ethos-N78 neural processing unit (NPU), promising up to 25 percent improved performance efficiency over the Ethos-N77

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