Samsung unveiled today its latest mobile processor based on 7nm process technology with support for future phones that will feature demanding artificial intelligence (AI), video, and 5G capabilities. The Exynos 990 is complemented by an Arm Mali-G77 GPU based on the new Valhall architecture.
The new mobile processor is claimed to have a 20% performance boost compared to its predecessor, thanks to its tri-cluster CPU structure comprising two custom cores, two high-performance Cortex-A76 cores, and four Cortex-A55 cores. In addition, the Mali-G77 GPU is also said to feature up to a 20% improvement in graphic performance or power efficiency.
Of particular interest is Samsung's inclusion of a 120Hz refresh-rate capability in the processor, which could pave the way for future Galaxy devices with a higher display refresh rate. Existing phones built by the South Korean tech giant do not have this feature, which would otherwise make animations much smoother. Currently, only a few rival handsets from Chinese phone makers support a 120Hz display refresh rate such as ASUS' ROG Phone II and the Razer Phone 2.
On the AI aspect, the Exynos 990 includes a dual-core neural processing unit (NPU) and new digital signal processor capable of performing more than ten-trillion operations per second. The NPU, in particular, supports on-device AI process that Samsung says will boost smartphone security and efficiency.
To meet future 5G connectivity requirements, Samsung also introduced the 7nm-based 5G Exynos Modem 5123 with support for the sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrums, as well as 2G GSM/CDMA, 3G WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, HSPA, and 4G LTE networks. The processor's memory bandwidth also supports LPDDR5 data rates of up to 5,500 megabits per second. Samsung will kick off mass production of the Exynos 990 and Exynos Modem 5123 by the end of 2019.