Samsung Exynos 9820: all the details on the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 chip

Samsung just unveiled the brains behind the Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 Exynos

The next-generation Samsung system-on-a-chip is finally ready for its close-up, Mr. DeMille. The Seoul-based company has revealed a warts-and-all look at its new silicon, dubbed Exynos 9820, which powers the Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10 Plus, and is likely to be the brains inside the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 10, too.

The Samsung-designed Exynos 9820 doesn't fuel its flagship handsets in all markets worldwide, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 making an appearance in select countries like the United States, Canada and China – to name a few.

First off, the Exynos 9820 boasts an improved Neural Processing Unit (NPU) that handles on-device Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes, as well as an improved LTE modem capable of downlink speeds of up to 2.0 Gbps.

Exynos 9820 is the first Samsung system-on-chip that sports a dedicated AI chip, following closely in the footsteps of Huawei’s Kirin 980 and Apple’s A12 Bionic.

Separating the AI functionality from the main CPU should speed-up a whole slew of everyday smartphone tasks, like opening applications, playing resource-intensive video games, and taking photographs and videos. 

According to Samsung, single-core performance is 20% improved than the previous generation Exynos chipset. Meanwhile, power efficiency is 40% improved, which should significantly boost battery life in any handsets powered by the Exynos 9820.

Like its predecessor, the next-generation Exynos boasts a security chip tasked with storing and managing personal and biometric data, including facial maps and fingerprint scans, in an isolated portion of the system. This should reduce the risk of attacks from cybercriminals.

“As AI-related services expand and their utilisation diversify in mobile devices, their processors require higher computational capabilities and efficiency,” said Ben Hur, Vice President of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics.

“The AI capabilities in the Exynos 9 Series 9820 will provide a new dimension of performance in smart devices through an integrated NPU, high-performance fourth-generation custom CPU core, 2.0Gbps LTE modem, and improved multimedia performance.”

Samsung is leveraging its NPU to improve images and videos shot on smartphones powered by the Exynos 9820. The dedicated coprocessor will uplift results in a similar manner to the Pixel Visual Core in the latest Google Pixel handsets.

According to Samsung, the Exynos 9820’s advanced image signal processor (ISP) supports up to five sensors – hinting at its ambitions to include a slew of camera lens into its upcoming smartphones and tablets. The improved silicon will also improve the speed of the autofocus

When it comes to video capture, the Exynos 9820 is capable of something truly special. The new chipset supports encoding and decoding of 8K videos at 30fps.

Samsung Exynos 9820 entered mass production at the tail-end of 2018.