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Samsung’s Exynos 980 puts 5G directly on the chip

Posted: 5 September 2019 6:48 am

Samsung Exynos 980

Integrating the 5G modem on the chip should lead to better performance and cheaper 5G, but you won't see it in phones until next year.

Samsung has only just launched its third 5G enabled handset in the form of the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, following up on the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Those are phones that cover a reasonable spectrum of pricing, while still keeping 5G as a mostly premium play, but the Korean giant's newest processor could well land in much more affordable devices without too much 5G speed compromise.

The Exynos 980 is Samsung's first mobile processor with the 5G modem built directly into the processor silicon itself. Samsung's pitch is that it will enable up to 2.55 gigabits downstream on sub-6Ghz 5G networks. Being directly on the silicon itself lowers the power consumption of 5G overall, and it also may enable other functions to be built into a device, simply because Samsung doesn't have to give additional space for a distinct 5G modem outside the processor.

While it's a step forward in 5G integration for Samsung, there is also a small step backwards in processor specifications elsewhere. It runs on a cluster of Cortex-A77 and Cortex-A55 processors, with speeds of 2.2GHz and 1.8GHz respectively. Comparatively, the Exynos 9820 that you'd find in a Samsung Galaxy Note10 can kick its frequency up as high as 2.73Ghz. That suggests that we might see it appear in more mid-range 5G devices.

It's expected that Huawei will also announce its own integrated 5G chipset at IFA 2019, so Samsung is in some respects jumping ahead of its competitor, but you won't be able to buy Eyxnos 980 devices until at least the end of the year, if then.

Samsung states that it expects to commence mass production of the Exynos 980 by the end of 2019, which means we should see the first devices using it in early 2020.

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