Extra RDNA Exynos Chips to Come

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In a joint press launch launched this night, AMD and Samsung have introduced that the 2 corporations are renewing their GPU structure licensing settlement for Samsung’s Exynos SoCs. The newest multi-year deal between AMD and Samsung will see Samsung persevering with to license AMD’s Radeon graphics architectures to be used within the firm’s Arm-based Exynos SoCs, with the 2 corporations committing to work collectively over “a number of generations” of GPU IP.

The extension of the licensing settlement comes simply shy of 4 years after Samsung and AMD announced their initial licensing agreement in June of 2019. The then-groundbreaking settlement would see Samsung license Radeon GPU IP to be used of their flagship Exynos SoCs in an effort to get a leap on the cell SoC market, tapping AMD’s superior Radeon graphics IP to get entry to newer options and extra environment friendly designs before Samsung in any other case may need with their very own inside efforts.

That preliminary licensing settlement got here to fruition with what’s (to date) a single product: the Exynos 2200, and its RDNA2-based Xclipse 920 built-in GPU. The change to AMD’s GPU designs allowed Samsung to ship cutting-edge, PC-level options similar to {hardware} ray tracing and variable charge shading (VRS) in its Galaxy S22 telephones, a number of months earlier than its competitors.

Sadly, the Exynos 2200 as an entire was a poorly received SoC. There are quite a few causes for this (greater than we are able to get in to in a easy information piece), however above all else, Samsung’s 5nm-class lithography processes have confirmed to be a multitude, with Samsung experiencing yield points, and dealing chips underperforming chips primarily based on rival TSMC’s 5nm-class nodes. The fab points alone had been unhealthy sufficient to trigger Qualcomm to leap ship from Samsung to TSMC mid-generation with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and for his or her newest technology Galaxy S23 telephones, Samsung didn’t even trouble to ship an Exynos variant.

However whereas Samsung is basically taking a spot yr on the high-end SoC entrance proper now, they’ve beforehand made it clear that they might proceed producing Exynos SoCs, and thus, they’re nonetheless out there for licensing GPU IP. Which brings us again to right now’s extension of Samsung’s licensing settlement with AMD. For no matter issues Samsung had with the Exynos 2200, this extension signifies that Samsung is remaining dedicated to utilizing AMD’s GPU structure over the longer haul – so the Xclipse 920 is not going to be a one-off product.

The extension announcement from the 2 corporations doesn’t include a lot in the best way of public particulars; AMD shall be licensing Samsung “a number of generations” of Radeon GPU IP, and Samsung in flip shall be utilizing that IP in an “expanded portfolio of Samsung Exynos SoCs”. No particular architectures or timelines are talked about, and even what number of SoCs Samsung could also be taking a look at. Even 1 new Exynos SoC utilizing AMD’s GPU IP can be an expanded portfolio, so the announcement on the entire could be very generic in that regard.

Taking a look at AMD’s GPU structure roadmap, the corporate has at present plotted out GPU architectures by the top of 2024, with the forthcoming RDNA 4 architecture. Given AMD’s typical two-year cadence, that’s an structure we’d count on in desktop merchandise in late 2024. So if Samsung is taking a look at releasing a brand new AMD-powered SoC within the subsequent 18 months, it’s way more doubtless we’d see one thing primarily based on the present RDNA 3 structure, utilized in AMD’s newest cell SoCs and Navi 3x GPUs. In any other case, something farther out than 18 months can be an excellent candidate for RDNA 4, which for the second, we all know little or no about.

In the meantime, as this newest deal is an extension of Samsung and AMD’s preliminary settlement from 2019, this strongly applies that the product restrictions from the preliminary settlement stay in place. In that settlement, Samsung was prohibited from utilizing AMD’s GPU IP to compete with AMD, limiting Samsung’s use of the IP to SoCs for smartphones and tablets. Bigger and extra highly effective gadgets, similar to laptops, had been off the desk. The Home windows on Arm market continues to be nascent at finest, but when this restriction continues to be in place, meaning we received’t be seeing Samsung take part utilizing any of their AMD-derived designs.

An equally necessary query for the partnership going ahead is whether or not Samsung and AMD are going to keep up their collaborative design method, or if Samsung is reverting to a extra conventional licensing mannequin. One of the vital noteworthy facets of the unique settlement was that Samsung and AMD had been working collectively to design the Xclipse GPU utilized in Samsung’s SoCs. 4 years and 1 product later, it’s laborious to inform from the surface how effectively this has actually labored out for each events. However in idea, the entire advantages from collaboration nonetheless stand – so it will not be stunning to seek out out that each events are persevering with with that method.

Lastly, this announcement is the newest piece of proof that AMD is comfortable to proceed with their GPU IP licensing enterprise. Between their semi-custom sport console offers and the Samsung deal, AMD’s GPU architectures have ended up way more extensively used than their PC market share numbers alone would point out. And whereas designing and refining GPU IP for different chipmakers does include some alternative price trade-offs, it additionally comes with a assured income stream for the corporate that they’re comfortable to take.

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