Samsung has rescheduled the unveiling of its highly anticipated Exynos 2200 mobile processor. This new SoC is particularly interesting as it debuts AMD RDNA2 GPU technology for mobiles. Moreover, it could have been a showcase for Samsung's 4nm process technology. However, the delay is causing some speculation in the community. A well known and usually reliable smartphone leaker, Ice Universe asserts that Samsung pulled the Exynos 2200 launch due to out of control thermals. Samsung has sought to reassure industry watchers that there are no performance issues.
Let us wind-back the clock on this story to New Year, when we reported on Samsung's Twitter video tease about the unveiling of the Exynos 2200 series with AMD RDNA2 graphics scheduled for Jan 11. This would be the first fruit of the collaboration between AMD and Samsung, and the crossover would be interesting news for both PC and mobile enthusiasts. However, Samsung let the teased unveil date slip by without any mention of its new RDNA2 GPU infused Exynos.
It is easy to miss a no-show in such a busy period for tech, but well known smartphone leaker Ice Universe shared a juicy background story about the pulled unveiling / launch via his Weibo account.
We need to take these assertions with a pinch of salt, especially given Samsung's official response. Ice Universe says that the AMD RNDA2 GPU part of the Exynos SoC has a target clock speed of 1.9 GHz. However, in practice, due to thermal issues, it could only run at 1.29 GHz, in an acceptable manner. Various clocks between 1.29 GHz and 1.9 GHz were tested, goes the tale, but the lesser speed was the first with acceptable thermals. The actual temperatures are not revealed, instead we learn that all for speeds greater than 1.29 GHz, they are "hot".
Ice Universe has some further interesting info about what Samsung is trying now that it has hit that thermal throttling performance wall. According to Ice Universe's leak, Samsung is going to try and tweak things to get the GPU running acceptably at 1.49GHz "to restore some dignity". Success in this endeavor isn't guaranteed, of course.
The Business Korea news site has a quote from Samsung about the delay of the Exynos 2200 unveiling. "We are planning to unveil the new application processor at the time of launching a new Samsung smartphone," a Samsung Electronics official told Business Korea. "There are no problems with the AP's production and performance."
The consensus at this source is that Samsung will now launch the Exynos 2200 as part of a wider launch of the flagship Galaxy S22 series of devices. It is noted that last year's Galaxy S21 with Exynos 2100 suffered some overheating issues from the Arm Mali GPU section of the SoC. Samsung's official is quoted in Business Korea as saying specifically that "The new (AMD RDNA2) GPU is expected to resolve the problems of the Exynos 2100." Getting the Radeon GPU into its SoCs is seen as important by Samsung, to encourage the growth of mobile gaming.
Like the Samsung Galaxy S21 family, the Galaxy S22 will have a different SoC in different markets. Korea and Europe are expected to get the Exynos 2200 versions of these mobiles, with North America, China and India will seeing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-series SoC in their S22s. However, if the Ice Universe rumours are correct, and thermals are a real issue, Samsung could reserve the new Exynos 2200 for larger form factors like its Ultra phones and for tablets.
Samsung is expected to launch its new Galaxy S22 devices on February 8, so we don't have that long to wait for the latest Galaxy Unpacked (online) event. A new series of tablets, the Galaxy Tab S8 is expected to turn up at the show too, with three variants, topped by the super-sized Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.