What’s different about Samsung’s new Exynos 2100 chips

With the Exynos 2100 Samsung is trying to make up the performance gap with SoCs produced by Qualcomm in a very simple way: by choosing the same architecture.

Samsung chose CES 2021 to present Exynos 2100, the new SoC destined to equip its next top of the range smartphones, such as those of the Galaxy S21 family. Born to challenge the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, in fact it resembles him quite a lot: from this year, in fact, the differences in architecture between the chips developed in house by Samsung and those of Qualcomm (used by Samsung on the American market) is thinned a lot.

Unlike in the past, when Samsung designed Exynos processors in house, with the 2100 it has preferred a simpler and definitely standard way: Exynos 2100 is in fact a System on Chip inside which we find the cores designed by ARM, exactly as it happens already on Qualcomm and Mediatek processors. Also for this reason the processors are now all very similar, even in performance. Mediatek, following this path, has reduced a lot the performance gap between its SoC and Qualcomm's ones and the same is going to happen with Samsung Exynos, that historically have been good processors, but not at the level of Snapdragon.

Samsung Exynos 2100: how it is made

For the reasons just described the new Samsung Exynos 2100 SoC looks like a re-branded Qualcomm Snapdragon: same cores, almost the same frequencies, almost identical capabilities. Both are produced with 5nm process, and have eight cores: one ARM Cortex X1 CPU (at 2.9 GHz on the Exynos, at 2.84 GHz on the Snapdragon), 3 ARM Cortex A78 CPUs (2.8 GHz vs. 2.4 GHz) and 4 ARM Cortex A55 CPUs (2.2 GHz vs. 1.8 GHz). On paper, then, the Exynos 2100 is slightly more powerful than the Snapdragon 888, but it consumes more.

The only real difference between the two SoCs is in the integrated GPU: Exynos comes with ARM Mali G78 MP14, while Snapdragon uses the Adreno 660 developed in-house by Qualcomm. Both solutions can handle cameras with a maximum resolution of 200 MP and the 5G network, both the Sug-6GHz and the faster mmWave.

What can Exynos 2100 do

Reading the cards, then, we can expect from the Exynos 2100 performance comparable to that of the Snapdragon 888, to which so much resembles. On the one hand this is good news, because it will allow those who buy a Samsung smartphone in Europe to enjoy equivalent performance to those who buy it in the USA. On the other hand it marks a flattening of Samsung, which gives up developing its SoCs in house, relying almost entirely on standard ARM solutions.

The truth about how fast Exynos 2100 is in real applications we will know in a few days: a few hours after the arrival on the market of the Samsung Galaxy S21, equipped with the Exynos 2100, the Web will be full of benchmarks and Samsung fans enthusiastic, or disappointed.