Samsung unveils first smartphone chip with ray-tracing graphics

The world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung, has unveiled the first smartphone chip to feature ray-tracing graphics.

After announcing a licencing agreement with AMD in 2019 and confirming last year that its next flagship mobile chip would boast AMD’s RDNA architecture, the South Korean tech giant announced the Exynos 2200 on Tuesday.

Built on a 4nm manufacturing process, the chip’s CPU boasts one high-end Cortex X2 and three Cortex A710 cores for performance, as well as four Cortex A510 cores for power efficiency.

For graphics, it packs an Xclipse 920 GPU based on AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics technology, the same used in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S gaming consoles.

Samsung said the GPU was a “one-of-a-kind hybrid graphic processor”, positioned between the console and the mobile graphics processor.

In addition to hardware-accelerated ray-tracing, the Xclipse 920 supports variable-rate shading (VRS).

Ray-tracing simulates how light physically behaves in the real world to create more realistic lighting effects in games. It has become one of the most-punted features for next-generation graphics cards.

Variable-rate shading allows developers to optimise GPU workload to apply lower shading in areas where overall quality will not be affected, boosting overall performance.

The Exynos 2200 also offers substantial improvements in 5G connectivity, image capturing capabilities, and on-device artificial intelligence compared to the Exynos 2100.

The chip’s 3GPP Release 16 5G modem supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrum bands.

It can also use LTE and 5G NR signals simultaneously, allowing it to reach speeds of up to 10Gbps.

For photography, the image signal processor architecture now supports a camera resolution of up to 200MP in single camera mode.

At 30fps, the ISP supports up to 108 MP in single camera mode and 64+36 MP in dual camera mode.

Samsung said it could also connect up to seven individual image sensors and drive four concurrently for advanced multi-camera setups.

Furthermore, the upgraded Neural Processing Unit (NPU) is promising double the performance of its predecessor.

“This allows more calculations to be made in parallel, enhancing the overall AI-related performance,” Samsung said.

The Exynos 2200 is currently in mass production and is expected to be available first in Samsung Galaxy S22 models sold outside of South Korea and the US, including South Africa.

Those regions often get the Snapdragon-based variant of Samsung’s flagships.

Samsung is set to unveil the Galaxy S22 during a Galaxy Unpacked event on 8 February.

Now read: Samsung Galaxy S22 launch prices leaked — more expensive than iPhone 13

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Samsung unveils first smartphone chip with ray-tracing graphics