Is Snapdragon 450 better than Exynos 7870

The big Samsung Exynos chipset special

All the details about the SoCs in the Samsung mobile devices

Samsung has also been successfully cooking its own chipset soup for several years. It all started longer than you might think. The first SoC from the current smartphone market leader came onto the market as early as 2000. It was the S3C44B0 with now antiquated technology, such as a 66 megahertz clocked ARM7 single core processor based on CMOS. In the United States, this platform was used in the very popular "Danger Hiptop" smartphone in 2002, among other things. The company achieved another important highlight in 2009, because the Apple iPhone 3GS was powered by the Samsung S5PC100. In the following we show the development of the Samsung SoCs from earlier to today.

The hour of birth of the Exynos model range

The year 2010 should hold some important milestones in store for the group. With the first Galaxy S, the South Koreans not only sent a competitor for the iPhone into the race, but also equipped it with its own chipset. The cryptic model name consisting of numbers and letters has also been replaced by the sonorous name Exynos. The first product of this era was the Exynos 3310. Although Samsung used SoCs from its competitor Qualcomm in Europe for a time, since the introduction of the smartphone models around the Galaxy S6, its own processors have again been preferred. With the Galaxy S7 and its Exynos 8890, Mongoose cores (M1) specially developed by Samsung were used for the first time.


Rather out of a nostalgic background, we are listing this SoC from the year 2000 in the history, after all, it was Samsung's debut mobile platform. Manufactured in 0.25 µm, a CMOS chip was used as the basis. The clock rate of the ARM7 CPU was only 66 megahertz. The display was calculated by an LCD controller. At this point in time, storage technologies optimized for mobile devices were out of the question, which is why either FP, EDO or SD RAM did their job. Users of the Juice Box media player or the Danger Hiptop smartphone had to do without a UMTS or even LTE connection. There was only an infrared interface.

Exynos 4412

This model was launched in 2012 as Samsung's first LTE-capable chipset. The quad-core SoC is manufactured in a 32 nanometer process and is based on the Cortex-A9 architecture. The ARM-GPU Mali-400 MP4 is installed as the graphics chip, which already had a rather mediocre performance at that time. The main memory can be connected via LPDDR, LPDDR2 or the DDR2 and DDR3 standards more familiar from desktop computers. The 64-bit SoC has four cores with a maximum clock frequency of 1.5 gigahertz. 4G radio data transmission is implemented in accordance with Category 3, which means up to 100 Mbit / s in the download and a maximum of 50 Mbit / s in the upload. WLAN fans have to be content with 802.11n.

Exynos 5410

This SoC was ready for the market in the second half of 2013 and brought some improvements. A finer manufacturing process (28 nm) and ARM's big.LITTLE process are mentioned here. The latter makes it possible to link two clusters of different architectures. In the case of the Exynos 5410, these are four cores based on Cortex-A15 and four additional processing units based on Cortex-A7. The first cluster clocks at 1.6 gigahertz and handles more demanding work, while the second cluster (1.2 gigahertz) relieves the battery in less demanding areas of application. The graphics chip PowerVR SGX544 MP3 comes from Imagination Technologies, the main memory is connected via LPDDR3. The possibility of connecting a home network using WLAN-ac increases data throughput. However, there is no change in the LTE standard used.

Exynos 5422

More brings more - that could have been Samsung's philosophy when introducing this chipset in the second quarter of 2014. The Exynos 5422 broke the 2 gigahertz mark for Samsung SoCs for the first time. Once again, the electronics giant relies on a mix of Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 cores. The first quad-core cluster lifts 2.1 gigahertz, while the second can lift a maximum of 1.5 gigahertz. For the graphics unit, Samsung used ARM and its Mali-T628 MP6. The SoC is making double progress in terms of the 4G network, as both LTE category 4 (150 Mbit / s download / 50 Mbit / s upload) and VoLTE are supported. With regard to the Wi-Fi connection, the 802.11ac standard is still modern.

Exynos 5430

In autumn 2014, Samsung came up with a small flagship, the Galaxy Alpha. This compact smartphone was based on the Exynos 5430 and thus on the manufacturer's first Cat.6-capable SoC. The modem of this chipset can reach up to 300 Mbit / s in the download and a maximum of 50 Mbit / s in the upload. Otherwise little had changed compared to the Exynos 5422. The clock rates of the two clusters have been changed to 1.8 GHz (Cortex-A15) and 1.3 GHz (Cortex-A7). The Mali-T628 MP6 graphics chip was adopted unchanged, which also applies to the WLAN-ac interface. The Exynos 5430 can also make calls over the 4G network (VoLTE).

Exynos 5433

This was the first Exynos platform with the ARMv8 instruction set, which replaced ARMv7 in the product line. The Exynos 5433 appeared at the end of 2014 and also heralded a new era in the manufacturing process. The SoC is implemented in the 20 nanometer process and new ARM architectures ensure more efficient calculations. A quad-core combination based on Cortex-A57 provides a clock rate of up to 1.9 GHz and another based on Cortex-A53 provides 1.3 GHz. With the Mali-T760 MP6, gamers and people for whom high-resolution video material is important also have an appropriate solution at hand. VoLTE and LTE Cat. 6 are evidence of modern 4G interfaces.

Exynos 7420

For a long time, Samsung wavered between the chipsets used in its smartphones, between its own products and the Snapdragon processors, which often led to confusion. However, the Exynos 7420 finally established the South Korean production in the Galaxy flagships. This chipset was first used in the Galaxy S6 in the second quarter of 2015. A fine manufacturing process of 14 nanometers and high clock rates of 2.1 GHz (Cortex-A57) and 1.5 GHz (Cortex-A53) ensured enough performance. The memory interface a lot with LPDDR4 looking modern. Another major innovation was the supported LTE standard. Thanks to LTE category 9, the modem can handle bandwidths of up to 450 Mbit / s in the download. On the other hand, little had changed with the graphics chip; the Mali-T760 now has more cores with MP8 instead of MP6.

Exynos 7570

Samsung presented a new entry-level SoC in August 2016. This was used, among other things, in the 2016 Galaxy J5 Prime. The quad-core chipset was based on the Cortex-A53 architecture, the four cores clock with a maximum of 1.4 gigahertz. The use in the budget segment also became clear from the built-in GPU, because the Mali-T830 only had limited reserves for demanding games and high-quality video streaming. The built-in modem was able to handle up to 150 Mbit / s in the download and a maximum of 50 Mbit / s in the upload in accordance with LTE category 4. With the other wireless interfaces, it was rather lean food, which is also demonstrated by the WLAN in 802.11 n format.

Exynos 7650

The hexa-core that nobody wants? In the first quarter of 2016, Samsung released this six-core, but the chip was not found in any known end device. The key data were initially good, especially because of the two Cortex-A72 cores with 1.7 gigahertz. Four further cores with 1.3 GHz (Cortex-A53) can also be found. The Mali-T860 MP3 was used as the graphics chip. On the other hand, the manufacturing process (28 nanometers), the memory connection (LPDDR3) and the mobile broadband internet (LTE Cat. 6) were less up-to-date. Samsung's first hexa-core SoC may have been reviled for this reason. Unfortunately, there is also nothing to be read about VoLTE support.

Exynos 7 octa 7880

In early 2017, Samsung introduced its Exynos 7880 SoC as the successor to the 2016 model 7870. This chipset can be found, for example, in the Samsung mid-range smartphones Galaxy A5 (2017). The manufacturing process of 14 nanometers as well as the number of cores and the CPU architecture remained unchanged. Eight Cortex-A53 cores are also used in this chip, but the clock rate has been increased to 1.9 gigahertz. The manufacturer of the GPU Mali-T830, which now has three graphics cores, also donated more performance. The connectivity of this midrange substructure is okay, for example LTE-Advanced does not have to be dispensed with. The built-in modem handles bandwidths of up to 300 Mbit / s in the download (Cat. 7 with 3x CA) and a maximum of 150 Mbit / s in the upload. Bluetooth is also not up to date with version 4.2. At least Samsung has improved the memory connection and replaced the outdated LPDDR3 interface with LPDDR4.

Exynos 8890

The next evolutionary stage of Samsung's processor forge relied on completely proprietary cores in spring 2016. The manufacturer calls this Exynos M1, code name Mongoose. It is again an octa-core chip, but this time it mixes Samsung's own cores with ARM's Cortex-A53 units. The first quad-core cluster (M1) clocks with up to 2.6 gigahertz, the second cluster (A53), however, with a maximum of 1.6 gigahertz. The other technologies are also impressive, such as the rapid GPU Mali-T880 MP12 and the new broadband standard LTE Cat. 12. The latter allows - provided the network operator and the tariff cooperate - up to 600 Mbit / s in the download and a peak value of 150 Mbit / s in the upload.

Exynos 8895

The SoC upper-class model from Samsung's semiconductor manufacturer of 2017. The chipset drives the smartphone duo Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, as well as the phablet Galaxy Note 8. With the Exynos 8895, the South Korean manufacturer has reached a milestone, because for the first time there is LTE Cat. 16 through a Samsung modem. The chip is therefore Gigabit LTE capable (maximum 1 Gbit / s in the download), in the upload the radio module still brings it to 150 Mbit / s. With the help of FD-MIMO and LAA, further modern mobile radio technologies were implemented. In terms of CPU performance, the SoC is also not naked, the four specially created Exynos M3 cores clock with up to 2.3 GHz. The second quad-core combination based on Cortex-A53, which has a maximum clock rate of 1.6 GHz, steps in for less demanding tasks. Mobile gamers should also like the fast Mali-G72 MP20 GPU.

Exynos 7 hexa 7872

A rather seldom chosen core equipment is the hexa-core basis, which is composed of two fast and four energy-saving computing units. The Samsung SoC Exynos 7872 from the first quarter of 2018 consists of just such a configuration. The chipset designed for cheaper mid-range mobile devices comes with two cores of the Cortex-A73 type and two more of the Cortex-A53 type. The dual-core cluster clocks at up to 2 gigahertz, while the quad-core team reaches a maximum of 1.6 gigahertz. The GPU Mali-G71 is not intended for complex graphics calculations, especially in the version selected here with only one graphics core (MP1). On the other hand, the LTE modem in the Exynos 7 Hexa 7872 is properly equipped. According to 4G category 7, up to 300 Mbit / s in the download and 150 Mbit / s in the upload are possible. However, dual-band WLAN is not available, there is only 802.11n. The Bluetooth module of the SoC, which is manufactured in 14 nanometers, is based on the 4.2 standard.

Exynos 7 octa 7885

Since Samsung decided in 2018 to increasingly offer its chipsets to other OEM manufacturers, the expansion of the SoC mid-range is understandable. The Exynos 7 Octa 7785 is supposed to power upper middle class smartphones. Like its little brother Exynos 7 Hexa 7872, the platform comes in a 14 nanometer process. The clock rate of the dual-core cluster has been tweaked slightly, the two Cortex-A73 units now work with a maximum of 2.2 gigahertz. Furthermore, two additional Cortex-A53 cores were added. The clock rate of the second cluster, which now consists of six cores, has not changed, it remains at the top at 1.6 gigahertz. A graphics core has been added to the GPU Mali-G71, but this should hardly change the poor performance. The faster LTE modem seems more exciting. Up to 600 Mbit / s when receiving and a maximum of 150 Mbit / s when sending data are feasible with the radio module. WLAN ac and Bluetooth 5.0 round off the interfaces.

Exynos 9 octa 9810

This chip is the heart of the 2018 Samsung upper-class smartphones Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus. The South Korean company brings hard guns to this SoC. The maximum clock rate of the in-house Mongoose M3 processor cores is particularly impressive. The high-performance CPU cores, four in number, can be accelerated up to 2.9 gigahertz. If the mobile device has to cope with less demanding tasks, the second cluster based on Cortex-A55 steps in. This comes up with a maximum clock rate of 1.9 gigahertz. In terms of graphics performance, the company does not show any weakness either and uses the Mali-G72, which in this case can fall back on 18 GPU cores. Fans of mobile broadband will also be happy with the Exynos 9 Octa 9810. The Samsung modem creates a download speed of up to 1.2 Gbit / s (LTE Cat. 18) and an upload speed of a maximum of 150 Mbit / s. Dual-band WLAN (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz / ac) and Bluetooth 5.0 underline the modern connectivity.

Exynos 9610

The latest Exynos processor from the 7 series is intended for the middle class and will go into production in the second half of 2018. In terms of performance, it definitely has a lot to offer. The performance cluster made up of four Cortex A73 cores has a clock rate of up to 2.3 GHz. This is also sufficient for somewhat more demanding applications. If there is little work to do, the four Cortex A53 cores save the battery. They clock at 1.6 GHz. Modern LPDDR4X RAM is used as the main memory.

While the pure computing power is pleasing, the GPU doesn't quite keep up. The very powerful Mali G72 MP3 graphics processor has only three processing cores available. More demanding tasks or current games with maximum details are not his profession.

The SoC is manufactured using modern 10 nm technology and otherwise has everything that you could need. He finds his way into the mobile Internet with LTE Cat. 12. This means that 600 Mbit / s are available in the downlink, which does not mark the top, but does not cause any bottlenecks in everyday life either. With Cat. 13 up to 150 Mbit / s ready. Fast WiFi is available thanks to 802.11ac with 2x2 MIMO. Bluetooth is included in the current version 5.0 and, in addition to GPS, location with GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo is also available.

The topic of artificial intelligence is also becoming increasingly important for Samsung. The new Exynos has therefore been given an NPU (Neural Processing Unit). This not only takes care of recognizing people in difficult situations, but also provides an appealing bokeh effect if a second camera is not installed in the smartphone. The SoC is capable of slow-motion video recordings with up to 480 frames per second.

Comparison of the generations at a glance

The embedded table gives you an overview of the most important Exynos SoCs. Above all, you should pay attention to the LTE category, VoLTE functionality and modern architecture. On the other hand, the fastest possible GPU makes sense for high-resolution video streaming in 4K. A mouse click on the table enlarges the view in order to better examine the details in the graphic.

all Exynos chipsets at a glance | click to enlarge | ©

Samsung also supplies other manufacturers

It is not unusual for a smartphone manufacturer to create its own SoC. Huawei and Apple, among others, also rely on their own solutions. However, Samsung is also quite successfully accommodating its Exynos platforms with other companies. The Chinese company Meizu in particular likes to buy from Samsung's processor manufacturer. For example, the Pro 6 Plus, a phablet that was introduced in winter 2016, is based on the Exynos 8890 Galaxy S7 SoC. But other Chinese manufacturers, such as ZTE and Lenovo, have already tried their hand at a Samsung chipset.

LTE tablets with Exynos chipset

Samsung's platforms are not only suitable for smartphones and phablets, but also for tablets. For example, the Exynos 7870 powers the Galaxy Tab A 10.1. This chipset has eight Cortex-A53 cores with a maximum clock rate of 1.6 gigahertz. A Mali-T830 MP2 is responsible for the graphics calculation. The integrated LTE modem can handle bandwidths according to LTE category 4. Thus, the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 can access the Internet with 150 Mbit / s download and 50 Mbit / s upload while on the move. In the Galaxy Tab 3, on the other hand, Samsung relied on Qualcomm as the chip supplier.

More Exynos chipsets will follow

Of course, we will continue to follow Samsung's career in mobile SoCs. As soon as the company announces and launches new chipsets, we will expand this report and update the corresponding products in detail.

Further information

»Find out everything about Qualcomm smartphone CPUs
»Guide to processors in mobile devices
»Everything you need to know about China smartphones

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