We know Samsung is working with AMD on an Exynos chip with RDNA 2 graphics; we just don’t know exactly what the overall slice of silicon will be and the devices it’ll end up in.
However, reliable leaker Ice Universe has posted an image on Weibo of what’s “suspected” to be the Exynos 2200 chip sporting what appears to be six AMD RDNA 2 GPU cores. Given the Samsung Galaxy S21 has the Exynos 2100, it could be extrapolated that the Exynos 2200 will find its way into the Samsung Galaxy S22.
And if the rumors prove true, the Galaxy S22 could be the most powerful phone yet, perhaps even better on the graphics front than the upcoming iPhone 13.
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Galaxy S22: New Exynos could be crazy powerful
Before I get ahead of myself, it’s important to note that there's no way to verify Ice Universe’s claims, though the leaker has been on the money in the past, and recently claimed alleged Wild Life benchmark results for the next Exynos chip.
Those graphics benchmarks revealed very impressive results, which appear to trounce those of the current smartphone performance king, the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Going by both of these alleged leaks, the Galaxy S22 could emerge next year as the most powerful gaming phone yet.
Of course, we don't yet know how much faster the alleged A15 Bionic will be in the iPhone 13, but the Exynos could very well give Apple a run for its money.
You might shrug at this, as it’s not like there are swathes of mobile games that tax the performance of many mid-range handsets, let alone the flagship with the Snapdragon 888; the Google Pixel 5 has a mid-range Snapdragon 765G chip, yet still has no problem with many popular mobile games.
But if the Exynos 2200 does indeed come with RDNA 2 based graphics and is feature in the Galaxy S22, I think there's a lot of potential here for phone performance that really shifts up a gear.
Proper gaming potential on a smartphone
AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics architecture has been designed for proper PC gaming performance, whereas the Mali GPU design found in many a Snapdragon system-on-a-chip (SoC) are based on mobile GPU architecture. So ignoring core counts, RDNA 2 on an Exynos SoC could not only offer a lot more power, but also the tech and support for more advanced graphics for games.
As much as I like a bout of Call of Duty: Mobile, it’s far from a full-out console or PC game. But with an RDNA 2 GPU, the Galaxy S22 or future Galaxy devices could have the performance and support to actually run PC and true console-quality games natively on a smartphone.
This might seem like wild speculation, but it’s based in logic and has a little more credence thanks to the newly revealed Valve Steam Deck.
The Steam Deck may look like a mutated version of the Nintendo Switch OLED, but it’s more of a portable PC and makes use of an AMD Zen 2 processor mixed with an RDNA 2 GPU. According to Valve, the Steam Deck offers two teraflops of graphics power, which is the equivalent to that of the PS4 or Xbox One. That’s way behind the power of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but it’s still enough to run fairly recent games (and demanding) like Control at solid frame rate and a 1280 x 800 resolution — plenty for a 7-inch display.
Then we have the original Nintendo Switch which is based around a venerable Nvidia Tegra X1 chipset but still has the power to run the likes of Doom Eternal and The Witcher 3. The Switch doesn't deliver a 60 frames per second gaming experience, but it’s still impressive to play games that had required a powerful gaming PC or laptop a few years ago on a pocketable console.
So the combination of traditional Exynos performance and AMD’s graphics expertise, API support and optimizations, could see the Galaxy S22 be a gaming phone that can run proper console and PC-grade games without the need for Xbox Game Pass cloud streaming.
A de-facto Xbox phone?
Speaking of Xbox, Microsoft and Samsung have worked together before on bringing the former's apps and services to the latter’s phones; the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra came with access to the xCloud game streaming beta.
So these close ties could be used to see the Exynos 2200’s rumored power be used to run Xbox and Windows 10 games natively on the Galaxy S22, rather than stream them.
I’ve been very impressed by Xbox Cloud Gaming on Android so far, but unstable internet connections means it’s far from infallible. But if I could play some of the best Xbox One games on a Galaxy handset, I’d happily switch from my Oppo Find X3 Pro; the ideal of playing Halo: The Master Chief Collection or Skyrim on a smartphone, even with reduced graphics, is a compelling prospect.
Galaxy S22 + AMD: More than gaming bliss
Of course, this could be wishful thinking on my part. But Samsung’s use of vapor chamber cooling tech and various other hardware and software optimizations means its flagships are pretty much powerful gaming phones in less ostentatious packages. Add in RDNA 2 graphics and we could see Samsung Galaxy phones set a new standard in smartphone graphics power and gaming.
But for non-gamers this graphics boost is also promising as it could give the Galaxy S22 more power to carry out video editing and rendering on the phone.
And when you take DeX into account — whereby a Samsung phone can be connected to an external monitor, mouse and keyboard and be used as Chrome OS-like desktop — the extra graphics grunt the Exynos 2200 could deliver might see DeX become a much more powerful tool or laptop replacement.
Given the Galaxy S21 is only some seven months old, it’s still early days for Galaxy S22 rumors and speculation. But I’m getting increasingly intrigued to see what Samsung and AMD can do and what type of phone or other devices the partnership could yield.
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