Samsung this week announced its newest Exynos chipset for smartphones and tablets, and it comes with a major graphics improvement that could just persuade mobile gamers to swap iPhone and iPad for Galaxy devices.
The Exynos 2200 is the world’s first mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) with an AMD RDNA 2 GPU that supports ray tracing. It could enable major visual improvements in upcoming Android games — if developers take advantage of it.
Exynos 2200 is world’s first mobile SoC with ray tracing
Ray tracing has been a pretty big deal among PC and console gamers in recent years. The technology, which significantly improves the way in which light and reflections are rendered inside games, was first introduced by Nvidia in 2018.
Since then, ray tracing has made its way to the latest desktop GPUs from AMD, as well as PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series S and Series X. And, thanks to Samsung, ray tracing is also coming to smartphones and tablets.
The Exynos 2200 with its “Xclipse” GPU is the result of a licensing deal between Samsung and AMD, first signed in 2019. AMD says it is “the first of multiple planned generations” of Samsung chips with AMD RDNA graphics.
Inside the Exynos 2200
Built using a 4-nanometer manufacturing process, the decked-out Exynos 2200 features one high-powered Cortex-X2 “flagship core,” three balanced Cortex-A710 cores, and four power-efficient Cortex-A520 cores.
The chipset also features an upgraded network processor unit, as well as a new image signal processor that is designed to support camera sensors of up to 200 megapixels. Samsung announced one of those last year.
But, of course, it’s the AMD GPU that is the star of the show. If game developers take advantage of it, it could lead to a major leap forward in graphical fidelity for mobile games over the coming years. But that’s a big if.
The Exynos 2200 needs support
Getting developers to support new technologies isn’t always easy — especially when those technologies are only available on a small number of devices. It’s often not worth investing in advancements that can’t be enjoyed by the masses.
The Exynos 2200 will almost certainly remain exclusive to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy devices. And even then, a rather large portion of those — like Galaxy S handsets sold in the U.S. — ship with Qualcomm Snapdragon chips instead.
While ray tracing on smartphone and tablets could well take off in the years ahead, then — and we hope it does! — it’s unlikely the Exynos 2200 by itself will make a significant impact to mobile gaming in the short term.