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Google Tensor's Exynos roots revealed in Pixel 6 code

Tensor looks to share much of its DNA with the Exynos 2100. (Source: Google)
Tensor looks to share much of its DNA with the Exynos 2100. (Source: Google)
Google's first try at an in-house chipset, Tensor, is proving to be rather capable. It appears, however, that the Pixel 6's chipset isn't as original as Google's marketing would lead one to believe, with code showing a strong relationship with Samsung's Exynos.

Google's Tensor is proving to be quite the excellent chipset. Google markets it as its first in-house SoC but new information pointing towards the contrary has surfaced, showing that the Pixel 6's SoC isn't quite as original as marketing indicates. 

As revealed by Andrei Frumusanu of Anandtech, Tensor looks to be identical to Samsung's Exynos chipset, with the Google chipset being something of a mid-point between the Exynos 2100 and the upcoming Exynos 2200. There are, in fact, references to the Exynos 9845 (S5E9845) in Google's kernel code. Comparatively, the Exynos 2100 is internally referred to as the Exynos 9840 (S5E9840).

Without getting into semantics, it's obvious that Google's Tensor is more of a heavily customized version of Samsung's Exynos chipset than entirely original silicon. Is that a negative? No. Apart from the base framework, Google looks to have put plenty of its own designs into the chipset. Real-world performance on the Pixel 6 series so far also shows that it outperforms the Exynos 2100. 

Tensor appears to be a solid debut by Google and while it may be based on Exynos—and, as such, will share similar weaknesses and strengths—should be judged by what it offers. Destination over journey, in this case.

Buy the Google Pixel 6 on Amazon.

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Ricci Rox, 2021-10-31 (Update: 2021-10-31)