Samsung announces Exynos 980 SoC with integrated 5G modem
5G is already a reality in select locations across the world, but, as it always happens with emerging technologies, the infrastructure is not yet ready to handle those top theoretical speeds promised by the official specs. The latest 5G-ready handhelds could also be responsible for this situation, what with the SoC makers’ rush to be first to market 5G compliant technology.
Currently, there is no 5G smartphone with a SoC-integrated 5G modem, and Qualcomm, Samsung along with HiSilicon are now battling it out to see who can deliver the first ever 5G-ready mobile processor. We already heard that HiSilicon is readying its first 5G SoC with the Kirin 990 that is supposed to be unveiled any day now at IFA, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 could integrate a 5G modem, but it looks like Samsung might actually get ahead of its competitors, as it just announced the 5G Exynos 980 SoC, which is said to begin mass production before the end of the year.
Unlike previously announced 5G modems, the one integrated in the Exynos 980 supports a new feature called E-UTRA-NR Dual Connectivity, which combines the 2CC LTE downlink with the 5G performance to enable download speeds of up to 3.55 Gbps. There is also support for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.
The new Exynos 980 is manufactured on Samsung’s proprietary 8 nm node and integrates two ARM Cortex-A77 cores clocked at 2.20 GHz plus six Cortex-A55 cores running at 1.8 GHz, with a Mali-G76 MP5 GPU. Unfortunately there is no support for UFS 3.0 storage, only 2.1, and LPDDR5 remains out of the question, as it only supports LPDDR4x. Since Samsung recently launched its 108 MP mobile imaging sensor, the Exynos 980 now supports single cameras with up to 108 MP counts.
Samsung also added an improved NPU that is 2.7 times faster than the one found in the Exynos 8895. Interestingly enough, this SoC only supports 3360 x 1440 resolutions and can decode and encode videos in 4K @120 fps. These two specs are inferior to the recently launched Exynos 9825, and, keeping in mind that UFS and LPDDR specs are limited as well, the new Exynos 980 could actually be aimed at premium mid-range phones like the top-of-the-line Galaxy A-series.