Samsung and AMD will reportedly take on Apple’s M1 SoC later this year - Ars Technica
May 11, 2021 2 mins, 3 secs

Samsung is planning big things for the next release of its Exynos system on a chip.

The company has already promised that the "next generation" of its Exynos SoC will feature a GPU from AMD, which inked a partnership with Samsung in June 2019.

The report says that "the South Korean tech giant will unveil a premium Exynos chip that can be used in laptops as well as smartphones in the second half of this year" and that "the new Exynos chip for laptops will use the graphics processing unit (GPU) jointly developed with US semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices Inc.".

It was always questionable that Samsung was planning to beef up its Exynos smartphone chips, since the company splits its flagship smartphone lineup between Exynos and Qualcomm, depending on the region.

Exynos chips are always inferior to Qualcomm chips, but Samsung considers the two products close enough to call the Exynos- and Qualcomm-based phones the same product.

That's hard to believe, and it sounds like the easy answer is for the company to just not dramatically change the Exynos smartphone chips.

For laptops, Samsung has to chase down its favorite rival, Apple, which is jumping into ARM laptops with its M1 chip.

If Samsung wants its products to have any hope of being competitive with Apple laptops, it would have to launch its own ARM laptop SoC.

Even if we suppose everything goes right with Samsung's AMD partnership and the company gets a top-tier SoC GPU, the kind of chip Samsung seems to be producing is not what you would draw up for use in a great laptop. The three big components in an SoC are the CPU, GPU, and modem. It seems like everyone is investing in SoC design, and some companies are better positioned to produce a competitive chip than others.

Apple doesn't have a modem solution on the market yet (its phones use Qualcomm modems), but it bought Intel's 5G smartphone business in 2019, and it's working on in-house modem chips.

Qualcomm has been in a similar position to Samsung; the company had a decent GPU division thanks to acquiring ATI's old mobile GPU division, but it was always behind Apple because it used ARM's CPU designs.

Qualcomm's current laptop chip is the Snapdragon 8cx gen 2, but that chip is not even a best-effort design from the company.

Qualcomm seems like it will get serious about laptop chips soon, as it bought CPU design firm Nuvia in January 2021.

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