AMD and Samsung partnered up recently to jointly develop a mobile GPU. Samsung’s Exynos chips have generally played second fiddle to Qualcomm’s flagship chipsets, always lagging in some or many metrics. It seems good things are coming out of this partnership now, and the next Exynos flagship might feature Ray-Tracing capabilities (via Ice Universe).
While this was already announced by Dr. Lisa Su at Computex last year, the official Samsung ad certainly reaffirms the timeline. Also, RT capability on phones isn’t an unheard-of idea, and vendors like ARM are already working on it.
Samsung is licensing RDNA architecture from AMD to use it in their own GPU chips. This makes sense given Samsung’s extensive expertise in manufacturing from their own fabs. It was also noted in the announcement that this partnership will have a focus on mobile devices with Dr. Lisa Su AMD’s current CEO stating “this strategic partnership will extend the reach of our high-performance Radeon graphics into the mobile market, significantly expanding the Radeon user base and development ecosystem”
However, the benefit of such a partnership lies in the IP AMD is licensing out to Samsung so they can further optimize the RDNA architecture for low-power mobile SoCs. This helps Samsung save a lot of time and effort, not having to build everything from scratch, and in turn, also help AMD get a foothold in the mobile space.
Samsung Exynos clearly stated that Ray Tracing technology is about to be mounted in the new Exynos GPU. pic.twitter.com/xVnsRJqkEZ
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) October 4, 2021
If everything pans out well, Samsung is going to be the first company with an SoC featuring RT capabilities. The next obvious question being the use case. With the advent of the new consoles and RTX GPUs, Ray-Tracing is slowly coming to the mainstream. Although it is still very resource-intensive and any practical use case on mobiles is hard to imagine.
This is where Samsung’s philosophy comes into play. The Korean giant doesn’t shy away from being the first to introduce certain features, like curved displays on phones, foldables, etc. Unlike Apple who prefer to introduce fine-tuned features, Samsung likes to be ahead of the curve, and most of their fine-tuning is along the way. It will be interesting to see how Samsung introduces and markets this Ray-Tracing feature with their next flagship Exynos SoC.