Talk about interesting tech partnerships, Microsoft and Sony’s collaboration on new cloud-based solutions for gaming and AI surprised a lot of people. Here we have another unexpected collaboration between AMD and Samsung with regards to AMD’s RDNA graphics IP.
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”
Which Mobile Products?
We obviously don’t have any details regarding these mobile products using GPU chips with AMD’s RDNA architecture, but we can speculate with some confidence.
Samsung has been designing their own Exynos SoCs for a while now, for the GPU cores they rely on ARM’s Mali. Qualcomm also built the Snapdragon SoCs based on ARM’s architecture but their Adreno GPU cores bring better graphical performance which gives them a big edge over competitors. Samsung obviously wants to change the performance hierarchy here and they might integrate Exynos SoCs with GPU cores based on RDNA architecture. Mobile gaming is also picking up pace and its already a $50B industry, many manufacturers are coming up with gaming phones and this partnership can help Samsung deliver a strong product.
RDNA is AMD’s new GPU architecture and it succeeds the GCN architecture which was in use for over 10 years. AMD states RDNA is a fundamentally new architecture but it does share blood with GCN. According to AMD, Navi GPUs using RDNA architecture have achieved a 25 percent increase in performance per clock & a 50 percent increase in performance per watt over existing Vega GPUs. There’s also a redesigned compute unit for improved Efficiency and increased IPC with a new cache hierarchy resulting in lower latency and increased bandwidth.
Use of RDNA architecture in mobile phones is definitely an exciting prospect for both the companies, we will have to wait and see what Samsung comes up with.