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Samsung announces more powerful Exynos processor without built-in 5G

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The 7nm Exynos 990 will go into production by the end of the year

Image: Samsung

Just shy of two months after announcing the Exynos 980, Samsung has announced a new chipset, the Exynos 990. The new processor is built on Samsung’s 7nm process, and includes a Mali-G77 GPU that increases graphical performance or power efficiency compared to Samsung’s previous chip by up to 20 percent as well as an octa-core CPU that should be 20 percent faster.

While it seems strange to see two processors announced in such quick succession, the Exynos 990 seems to be targeted at a slightly different market. VentureBeat notes that it lacks the integrated 5G modem found in the 980, meaning it will be better suited to 4G devices. It’s the faster processor of the two, but Samsung would need to pair it with a separate modem — like the 5G Exynos Modem 5123 that it also announced today — if it wants to use it in a 5G device.

The Exynos 990 also features support for displays with up to a 120 Hz refresh rate, as well as up to six cameras with a maximum resolution of 108 megapixels, like the ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor Samsung announced back in August.

The 5G Exynos Modem 5123, meanwhile, is a new 5G modem that’s also built using a 7nm process. It supports both kinds of 5G, sub-6GHz and mmWave, the latter of which was missing when Samsung announced its previous Exynos 980 chip with an integrated 5G modem. When connected to a 5G network, Samsung says the Exynos Modem 5123 supports a maximum download speed of 5.1 Gbps on sub-6GHz, and 7.35 Gbps on mmWave.

Samsung doesn’t say which phones the new chips will come to first, but with mass production expected to begin later this year there’s speculation that they’ll find their way into some of Samsung’s Galaxy S11 devices early next year. However, based on past trends they’re unlikely to be found in Samsung’s devices in the US or China, which have historically used Qualcomm’s chips.