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Samsung's Flagship Exynos 9 Mobile Processor Adds NPU to Power AI

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Nov 14, 2018, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

Samsung is upping its AI game. Samsung today announced the Exynos 9 Series 9820, a system-on-a-chip for premiere smartphones such as the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series. The key upgrade for Samsung's latest mobile processor is the adoption of a neural processing unit to bring artificial intelligence calculations onto the device. Samsung says the dedicated NPU helps the 9820 perform AI tasks about seven times faster than the 9810 by negating the need to route such calculations over the network to a server. In addition to raw speed, Samsung says this also adds a layer of security for end users. The NPU will allow camera applications to instantly adjust settings based on the surroundings, or recognize objects in AR/VR settings. Apple, Qualcomm, and Huawei adopted AI-dedicated NPUs in their premium processors in 2017. Beyond the AI upgrade, Samsung elevated the 9820's performance across the board. It features a new, custom CPU that's 20% faster than its predecessor in single-core mode or 40% more efficient. Multi-core performance is up by about 15%. The 9820 includes the Mali-G76 GPU for improved mobile gaming experiences. It is 40% faster or 35% more power efficient than before. The SoC supports the latest in LTE connectivity. It relies on LTE-Advanced and LTE-LAA with 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, and eight-channel carrier aggregation to deliver download speeds up to 2 Gbps and upload speeds up to 316 Mbps. On the multimedia front, the Exynos 9820's multi-format codec can decode 4K video at 150 frames per second as well as render 10-bit color. Samsung says the Exynos 9 Series 9820 is expected to be in mass production by the end of this year and will show up in devices in 2019. Samsung's Exynos processors are mainly found in global variants of its phones. Samsung phones bound for the U.S. typically rely on Qualcomm processors.

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