Samsung Exynos 990-soc gets support for 108Mp camera and 120Hz screen

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Samsung presents a new high-end soc for smartphones. The Exynos 990 octacore is made on a 7nm process with EUV, has two custom M5 cores, a Mali G77 GPU and can control 108-megapixel cameras. Samsung also presents a new 5g modem.

The Exynos 990 is the successor to the Exynos 9820 and 9825 that are in the current Galaxy S10 and Note 10 devices. The soc will probably find its way to the successors of such top models next year. It is again an octacore, of which the two fastest cores have a modified design. Samsung now calls them the Exynos M5 cores, with the current high-end socs they are still M4 cores. Samsung does not yet mention the clock speeds of the new soc, but according to the manufacturer, the M5 cores perform 20 percent better than the M4 variants.

Samsung uses a Mali G77 GPU with an as yet unknown clock speed in an MP11 configuration. This means that the GPU has eleven cores. Arm presented the GPU in May as a successor to the G76, which is included in the Exynos 9820. For the new GPU, Arm has switched from Bitfrost to the Valhall architecture, which should bring major improvements. According to Samsung, the graphics part of the Exynos 990-soc is 20 percent more efficient than the GPU of the predecessor.

The Exynos 990 has a memory controller that can handle lpddr5 memory at 2750MHz. Furthermore, the image signal processor gets an upgrade; it can now control a camera with a resolution of 108-megapixel. In August, Samsung already presented a 108-megapixel sensor. The high resolution is accompanied by relatively large dimensions. The 1/1.33″ sensor is much larger than what is common in smartphones at the moment.

According to Samsung, the new soc has a display driver that can drive 120Hz screens. In the announcement, Samsung emphasizes that this will provide smooth graphics for games and that it will promote animations on devices with multiple screens, such as folding smartphones. Those words seem to indicate that Samsung will provide new high-end smartphones and a possible Galaxy Fold successor with 120Hz screens.

According to Samsung, the new neural processing unit for artificial intelligence is much more powerful than that from the previous high-end socs. The manufacturer speaks of a computing power of more than ten trillion operations per second. At the npu of the Exynos 9820 and 9825, that is 1.86Tops.

Samsung no longer provides its high-end soc with an integrated modem. Together with the Exynos 990, the manufacturer presents the Exynos Modem 5123, which is a major upgrade compared to last year’s Exynos Modem 5100. According to Samsung, the new modem achieves download speeds of up to 7.35Gbit/s on 5G networks when using high frequencies with mmWave. At lower frequencies below 6GHz, this is a maximum of 5.1Gbit/s. The modem supports 4G download speeds of up to 3Gbit/s and upload of 422Mbit/s.

In September, Samsung already presented the Exynos 980-soc, which does have an integrated 5G modem. However, that soc’s modem can only handle 5g networks at lower frequencies and lacks mmWave support.

Samsung will start mass production of the Exynos 990-soc and the accompanying Exynos Modem 5123 at the end of this year. The chips will be made on Samsung’s 7nm lpp process with euv. Samsung already used that process this year for the production of the Exynos 9825 from the Note 10 smartphones.


Exynos 990

Exynos 9820 / 9825

cpu 2x Exynos M5
(+20% faster than M4)
2x Cortex A76
4x Cortex A55
2x Exynos M4 @ 2.73GHz
2x Cortex A75 @ 2.31 / 2.4GHz
4x Cortex A55 @ 1.95GHz
GPU Mali G77MP11 Mali G76MP12 @ 702MHz
Memory controller Lpddr5 @ 2750MHz Lpddr4x @ 2093MHz
Is P Single: 108Mp
Double: 24.8Mp+24.8Mp
Rear: 22Mp
Front: 22Mp
Dual camera: 16Mp+16Mp
Npu Dual npu + dsp
Double npu
Media 8K30 & 4K120 encode & decode
h.265/hevc, h.264, vp9
8K30 & 4K120 encode & decode
h.265/hevc, h.264, vp9
Modem Exynos 5123 (external)

4g: lte cat. 24/22
3000Mbps download
8x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM
422Mbit/s upload
2x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

5100Mbit/s download
5g mmWave
7350Mbit/s download


4g: lte cat 20/20
2000Mbps download
8x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
316Mbps upload
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

Production process Samsung
7nm lpp (euv)
8nm lpp / 7nm lpp (euv)

Table partly sourced from AnandTech

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