Every time a new SoC comes one, the one thing we eagerly await is for someone to release a die shot of the new chip. This process is most interesting when the new chip either comes with a new microarchitecture or a new process node. Last November, we covered the release of ChipRebel’s Kirin 980 die shot which gave us the first ever look of Arm’s new Cortex A76 CPU as well as Mali G76 GPU on a new 7nm process node.

The folks over there are at it again and have seemingly been very busy overnight, this time around tearing down the Galaxy S10 with the new Exynos 9820. I’ve been going back and forth with the ChipRebel team on these last two projects and they’re great guys, definitely visit them if you are in need of die shots.

Die shot: Chip Rebel - Annotations/labelling: Andrei @ AnandTech

8nm not as small as 7nm

The first thing standing out for the Exynos 9820 is the fact that at ~127mm², the chip has actually grown compared to the 10LPP Exynos 9810 of last year. Samsung’s 8LPP node isn’t as aggressive in scaling as TSMC’s 7nm process, and in theory the process node should bring a conservative 15% reduced area compared to its preceding node, leaving TSMC at a notable density advantage this generation. Compared to the Kirin 980 at 74.13mm², the Snapdragon 855 at 73.27mm² and even Apple’s A12 at 83.27mm², the new Exynos 9820 clearly stands out as out of line compared to the competition.

The Exynos 9820 also changes a lot internally, compared to the Exynos 9810 last year. First off we notice that the CPU cluster isn’t as prominent as it was last year. The reason for this is simply that Samsung opted to only employ two of its new generation M4 cores as opposed to the quad-core layout of the M3 in the 9810.

Interesting in the die shot is the new cluster layout: Next to the M4 cores we see now three L3 slices with a similar design as we saw in the 9810. However north of the two M4 cores we see a further L3 slice that differs from the other three. This slice seems to be the one that connects the new Cortex A55 and A75 cores to Samsung’s cluster.

I’ve had the Galaxy S10+ with the Exynos 9820 in-house since yesterday, and I can confirm that the L3 cache has remained at a total of 4MB, although I need a bit more time to figure out exactly how much of this is accessible by the Cortex cores as there’s power management policies coming into play.

The important thing to note here is that the Cortex A55 cores are no longer handicapped by not sharing the same higher level cache hierarchy as the rest of the CPU complex.

The new Exynos M4 cores clock up to 2.73GHz, the A75 cores at up to 2.31GHz and the A55 cores up to 1.95GHz.

On the GPU side of things, we still see Samsung dedicate a lot of area to the Mali G76MP12 – although it’s doesn’t look as big as last year’s G72MP18.

Finally, below the GPU, we find Samsung’s new NPU. This is a dual-core design running at up to 933MHz and offering up to 1.9TOPs at 8-bit precision, although Samsung looks to be counting 6.9TOPs in quantised models. Samsung themselves publish the die area of this block to be 5.5mm².

We thank the guys at ChipRebel for sharing this die shot with the public as it offers great analysis of Samsung’s new chip! On our side, we have the S10+ in-house now and I’ll be working on the full detailed device+SoC review.

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  • Ahadjisavvas - Saturday, March 9, 2019 - link

    When are you going to release the performance results for this chip?
  • Rudde - Saturday, March 9, 2019 - link

  • Ahadjisavvas - Saturday, March 9, 2019 - link

    I've already read that article. I meant the architecture deep dive, like Andrei did last year with the 9810.
  • Ian Cutress - Saturday, March 9, 2019 - link

    We only got our first phone yesterday. Waiting on the second. We don't get early samples like the rest of the industry, Samsung isn't interested.
  • shadowx360 - Saturday, March 9, 2019 - link

    That's a shame. I am guessing it's because of your less-than-enthusiastic review of the M3 cores in the GS9? I get PR=sales but this is a new low for Samsung.
  • s.yu - Sunday, March 10, 2019 - link

    Huawei tried to silence DxO because DxO's Mate20P score was no higher than P20P, in the end they didn't succeed but they suppressed the announcement for a few months in order to push their units, and they lie or severely twist facts almost every announcement. And a company like this has risen to No.2 in the industry.
    Just know that the state of the entire industry is worse, not better.
  • close - Monday, March 11, 2019 - link

    Please, don't hold back your personal bias against Huawei. You spent 80% of your comment budget on bashing them.

    And then to give weight to your comment you bring DxO into the equation. Probably the most subjectively useless benchmark and scoring available today.
  • Ahadjisavvas - Sunday, March 10, 2019 - link

    I have question. How good is npu compared to the dual npus in the kirin 980 and the octa core npu in the apple a12? At 1.9 TOPS it sounds weak in comparison to the 5 TOPS of the Apple's a12 npu.
  • Eris_Floralia - Saturday, March 9, 2019 - link

    This would be an interesting battle between the two SoCs.

    Looking forward to Andrei's deep dive and fixing the Exynos for Samsung again! /s
  • blu42 - Saturday, March 9, 2019 - link

    At ~4x the size of a CA75, an M4 must be a tough sell..

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