Samsung in talks with AMD and NVIDIA to license GPU technology

Samsung in talks with AMD and NVIDIA to license GPU technology
According to a fresh report that surfaced today, Samsung is allegedly in talks with AMD and NVIDIA to license their technologies related to GPU chips. Samsung current employs ARM's Mali line for its Exynos SoC. It would appear that Samsung wants the technology so that it can build its own in-house GPU solution. That was something rumored about nearly two years ago to the day.

It isn't unreasonable for Samsung to want more control over the components it uses inside its mobile devices. Samsung is rumored to be working on adding CDMA support for its Exynos chipsets. To that end, it plans on testing the chipset expected to be used inside 2018's Samsung Galaxy S9 in September 2017 on CDMA networks. If Samsung can pass this test, it won't have to depend on the embedded modem on Snapdragon chipsets for certain CDMA carriers like Verizon and Sprint.  And that would probably mean the end of finding Snapdragon SoC's inside Samsung Galaxy devices.

Samsung is hoping to cut into the long time it takes to develop a GPU by licensing some of the technology. NVIDIA is currently using the Pascal architecture for its mobile GPUs. Chips produced with Pascal are manufactured by TSMC using its 16nm FinFET process. AMD's graphic processors employ uses a 14nm FinFET manufacturing process for its Polaris architecture.

Will things progress beyond talks? Considering Samsung's goals here, it is likely that an agreement is made between Samsung and one of these companies.

source: SamMobile



1. Nopers unregistered

Interesting, I'm not sure how interested AMD or nvidia are in phone GPUs but I'd definitely buy a phone from Samsung if they were able to pull off the partnership and not botch the whole thing.

3. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"I'm not sure how interested AMD or nvidia are in phone nterested in phone GPUs" Did you mean "interesting" or "interested"? Heck, nVidia's got an interesting GPU: the ULP GeForce Kepler in the Tegra K1 SoC. A total beast (though not suitable for smartphones, but great for tablets). I believe Samsung can achieve their goal to build a mobile GPU for the Exynos SoC.

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Either way, its good for Samsung since it puts more pressure on ARM (Imagination and Qualcomm) to improve their GPUs (and SoC in Qualcomm's case) Which is good for us

18. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Other than size, how is a tablet any different than a smartphone. If the chip works in a tablet let it will work on a phone too.

24. jove39

Posts: 2147; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Thermal & power constraints.

21. Nopers unregistered

The concept is interesting and I'm not sure how interested AMD or nVidia are in mobile GPUs, yeah the best bet would probably be nVidia as they have experience with the Tegra K1.

22. UglyFrank

Posts: 2194; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I just realised that when the K1 was compared to the A8X/GX6850 & when the X1 was compared to the A9X/7XT with 12 cores, Apple always had a process advantage. I see it as a more of a licensing thing and less of a Exynos Powered by GeForce/Radeon thing

2. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

It would likely be AMD. NVIDIA is very exclusive about their GPUs.

12. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2451; Member since: Feb 14, 2011 Not really. They would make even more money than they do now by licensing it to a major corporation like Samsung. Samsung sold 80 million smartphones in Q4 2015 alone. Usually licensing deals are based on royalties from the handsets sold, so they would make out very well from that kind of deal.

15. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, but no one wants to or likes to work with Nvidia. Both Sony and MS ran the opposite away after only one console each with Nvidia. Only Nintendo is currently working with Nvidia but only because it was at a very good deal from Nvidia being desperate for a console design win. So there are probably more chances of this partnership being with AMD than Nvidia.

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Sony and MS ran because Nvidia cant make x86_64 CPUs Sony and MS didnt want a custom Tegra because it would be troublesome for devs porting to/from PC Nintendo dont really care about third party devs

19. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

No, they stopped dealing with Nvidia because Nvidia is a terrible partner to work with. That is what the consensus was from everyone regarding the two break ups. MS used Intel processors for the Xbox so they had x86 and Sony had their own processors.

29. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Nope Its common knowledge that Nvidia had no chance at design wins for the PS4/XB1 because they cant make x86-64 CPUs Intel gave up on consoles after the PS2/Xbox Too low profit margins for Intel's standards The PS3/360 had IBM CPUs and GPUs from Nvidia/AMD For the PS4/XB1 IBM wasn't an option for Sony/MS since x86-64 (Intel/AMD) had taken over Power (IBM) AMD obviously wouldnt be willing to provide a CPU for Nvidia And AMD had the advantage of integrating both the CPU and GPU, which allows MS/Sony to make smaller consoles So Nvidia had no chance as they couldnt make x86_64 CPUs

20. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You forgot that Samsung has lots of $$$$$$$ *cha-ching*

5. vuyonc

Posts: 1091; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Samsung is friendlier with AMD. AMD uses Samsung-based 14 nm LPP wafers at GloFo and it might expand production with Samsung's foundries already for Zen chips. Nvidia's Pascal can use Mixed Precision compute which compatible with ARM stuff so it could go either way.


Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Taking this, the 810 fiasco, and rumors of Intel trying to aquire licensing from ARM for mobile SoCs into consideration, we may very well be looking at the end of Qualcomm's reign of leadership in the mid and upper end SoC space. If Intel does what they did with Asus and their last mobile SoCs, then they'll surely outsell Qualcomm with all but the most loyal OEMs.

13. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

I think it will be AMD. Both Samsung and AMD are together already in HSA. And Samsung has better relations with Amd. They also feature a lot of Freesync monitors. It would be awesome if Samsung funds AMD's R&D.

14. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

And since GCN 4.0 excell at Vulkan, we might see a superb GPU.

23. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

still useless for current gen mobile gaming, S7 won't have any problem running future games 2-3 years from now :-/ will be great for VR headset with built-in 4k 144Hz each eye :3

27. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

S7 already has issues with running marvel future fight at over 20 fps. Granted it had terrible optimization, but most games barely run at 30fps on current android flagships due to being optimized for amazing GPUs and low resolution on iOS, but fail to run well in android. This is an image from last year. I don't think it's improved much this year: Both android and iOS suffer from lack of mobile GPU power, android more so than iOS. Also a faster GPU means less power usage at the same performance, which means better battery life.

30. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

That is why Samsung allows you to cgange resolution through its gaming app. You can do 1080p Easily.

31. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

I'm not saying these phones suck at gaming. I'm just saying that more GPU power will still be useful.

26. jove39

Posts: 2147; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Qualcomm need to improve on power efficiency front or their share in flagship devices will continue to shrink. For example...hardware encode/decode for vp8/9/x codec. Only nvidia X1 has one...and its used only in couple of devices. Compared to h264, vp9 YouTube videos (4K) are nearly half in size.

28. sarcastic_nerd unregistered

I expect them to support it next generation. Even Intel didn't do it till kaby lake. Qualcomm at least added HEVC main 10(10-bit) support in 820, which no other SoC has. And hardware support doesn't mean that you get hardware decoding right away. Yesterday I was experimenting with HEVC and found that to get GPU hardware decoding, I had to use the default movies app in windows 10 since VLC uses CPU.

32. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

Hopefully samsung will diss QC all together soon so they can show the real horsepower of the exynos soc, sure.. less mods for the community but I'll rather have a fast and stable phone with less personalization then some half-assed crap that can't use all the feat of the phone. QC and Samsung need to make some real changes if they want to keep up with the A10 is way ahead here (even though I don't like apple, I do admit that there socs are better)

33. lpratas

Posts: 398; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

That new of partnering with Nvidia or Amd it is not of day 10 it's from day 9 September and already circulated in Gsmarena in that day.

35. youssef44

Posts: 547; Member since: Apr 29, 2014

Great! I hope to see a smartphone can open Xbox One games soon!! It will be like a dream!

36. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

This is the best move for Samsung, would give them a meaningful edge in performance over the competition. Samsung/nvidia will need to work with developers to take advantage of the hardware, something nvidia is already doing with their Shield devices, having Samsung on board but be huge incentive for developers. Probably two years before we see anything from this if it actually happens.

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