Samsung paid AMD $100 million to pimp Galaxy S12 or Note 12 with Radeon Exynos graphics

Samsung paid AMD $100 million to pimp Galaxy S12 or Note 12 with Radeon Exynos graphics
Samsung recently announced a partnership with AMD for boosting the graphics processing in its future phones. Out of the blue, AMD will be providing "ultra low power, high performance mobile graphics IP based on AMD Radeon graphics technologies... across mobile applications, including smartphones."

This was a bit of a bombshell announcement as so far the only big custom graphics names are Qualcomm with its Adreno GPU in Snapdragon chipsets, and Apple with the A-series processors. The rest usually use the stock Mali graphics that leave a lot to be desired in terms of performance, and Samsung seems determined to change that. 

While in its Exynos line of chipsets Samsung has been using off-the-shelf Mali architecture that comes with ARM's processors, or the Adreno one for the Snapdragon-laden Galaxies for the US, it might soon go AMD. How soon?

Well, if the transcript from Samsung's earnings call is to be believed, the first Radeon-ed Exynos will arrive in 2021, just in time for the Galaxy S12, Note 12, or whatever Samsung calls its 2021 flagship at the time.


We'd assume that the tailored graphics subsystem using AMD Radeon IP will be developed for Samsung's Exynos line of processors, as you can't really separate an Adreno from its Snapdragon, but there could be more at play here. With a judge taking issue with Qualcomm's extortionate modem licensing, perhaps Samsung is gearing up for the era when it would be possible to go without Snapdragon chipsets in the US, and with a 5G modem of its own, the only thing left to make a world-class chipset out of Exynos was the GPU part.

According to Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO:


Well, the "multi-year strategic partnership" with AMD may be the last piece of the mobile processing puzzle for Samsung, and it will be paying royalties and licensing fees to make Exynos great again. 

As you can see from AMD CEO's quote above, the price tag that Samsung paid to use the GPU know-how is a whopping $100 million, not an insignificant sum by any means, so it is bent on going places in the mobile graphics department, and we as mortal users can only be all the better for it.

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16 Comments

1. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Good news for both Samsung and AMD. Samsung gets access well respected GPU designs and ADM gets access into the mobile market. Lets see how this plays out, Its good and exciting news for both parties and their supporters.

11. AbhiD

Posts: 719; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

It's not going to be easy trickling down PC level graphics power to mobile level. Nvidia tried and failed. Qualcomm already had AMD's help in it with the purchase of Adreno from AMD which was designed for smaller applications from day one. Not the case with Samsung's deal.

13. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

The Nvidia chips were awesome, better than anything available, the architecture of the chips didn't fail but Nvidia failed at gaining traction or striking a deal with someone like Samsung to help them with getting their chips into popular devices. Fortunately AMD isn't about to make that mistake as they already have the kind of partnership to make their new mobile GPUs a success.

14. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

For the record, AMD simply sold Qualcomm a division of their company they themselves had bought a few years before. I did however find it funny to learn that Adreno is simply and acronym of Radeon lol how did I not notice this.

2. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1035; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

I was going to hold off to buy the Note 11 next year, but if this is true, I'm going to have to keep my Note 9 for 2 more years. And I'm sure it'll be worth it

3. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 102; Member since: May 29, 2019

So gaming phones would actually become gaming phones, alright.

9. dumpster666

Posts: 68; Member since: Mar 07, 2019

adreno is also based on amd's gpu design....ADRENO is anagram of RADEON.

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Adreno was originally ATI's mobile GPUs But that was over 10 years ago, they've been Qualcomm's designs for ages

4. Hollowmost

Posts: 421; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

AMD Navi with RDNA architecture actually have a very good Performance/Watt. good luck Samsung we could get the best gaming smartphone with GTX 1050 by 2022. exciting time.

5. magnaroader

Posts: 37; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

That's amazing... But when will we get games that actually take advantage of all that GPU power? 2024?

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7184; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Look at some of the mobile VR games from Gear VR, or Daydream platforms. They take advantage of the current GPUs. They could always do with more CPU and GPU.

17. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

With Google's Play Pass and Apple Arcade, I won't be surprised if we start seeing more "PC/console quality" games being ported to mobile

6. almostdone

Posts: 437; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

Mean while at Apple HQ they're working hard to introduce a new color for their 2021 iPhones and deciding how to best market to the flock as a new revolutionary color. xD

8. oldskool50

Posts: 1306; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Having AMD inside a Samsung device is gonna blow away every GPU found in other Android phones and even IOS devices. A desktop top class GPU shrunken down and put onto the SoC is gonna be amazing. Being able ot bring desktop quality graphics to smartphones is gonna be awesome. This also should pave the way for smartphones to have 4K displays, because they will have a more powerful GPU. Also maybe this will allow Samsung to finally bring one feature desktops and IOS have had for a while, and that is the GPU also handling loads normally handled by the SoC. This is REAL innovation!!! This I can't wait for. I will likely just wait on the next Note that brings Radeon to mobile.

10. oldskool50

Posts: 1306; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

The Radeon platform has been a powerful entry on the PC market. I remember when ATI first released one of my favorite cards, the ATI All-In-Wonder with the Radeon chipset and it blew everything out the water.

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