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Samsung’s own CPU and GPU cores in design stage, due next year

Samsung Electronics has world-class semiconductor manufacturing facilities and leading-edge process technologies. While the company designs its own system-on-chips for mobile devices, Samsung continues to use application processors from Qualcomm for its high-end smartphones and extensively uses intellectual property from ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies. Apparently, Samsung wants to change that and design its SoCs itself from the ground up.

When Samsung develops its own SoC for its smartphones or tablets at present it simply licenses building blocks from ARM or Imagination, which means that its application processorsare generally similar to those from companies like MediaTek. In order to differentiate itself from its rivals, Samsung Electronics is reportedly working on a new breed of its application processors with its own general purpose and graphics processing cores inside, reports ZDNet Korea citing its own sources.

It is not a secret that Samsung has been developing its own central processing unit cores based on ARMv8-A 64-bit architecture for several years now. The company had to acquire appropriate license from ARM Holdings and hire professional developers. Given the amount of ex-AMD talent hired by Samsung in the recent years, the company should be on-track with its own CPU cores sometimes next year.

However, Samsung does not want to integrate only its own general-purpose core. According to the report, it is also working on its own graphics processing unit. The details about the project are completely unknown since if Samsung develops its own graphics core from scratch, it needs hundreds of specialists and many years of time. It is more likely that the company has licensed certain technologies from ARM and Imagination and wants to create a custom graphics processor with unique feature-set.

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Keeping in mind that Samsung is one of the founding members of the HSA [heterogeneous system architecture] foundation, it is more than likely that its forthcoming chips will be fully HSA compatible and will thus be able to use GPU stream processors for general-purpose tasks, saving power and providing performance improvements.

The first system-on-chip with Samsung’s own CPU and GPU cores is expected to emerge next year, perhaps, along with the company’s next-generation Galaxy Note premium smartphone.

Samsung did not comment on the news-story.

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KitGuru Says: It is logical for Samsung to develop its own SoCs and their components from scratch in order to make its devices better compared to competing products. It remains to be seen whether GPU cores developed by Samsung will be as competitive as those designed by ARM, Imagination, Nvidia or Qualcomm. What is clear is that even if the first-gen CPUs and GPUs from Samsung do not demonstrate truly high performance, the company will strengthen its development team and will come up with something better eventually. Competitive SoCs are just too important for Samsung. The company will do its best to make them more advanced than offerings from competing developers.

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