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Samsung's Exynos 1080 is its first five-nanometer chip

Daniel Cooper
·Senior Editor

Samsung doesn’t have a phone coming out right now, but that doesn’t mean work has stopped on developing its own silicon. The company has announced its first five-nanometer SoC, the Exynos 1080, which will likely feature in a number of handsets through 2021. Co-developed with Vivo, the big new feature is the addition of an mmWave 5G modem designed to support the bands used in mainland China.

Engadget China reports that the chip will actually debut on an as-yet unnamed Vivo handset due at some point in the future. Specs-wise, the unit packs an eight-core chip running a single-core, 2.8GHz A78, paired with three more A78 cores clocked at 2.2GHz. On the other half of the chip, you’ll find a quad-core A55 running at 2.0GHz and a Mali G78 GPU which will support QHD displays up to 90Hz.

If you’re unfamiliar, “five nanometer” is shorthand for how small the transistors are on the chip itself, and it’s a process not everyone is using right now. Apple proudly boasted that it had the world’s first 5nm chip, the A14, which was made by manufacturing partner TSMC. It’s the same process that Huawei used to build the Kirin 9000, before sanctions made that unavailable.

Samsung’s production of a 5nm chip means that TSMC no longer holds the monopoly on the process, and hopefully we’ll see more efficient chips from all phone makers in future. After all, the smaller your transistors, the faster, or more power-efficient your phone becomes. And that’s a big deal right now, when the switch to 5G is emptying people’s phone batteries out faster than ever before.