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Exynos 7904 Boosts Low-Cost Phones

February 14, 2019

Author: Mike Demler

Samsung’s new Exynos 7904 powers the low-cost Galaxy M20 phones that recently launched in India. The 14nm chip is tailored for that market, according to the company, but it’s just a slightly downgraded version of the Exynos 7885 in the mainstream Galaxy A8/A8+ phones that started shipping in 1Q18. The A8 sells in the U.S. and other developed markets for $400 to $500; the Galaxy M20 sells for just $150, although we expect that price is carrier subsidized.

Like its predecessor, the Exynos 7904 integrates a CPU subsystem comprising two “big” Cortex-A73 CPUs and six “little” Cortex-A53s. The 2+6 configuration is becoming the standard for midrange processors, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, but Samsung is the first chip developer to use it in a low-cost device. The 670 implements Arm’s DynamIQ technology in a cluster of six Cortex-A55s; Cortex-A53, however, only allows clusters of four or fewer, so we believe Exynos uses a 2+3+3 configuration. In the 7885, the big CPUs run at 2.2GHz, but in the 7904, they run at 1.8GHz. The little A53s achieve 1.6GHz in both processors.

The 7904 has a dual-core Mali-G71 GPU and a codec that encodes/decodes 4K video at 30fps. It includes a three-camera image signal processor (ISP), enabling the M20 phone to sport dual rear cameras (13Mpixels and 8Mpixels) along with an 8Mpixel front camera.

Although smartphone sales declined last year, emerging markets are still growing. With its Exynos 7904 and Galaxy M20, Samsung aims to attract those cost-sensitive consumers by offering features that previously appeared only in higher-price models.

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