Samsung revamped NPU architecture in Exynos 2400 for AI boost

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Earlier this month, Samsung announced the Exynos 2400 processor for the Galaxy S24 series. It said the chip brings a 14.7x boost in AI performance compared to the previous generation, i.e. the Exynos 2200. We now have more details about the chip’s NPU (Neural Processing Unit) powering this AI boost.

The Exynos 2400 was unveiled during Samsung’s System LSI Tech Day event in San Jose, California on October 5. The Korean firm didn’t share the full specs of the chip. It only teased improved AI, CPU, and GPU performances. Along with a 14.7 times faster AI performance, the new processor also brings a 1.7 times faster CPU and a more powerful GPU with enhanced ray tracing.

Following the event, Samsung published a blog post sharing insights into some of the new technologies and products unveiled at the LSI Tech Day. The company says the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) has resulted in the development of smarter and more powerful mobile computing solutions. To meet these needs, it changed the architecture of its NPU in the Exynos 2400 to “remove memory bottlenecks.”

The Korean firm has “drastically” increased the support and acceleration for non-linear operations, which are used in Transformer-based models. Thanks to these architectural changes in the NPU, the Exynos 2400’s MobileBERT benchmark performance has increased by three times compared to the previous-gen solution. The benchmark uses a set of natural language processing (NLP) tasks to evaluate the AI performance of mobile devices.

Samsung’s announcement lacked details about the Exynos 2400’s CPUs, though we already had an idea about it thanks to leaks. The company has now confirmed rumors that the chip features a four-cluster CPU structure. It confirmed that the mid-cores have been divided into two groups with varying speeds.

The CPU “traditionally consisted of three clusters: the high-end cluster for time-sensitive applications, the low-end cluster for backdrop applications, and the middle cluster. For more efficient CPU operation, Samsung decided to divide the middle cluster into two different gears,” it said. We are expecting one Cortex-X4 core operating at 3.1GHz, two Cortex-A720 cores at 2.9GHz, three more Cortex-A720 cores at 2.6GHz, and four Cortex-A520 cores at 1.8GHz.

Additionally, to optimize the power and performance during heavy gaming sessions, the Exynos 2400 will reduce the CPU power portion and reallocate more power onto the GPU. Samsung reiterated that the new Xclipse 940 GPU brings enhanced ray tracing. It can render shadows, reflections, and global illumination more realistically. This helps deliver an immersive gaming experience. The Galaxy S24 series arrives in January 2024, so there’s some time before we get to see its real-world applications.

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