For years, AMD has stayed away from the GPU market for mobile phones and the rest of the so-called PostPC devices. Although Adreno GPUs were originally integrated into Snapdragons, since the company led by Lisa Su sold its division to Qualcomm they have been absent from that market. And it is that neither more nor less than 14 years have passed since then.
However, it has been more than a year since AMD announced a collaboration with Samsung for the implementation of a GPU with RDNA 2 architecture in the Exynos family of mobile processors. Which means their return to a market from which they have been absent for many years. However, just like in the PC world, they are looking for maximum performance in high-end devices, which is where they want to go with the GPU for the Exynos 2200.
This is the mRDNA 2 GPU in the Exynos 2200
One of the peculiarities of architectures designed to be used in systems with high consumption, for example the PC, is that as these consumption is scaled down, its performance drops dramatically. In the same way, we can say the same about architectures designed for mobile devices, since their performance per watt decreases if they are used in the form of a graphics card. It is for this reason that we do not see PC graphics architectures dominating mobile SoCs and vice versa. Let’s not forget that NVIDIA made the attempt a few years ago and then abandoned it.
The Exynos 2200 GPU is based on the RDNA2 architecture, a variant very similar to the one used in the Steam Deck APUs and in the Ryzen 6000, but on a smaller scale in terms of number of cores and with obviously much lower consumption and obviously accompanying an ARM CPU and not an x86 one. We must bear in mind that it is not an architecture based on rendering by tiles, typical of mobile graphics architectures, but it adds support for Ray Tracing and Variable Rate Shading, which are currently unheard of in this type of GPU. . At the moment the only mobile phone that will use said SoC is the Samsung Galaxy S22, and not all variants will use the AMD GPU.
On the PC side, mRDNA 2 will be key for AMD to roll out beyond x86 PCs, they have been known to be developing ARM processors internally for some time. And it is more than possible that the next iteration will not be done together with Samsung, but by AMD alone.
mRDNA 2 on mobile disappoints in performance
We expected that AMD would hit the table in the mobile phone market by moving its RDNA architecture to a small scale and to a SoC for smartphones. Especially given the fact that this may mean potential handhelds from SONY and Microsoft after the Nintendo Switch has proven that handhelds still have a rope. Not to mention also future iterations of the Steam Deck, lighter and with better battery life, however, if we take into account the GPU performance in the Exynos 2200 the answer is yes. general disappointment.
Compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 used in some models of the Samsung Galaxy S22, the graphics performance of the AMD graphics processor lags far behind in various benchmarks. Where do we meet with differences of up to 30% in favor of Qualcomm’s SoC as far as graphics performance is concerned. What can be given the least return? It is possible that the mRDNA 2 on the Exynos 2200 is running at a lower clock speed and running into a memory bottleneck as it is not a Tile Renderer like its rival architecture.