Samsung may include AMD's Radeon rDNA graphics as soon as 2021

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We recently learned that AMD was licensing its Radeon RDNA technology to Samsung, and now we know this graphics technology will make its way into smartphones in about two years. 

During Samsung's most recent quarterly earnings call, a representative said Samsung would use the AMD IP within about two years, while AMD confirmed in a call that it has attributed $100 million in revenue from its partnership with Samsung, Tom's Hardware reports.

An unidentified representative from Samsung said of the RDNA technology, "we expect that the GPU technology will start being adopted in products that will be launched two years down the road roughly," Seeking Alpha notes in its translation of the earnings call.

This has some implications for the Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) that Samsung develops for its mobile devices. These have appeared in many smartphones and tablets under the Exynos branding. Some regions don't see these SoCs as often, though, as Samsung's flagships smartphones in some regions launch instead with Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipsets, such as in the US.

The use of AMD's Radeon RDNA may help Samsung continue to upgrade the graphics performance of its in-house chipsets without having to invest as heavily in research and design.

About AMD's architecture

AMD's Radeon RDNA graphics architecture is powering its latest 7nm Navi graphics processors like the Radeon RX 5700 XT, and has helped it bridge the gulf in performance between AMD's high-end graphics cards and Nvidia's, even if Nvidia still holds the performance crown at the enthusiast tier. The architecture should also appear shortly in the next generation of video game consoles.

The architecture will allow Samsung to build devices that operate like AMD's graphics processors, but they will not operate in the same space. Instead, Samsung's focus will be on mobile devices like smartphones. The market for desktop and laptop graphics processing should stay with AMD to avoid any competition between the two companies using RDNA.

With the timeline now pegged at about two years, it will be interesting to see how RDNA compares across the range of devices from smartphones to high-power gaming computers.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.