Samsung enters GPU tech licensing talks with AMD and Nvidia

Brad Jones
Samsung enters GPU tech licensing talks with AMD and Nvidia
It's long been rumored that Samsung wants to start producing its own GPUs to use with its Exynos chipset, and now the company is in talks with Nvidia and AMD with a view to licensing their technologies.

Over the past several years, Samsung has emerged as one of the biggest players in the smartphone market — in July, it was reported that the Galaxy S7 had managed to outsell the iPhone 6S for a three-month period. Now, there’s word that the company is preparing a change to its manufacturing procedure that could help secure an even more dominant position.

Samsung is apparently pursuing a longstanding desire to develop a GPU in-house for use with its mobile processors. The company is in talks with both AMD and Nvidia with a view to licensing its GPU technologies, according to a report from Sam Mobile.

As far back as 2014, there were rumors that Samsung had hired engineers from companies like AMD, Nvidia, and Intel in order to accelerate its plan for internal GPU development. At one point, it was expected that the firm would be able to implement its Exynos chipset with a proprietary GPU for the Galaxy Note 5 — but this never came to pass.

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At present, Samsung uses the Mali series of GPUs developed by ARM for its Exynos chipsets. However, based on these talks with AMD and Nvidia, it seems that the current arrangement may come to an end sooner rather than later.

Shifting to internal development of GPUs would allow Samsung to cut costs accrued outsourcing the components, even allowing for the licensing fees that would need to be paid to whichever company’s tech is being used. It remains to be seen whether the end goal is simply larger profit margins, or the ability to undercut the pricing of its rivals.

Given that the company is still in talks with AMD and Nvidia, the situation is still very fluid. However, this weekend’s reporting indicates that Nvidia is currently the front-runner thanks to the strength of its Pascal architecture.