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Samsung Ends Development on Custom ARM Cores, Signals Layoffs at Austin, Texas R&D Center

Accepted submission by takyon at 2019-11-04 15:35:51

Samsung Confirms Custom CPU Development Cancellation []

The fate of Samsung's custom CPU development efforts has been making the rounds of the rumour mill for almost a month, and now we finally have confirmation from Samsung that the company has stopped further development work on its custom Arm architecture CPU cores. This public confirmation comes via Samsung's HR department, which last week filled an obligatory notice letter [] with the Texas Workforce Commission, warning about upcoming layoffs of Samsung's Austin R&D Center CPU team and the impending termination of their custom CPU work.

The CPU project, said currently to be around 290 team members large, started off sometime in 2012 and has produced the custom ARMv8 CPU microarchitectures from the Exynos M1 [] in the Exynos 8890 up to the latest Exynos M5 in the upcoming Exynos 990 [].

Over the years, Samsung's custom CPU microarchitectures had a tough time in differentiating themselves from Arm's own Cortex designs, never being fully competitive in any one metric. The Exynos-M3 Meerkat [] cores employed in the Exynos 9810 (Galaxy S9), for example, ended up being more of a handicap to the SoC due to its poor energy efficiency []. Even the CPU project itself had a rocky start, as originally the custom microarchitecture was meant to power Samsung's custom Arm server SoCs before the design efforts were redirected towards mobile use.

See also: Samsung Is Shutting Down Its Custom CPU Core Department; Will License ARM's Performance Cores for Future SoCs []
Samsung Might Still Design Semi-Custom Cores; AMD-based GPU Nearing Commercialization []
Samsung sadly sings of memory, all alone in the moonlight, as downturn slashes profits by 56% []

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