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ARMs Race | Google Tensor to power next-gen Pixelbooks and more



Google’s Tensor SoC will first ship with Pixel 6 this fall, but Tensor isn’t only destined for phones, according to a report by Nikkei Asia, “Google was particularly inspired by Apple’s success in developing its own semiconductor components for iPhones” and its Macs.

Google’s development of its own chips comes as global rivals pursue a similar strategy to differentiate their offerings. Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and now Google are joining Samsung to build semiconductors to power their own differentiated products. We reported last year that Google’s Silicon chip could power Chromebooks eventually. So, today’s report from Nikkei Asia comes as no surprise.

Tensor was designed in cooperation with Samsung, who’s state-of-the-art 5-nanometer technology is used to manufacture the chips, according to a source familiar with Google’s effort. In early 2020, Google received its first working versions of the chip. In addition to an 8-core ARM processor, Whitechapel will also include hardware optimized for Google’s machine-learning technology. A portion of its silicon will also be dedicated to improving the performance of Google Assistant. Google’s Tensor chip could power Pixelbooks in the near future like Pixelbook Go 2. Beyond Pixelbook Go 2 we could see Google try to scale Tensor to other Made by Google devices, a strategy Apple is already employing with M1 in MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iPad Pro.

Rumors suggest that Google’s Tensor may actually be the Exynos 9855 that “never saw the light of day” according to GalaxyClub. The Exynos 9855 is believed to sit just under the Exynos 9925 also called Exynos 2200 that may ship with Samsung’s international Galaxy S22. They also said that Exynos bore another codename: Whitechapel.

The Whitechapel codename is significant because it has been the codename for GS101 or as we know it today, Tensor. So based on what we know about Exynos 9855, it sits between Exynos 2100 and Exynos 2200. The Exynos 2200 with the AMD Radeon RDNA2-based GPU is believed to be geared not only for Galaxy S22 but tablets like Galaxy Tab S8 and Galaxy Books as well.

To put these chip models in context, here is how Exynos 2100 does against Snapdragon 888:

Exynos 2100Qualcomm 888
Coresx1 Exynos-X1 @ 2.9GHz

x3 Cortex-A78 @ 2.8GHz

x4 Cortex-A55 @ 2.2GHz
x1 Cortex-X1 @ 2.84 GHz

x3 Cortex-A78 @ 2.42GHz

x4 Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
GPUARM Mali-G78Adreno 660 @ 800MHz
AI Co-processorTri-core NPUHexagon 780
ModemExynos 5123
Downloads up to 7.3Gbps (mmWave)

5.1Gbps (sub-6GHz)

3Gbps (4G LTE)

uploads up to 422 Mbps
X60 modem

7.5Gbps over 5G

3Gbps over LTE
Single-core benchmark10881104
Multi-core benchmark34752913

When will your next Pixelbook be powered by Tensor? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.



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