- Dec 11, 2018
Samsung and AMD may power Nintendo's Switch successor - RDNA's going mobile
Samsung's graphics partnership with AMD is set to deliver great things, bringing the power of AMD's RDNA graphics architecture to the masses alongside Samsung's powerful Exynos series of mobile chips.
When Nintendo attempts to replace its Switch console, the company will likely opt to create a new handheld/home console hybrid, building on their success of its "best of both worlds" Switch platform. While sourcing chips from Nvidia will be an option for the company, Nvidia's minimal efforts on consumer-grade ARM products leaves them in a position where they might not be able to create silicon that's sufficiently "next-gen" for Nintendo's next console, at least on the CPU side.
Nvidia hasn't updated their Shield tablet line with new silicon since their Tegra K1, which contains a Kepler-based graphics chip, while their Shield TV series of components has not been enhanced with updated chips than their Maxwell-based Tegra X1, the same chip the Switch uses. As it stands, if Nintendo wanted to create a next-generation Switch console, Nvidia doesn't have a new off-the-shelf SoC to sell them, a factor which will force Nintendo to look at alternative suppliers. This is where AMD's partnership with Samsung comes in.
Last year, AMD and Samsung entered a strategic partnership which was designed to deliver "low-power, high performance" graphics tech to the masses, merging AMD's RDNA graphics hardware with Samsung's already capable ARM SoCs. Together, both companies plan to deliver "groundbreaking graphics products", though this deal will take years to start bearing fruit.
While AMD has made ARM processors in the past, their focus with ARM was never on mobile platforms, making the mobile market an area which is practically inaccessible to the company. While AMD's new Zen 2 series of x86 processors are incredibly efficient, ARM-based CPUs are still the leaders of the mobile market, which means that AMD either needs to invest in ARM components or find a partner that can handle the ARM side for them. In this regard, Samsung is an ideal partner for AMD, as it will enable the company to get its graphics components into more areas of the market and secures additional funding for future GPU developments.