MediaTek’s Latest Generation SoCs Enable Greater Access To Leadership Performance

ANSHEL SAG

At MediaTek’s Executive Summit in Sonoma, which took place November 10th, 2022, the company announced many new processors that serve the company’s existing product offerings while widening the segments that the company’s customers can serve. Earlier in the week, the company announced its new flagship smartphone processor, followed by a chip for premium-tier TVs, a 5G modem for IoT and PCs, and low-cost Chromebook products. At the Executive Summit, I better understood these new products and how they fit into the industry.

MediaTek Dimensity 9200

The Dimensity 9000 series is MediaTek’s flagship series of processors, launched last year with the release of the Dimensity 9000. The Dimensity 9200 SoC, announced earlier this week in China, marks a significant evolution of the processor line. Leveraging a 2nd generation 4nm process node from TSMC, the new offering is jam-packed with the latest innovations from MediaTek and Arm.

The Dimensity 9200 SoC seeks to deliver the absolute best that Arm and MediaTek have to offer, all in one balanced and complete package. On the CPU side, it features Arm’s latest v9 cores in an 8-core configuration, with a single Cortex X3 operating at 3.05 GHz and three A715 cores at 2.85 GHz. Additionally, the SoC leverages four of the latest A510 cores at 1.8 GHz—all supported by 8MB of L3 cache. With that configuration, this is MediaTek’s first 64-bit-only SoC that utilizes Arm’s latest v9 architecture—the fastest and most secure Arm has to offer. Based on the GeekBench 5.0 benchmark, MediaTek claims that this new CPU design will deliver a 12% increase in single-core performance and a 10% increase in multi-core performance over the previous generation.

ANSHEL SAG

In addition to Arm’s latest CPU cores, the Dimensity 9200 also features Arm’s latest GPU, the Immortalis G715–an 11-core configuration that, for the first time, brings hardware ray tracing support to a MediaTek SoC. This follows Samsung’s support for hardware-accelerated ray tracing in the Exynos 2200 announced earlier this year. I expect this trend will continue within the industry, and we will see ray tracing gain additional momentum in devices next year (though the performance penalties for implementing ray tracing on smartphones have yet to come into focus). On the GPU side, MediaTek claims a 32% performance improvement over the Dimensity 9000 using GFX Bench’s Manhattan 3.0 benchmark, but that will likely vary from game to game.

This SoC will also be the first to support LPDDR5X 8533 MT/s memory, which is expected to deliver a memory bandwidth improvement of up to 13% over the previous generation. In addition to faster memory bandwidth, the Dimensity 9200 will also ship with MediaTek’s M80 modem integrated, giving it both Sub6 and mmWave 5G with a peak throughput of 7.9 Gbps. This modem will also purportedly enable 8x component carrier aggregation in mmWave bands and 4x in Sub6. In addition to the latest in 5G, the Dimensity 9200 is also equipped to support the latest in Wi-Fi technology, Wi-Fi 7. Leveraging MediaTek’s Filogic Wi-Fi technology, the company claims 170% better throughput than Wi-Fi 6 and 50% better coverage.

MediaTek says that the first OEM designs with the Dimensity 9200 will ship before the end of this year, which likely means December. It’s appropriate that the Dimensity 9200 launched in China, given that’s where the bulk of the processors will likely be shipping to. MediaTek already pre-announced many partner OEMs, including Oppo, Vivo, ASUS RoG, and Xiaomi. This represents a clean sweep of the biggest Chinese smartphone OEMs, putting it in the interesting position of potentially competing against Qualcomm in China. It remains to be seen exactly which of these OEM’s flagship devices will ship with the Dimensity 9200, but if the new SoC somehow ends up in all of them, it could be a real thorn in Qualcomm’s side.

Pentonic 1000

MediaTek’s new Pentonic 1000 chip is a follow-on to the company’s flagship TV processor, the Pentonic 2000. While MediaTek designed the latter for high-end 8K TVs, the Pentonic 1000 focuses more on delivering the latest technologies on 4K 120Hz HDR TVs, such as support for the VVC (H.266) and AV1 codecs. The Pentonic 1000 chip also promises top-tier connectivity, supporting HDMI 2.1, Wi-Fi 6E (and under), and 4x USB connectivity. MediaTek is also targeting the gaming segment with the Pentonic 1000, supporting VRR (variable refresh rate) in 4K up to 144 Hz. The new Pentonic 1000 SoC also supports Dolby Vision IQ’s Precision Detail feature, pairing it with MediaTek’s Intelligent View technology to enable a multi-view of multiple Dolby Vision video sources at the same time.

The Pentonic 1000 SoC features a multi-core CPU, dual-core GPU, a dedicated AI processing unit, high-performance connectivity, and a video decoding engine, all in a single chip. The Pentonic 1000 features MediaTek’s AI-SR (AI Super Resolution) technology, upscales 1080P content to look more like 4K to provide a higher-quality viewing experience. The SoC also features AI-PQ (AI Picture Quality) scene recognition and object recognition technology to further improve picture quality. Smart TVs with the Pentonic 1000 will be available in Q1 of 2023, bringing these exciting innovations to consumers very soon.

ANSHEL SAG

MediaTek T800 Modem

The T800 is the follow-up to MediaTek’s T700 modem, which launched in 2020 and found considerable success inside Intel’s 5G Solution 5000 (I have had the pleasure of experiencing the 5G Solution 5000 myself in HP’s fantastic new premium business laptop, the Dragonfly G3). MediaTek has positioned the new T800 as a thin modem solution for ‘5G experiences beyond smartphones’—things like Industrial IoT, M2M, and always-connected PCs. The new T800 supports mmWave 5G, which the T700 lacked. This indicates that the modem is likely a derivative of the M80 GPU architecture, in the same way, MediaTek built the T700 on M70. According to MediaTek, the T800 also delivers a considerable performance boost—peak download speeds of 7.9 Gbps (identical to the M80 and Dimensity 9200) and upload speeds of 4.2 Gbps. This is nearly double the throughput of the T700, which was only capable of up to 4.7 Gbps downlink and 1.5 Gbps uplink. The T800 will also support 4x CA plus mixed duplex FDD/TDD support, as well as support for 5G dual sim DSDS depending on the OEM requirements. MediaTek did not give a timeline for when we could expect the new T800 to ship in devices, but I would expect they will arrive sometime next year alongside a new Intel platform.

Kompanio 520 and 528

Last but certainly not least, MediaTek expanded its Kompanio series with two new offerings—the Kompanio 528 and 528. MediaTek currently has three Kompanio SoCs tiers for its Chromebook customers: 1200/1300, 800, and 500. The Kompanio 500 series sits at the ‘entry level’ Chromebook category, roughly in the $200-$300 price range. While Chromebooks are experiencing a slowdown due to aggressive purchasing during the pandemic, they are due for an upgrade with updated chipsets. I don’t think this category of devices is going anywhere, considering how critical Chromebooks have proven to be for education. The new Kompanio 520 and 528 feature two of Arm’s Cortex A76 cores within an eight-core design and an upgraded dual-core Mali G52 MC2 GPU design. The two A76 cores operate at 2GHz in the Kompanio 520 while clocking slightly higher at 2.2 GHz in the Kompanio 528.

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Given that the Kompanio 500 featured Arm’s much older A73 CPU core and a G72 dual-core GPU design, there are upgrades across the board as the G52 GPU brings a claimed performance uplift of 25%. MediaTek also says that both Kompanio 520 series chips will support eMMC 5.1 for storage and LPDDR4x with a maximum frequency of 3733 MHz. The video capabilities of these two chips are capped at 2560 x 1080 at 60Hz for display and 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps for video encoding. Overall, these two chips will be very welcome for entry-level Chromebooks, especially as OEMs look to offer competitively priced solutions in this market.

ANSHEL SAG

Wrapping up…

MediaTek is firing on all cylinders across its many different product segments. While there has been some slowing in the smartphone and PC sectors, MediaTek does have some very compelling products. The Dimensity 9200 is, without a doubt, MediaTek’s most complete, highest-performing, and competitive offering yet. MediaTek has done an incredible job of integrating the best of MediaTek with the best of Arm in the new SoC, as evidenced by the OEM momentum we’re already seeing in China. I also believe the T800 is a welcome addition to MediaTek’s portfolio, given the likelihood that 5G-connected PCs (and other non-smartphone segments) will only continue to grow as a category. MediaTek also surprised everyone at the show by announcing that it built custom ASICs for Sony’s upcoming PlayStation VR2, including the headset and controllers. Overall, it is great to see MediaTek offering competitive products like these. I can’t wait to get OEM devices in my hands to evaluate MediaTek’s performance and power claims.