Mediatek, along with Qualcomm, is one of the largest suppliers of chipsets for smartphones. And if earlier the company’s strategy provided mainly for the production of SoCs of the middle and lower classes, since the end of 2019, the development of the high-performance Mediatek Dimensity line has been gaining more and more popularity. What are the features of these processors, and can they compete on equal terms with Qualcomm products?
Mediatek is a company with a long history dating back to 1997. The first series of processors released was the MT62xx for push-button smartphones based on the then-popular ARM v5 architecture. With the advent of the Android operating system on the market, in 2010, a couple of new processors with the ARM v6 architecture came out from under the pen of Mediatek. And a little more than a year later – and the first-born with the ARM v7 architecture and a frequency of 1 GHz, which opened the door to the world of many budget smartphones.
For many years, the company’s strategy in the production of SoC for smartphones has remained unchanged. Models of low and middle class were produced, the top models of the Helio line competed in performance only with the “middle peasants” of the direct competitor. Everything changed at the end of 2019, when a new line of systems on a chip called Dimensity was first introduced to the eyes of the world.
For the first time for the manufacturer, the new line was positioned as a flagship. Including the emphasis was on the gaming capabilities of the new SoC. The past Helio line has traditionally had good overall performance, but the GPU was often much weaker than the models of Qualcomm’s direct competitor. The Dimensity line began to have more productive GPU configurations, especially in older models.
Particular attention was paid to the energy efficiency of new models. If the latest Helio models were produced according to 12 nm standards, then the new line from the very beginning of its existence moved to 7 nm process technology, and the latest models – to 4/5/6 nm. This made the processors more competitive, since before, almost all SoCs opposed to the competitor were produced using thicker technical processes, consumed more energy and drained the battery faster.
A key feature of the entire line was the presence of built-in 5G modems. This allows you to abandon external modems, reducing the power consumption of the platform, as well as provide even inexpensive devices with 5G support at no additional cost.
6.5″ Smartphone Poco M3 Pro 64 GB blue 22 999 *
Separation of models
At the announcement, the first Dimensity models were positioned as SoCs with high performance, which hinted at their use in flagship smartphones. However, with the increase in the number of models within the line, a division has appeared, which implies the use of models with a certain numerical index in smartphones of different price categories. At the moment, SoC Dimensity are divided into series:
● Dimensity 700. The youngest series for mid-range devices. It is designed to take the performance of mainstream smartphones to a new level, providing them with ubiquitous 5G support.
● Dimensity 800. Medium series designed to provide high performance devices at a moderate final price of the latter.
● Dimensity 900. Sub-flagship series for high-end smartphones.
● Dimensity 1000 . The flagship series for the most productive smartphones, has the fastest CPU and GPU.
● Dimensity 8000 and 9000. New lines introduced at the end of 2021, which include three models – one top and two pre-top. The key feature is the transition of the 9000 model to the new ARM v9 architecture compared to the eighth version of its predecessors, as well as the fifth generation LPDDR memory interface for all three models. The first smartphones based on these SoCs will be released in 2022.
6.6″ Smartphone Samsung Galaxy A22S 128 GB black 21 999 *
The CPUs of all models have eight cores. But the configuration of productive and economical cores is different for each model.
Models of the younger 700 line have two high-performance A76 cores and six economical A55 cores. In the 800 line, the processors are different. Models 800U and 810 have a similar configuration of cores. Models 800 and 820, which include four fast A76s and four economical A55s, have a more productive one.
The SoC 900 line, like the younger one, has two fast and six economical cores. But the productive cores have been replaced with faster A78s. Therefore, processor performance, especially single-threaded, is noticeably higher.
6.4″ Smartphone realme 9 Pro+ 256 GB green 39 999 *
The flagship 1000 line is equipped with four fast cores and the same number of economical ones. The Dimensity 1000 processor and its varieties with the Plus, C and L indices have four A77 and A55 cores each. The newest 1100, 1200 and 1300 processors have replaced the performance cores with the A78.
The latest 8000 and 9000 series processors are based on different cores. In the 8000 series, four A78 and A55 are still used, as in the latest models of the 1000 line. But the 9000 model uses one ultra-fast X2 core, three fast A710s and four energy-efficient A510s. This will bring the model close in performance to Qualcomm’s 2022 flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
The GPU models differ in both performance and architecture.
The 700 and 800 series lines use ARM Mali G57 on the first version of the architecture called Valhall. The models differ in the number of GPU cores. So, the 700 and 810 models have two of them. The 720 and 800U have three, the 800 has four. And, finally, the oldest 820 has as many as five.
The same graphics processor is used by the youngest processor of the 1000 series – the 1000C model. The rest of the 1000 series models have the more advanced Mali G77. True, the graphic architecture is of the same generation. Unlike the younger G57, there is an increased cache for each GPU core, which contributes to better performance with the same number of cores. Model 1000L has seven such cores, all the rest have nine.
But the SoC 900 series GPUs already use the second version of the Valhall architecture with optimized performance. Graphics Mali G68, like G77, has an increased cache for the GPU cores, of which there are four.
6.44″ Smartphone Vivo V23 5G 256 GB black 59 999 *
The latest 8000 and 9000 series processors are equipped with GPUs on the third, latest at the moment, version of the Valhall architecture. Among its features is increased performance per clock compared to previous generations. The 8000 and 8100 models are equipped with six Mali G610 graphics cores, while the 9000 model is equipped with a dozen cores of the highest performing ARM graphics – Mali G710.
RAM and ROM
RAM support for SoCs of different lines is different. The 700 and 800 series operate with two LPDDR4x links with a total bandwidth of 17 Gb/s. The 1000 series of memory channels already have four – respectively, and the throughput grows to 30-34 Gb / s, depending on the model.
Chips of the 900 series, like the younger ones, have two channels, but with support for two types of memory – both LPDDR4x and the newer and LPDDR5. The new processors of the 8000 series have exclusively support for the latter, moreover, in a four-channel mode. Well, the only 9000 series processor is equipped with both LPDDR5 support and the latest LPDDR5x, thanks to which the memory bandwidth can increase to an incredible 60 Gb / s.
SoCs also differ in the ability to connect permanent memory. The younger lines 700 and 800, as well as models numbered 1000 – regular and with indexes Plus, C and L – are limited by the ability to connect UFS version 2.2 memory. The rest of the models work with more modern and faster UFS 3.1 memory.
6.67″ Smartphone Xiaomi 11T 128 GB gray 39 999 *
In total, the Mediatek Dimensity line now includes almost two dozen models, and this list is constantly updated with new products. The range includes a wide selection of SoCs with medium to high performance. That is why manufacturers of different brands based on Dimensity processors already have the widest selection of smartphones suitable for any task and fit into any budget. The table below provides information on the average performance of each SoC model in Antutu and Geekbench benchmarks, as well as approximate performance analogues from the main competitor Qualcomm Snapdragon.
Smartphones with some SoCs were released only for the Chinese market. Such models are marked with the letter (c) in the table. For other smartphones, global versions are indicated. Examples of smartphones
1241/4173 (expected) Not released yet Snapdragon 8 Gen1
Regardless of the price category and specific model, devices based on Mediatek Dimensity have good performance in their price range, 5G support and energy-efficient SoCs produced using modern technical processes. Thanks to this, for the first time in history, devices based on Mediatek processors can compete in many aspects with the older Snapdragon processor series of their longtime rival Qualcomm.