MediaTek is ready to enter the flagship Android phone race and challenge Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 with its latest processor. The Taiwanese company’s latest weapon is the MediaTek Dimensity 9300, which is based on the 4nm process and packs a cluster of four top-tier ARM cores, putting in a position to race ahead via brute performance.
Compared to its direct rival from Qualcomm (which only has one large prime core), the MediaTek chip goes with an even more ambitious core configuration. There are four ARM Cortex-X4 cores, one of which goes up to 3.25 GHz, while the other three are clocked at 2.85 GHz. For less demanding tasks, there’s a cluster of Arm Cortex-A710 cores.
That large core cluster flexes its might on synthetic benchmarks, with MediaTek claiming nearly double the performance on the Geekbench 6 test and an astounding tally of over 213,000 on the AnTuTu platform. On gaming-centric tests such as GFXBench, the company claims an even bigger lead.
The Dimensity 9300 can support screens maxing out at a 180Hz refresh rate, while 4K panels can refresh at up to the 120Hz mark. On the connectivity front, Wi-Fi 7 is part of the package. There’s also a dedicated security chip in place for securely booting the OS.
On the AI-specific innovation front, MediaTek’s latest flagship mobile processor comes with an AI engine that doubles the AI performance at certain metrics while also consuming 45% less energy. Dubbed APU 790, MediaTek claims it is eight times faster than its predecessor and can produce visual media in less than a second using Stable Diffusion’s text-to-image models.
The company has also tweaked the memory architecture and claims that it can run large language models with up to 13 billion parameters, “with scalability up to 33 billion.” For comparison, Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 can only run AI models with up to 10 billion parameters.
Just like its Qualcomm counterpart, MediaTek’s offering also supports mainstream multimodal large language models such as Meta’s Llama 2 and Baidu LLM, among others. But the focus is once again clear. MediaTek is following Qualcomm straight into the race for generative AI tasks covering text, visual media, and audio generation. With another chip company doubling down on AI, this could be even worse news for Google’s Pixel phones.
On the graphics front, the Dimensity 9300 relies on the new 12-core Immortalis-G720 GPU, which is said to be 46% faster and 40% more frugal at power consumption. MediaTek is also banking on gaming-centric perks like hardware-accelerated ray tracing that are touted to deliver a 60 frames-per-second (fps) gaming experience with console-grade lighting effects.
The image signal processor allows 4K HDR capture at up to 60 fps and real-time bokeh tracking in 4K videos. There’s nothing fancy such as AI-assisted object removal like with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, but the Dimensity 9300 banks on native capabilities such as AI-fueled object detection, dynamic quality adjustment in videos, and pixel-level autofocus.
MediaTek says the first phones powered by the Dimensity 9300 will arrive later this year. This time around, MediaTek seems to surpass Qualcomm at raw firepower, as well as a willingness to embrace AI chops that are all the rage these days. It would be interesting to see how many brands pick MediaTek over Qualcomm in 2024, and whether it can finally even the gulf when it comes to customer preference.
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Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
Using an Android phone showed me just how bad iOS notifications really are
I’ve been using an iPhone for over a decade. I received the original iPhone as a birthday present in 2008, and after just four months of use (without a case, of course), I dropped and cracked the screen. With the iPhone 3G about to launch, I decided to upgrade to that, and I’ve pretty much bought a new iPhone every year since — including the iPhone 14 Pro.
Before Apple added Notification Center in iOS 5, notifications were just alerts that would interrupt whatever it is you were doing, until you took action on it or dismissed it. And once you dismissed it, that was it — it vanished, never to be seen again, so you may have missed something important if you didn’t remember what it was.
MediaTek’s new Dimensity 8200 brings flagship performance to cheaper phones
MediaTek is adding a new sub-flagship mobile processor to its lineup, and this one comes up with some “core” upgrades. Say hello to the Dimensity 8200, which succeeds the Dimensity 8100 system on chip (SoC), and will soon be appearing inside a bunch of smartphones made by Chinese brands. It will go against the likes of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 SoC.
The latest offering from MediaTek wades right into the flagship territory by opting for TSMC’s 4nm process. Apple also had its mighty A16 Bionic (powering the iPhone 14 Pro) fabricated on the same 4nm tech. For comparison, the MediaTek 8100 is based on TSMC’s 5nm process.
The other key change is to the core architecture. The Dimensity 8100 offered a dual-cluster design that included four Cortex-A78 cores and an equal number of Cortex-A55 cores. The Dimensity 8200 is embracing a tri-cluster design, much like the top-tier Dimensity 9200 mobile processor and Qualcomm’s own flagships.
You get a single Cortex-A78 core buzzing at 3.1GHz alongside three slightly slower Cortex-A78 cores running at 3.0GHz. For less demanding tasks, there are four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 2.0GHz. The GPU remains unchanged, but MediaTek is adding a bit of extra grunt to the ARM Mali-G610 graphics engine by pairing it with next-gen HyperEngine 6.0 optimization tools.
MediaTek has also armed the Dimensity 8200 with the new Imagiq 785 chip to handle its camera capabilities, which allows 4K HDR video capture. The previous-gen Imagiq 780 ISP only offered support for 200-megapixel image capture, but its successor can go up to 320 million pixels worth of imaging data.
How MediaTek became the best-kept secret in smartphones
What kind of chipset is in your phone? If you’re reading this article, chances are you know the answer right off the top of your head. Maybe it’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, Google’s Tensor G2, or an A16 Bionic in your brand new iPhone 14 Pro. Or, just maybe, it’s one with a MediaTek logo on it.
MediaTek isn’t a company we talk about often when discussing U.S. smartphones, but it’s one we most certainly should. I recently attended MediaTek’s Executive Summit in Sonoma and had a chance to sit down with the company’s Deputy General Manager of its Smartphone Business Unit, Yenchi Lee. I’ve come away from the Summit with a renewed appreciation for MediaTek’s stealthy success over the years, as well as greater excitement about where it could go in the future.
Massive success hiding in plain sight
Global smartphone shipments from Q2 2020 through Q2 2022 Joe Maring/Digital Trends