MediaTek Dimensity 9000: this SoC wants to drive out Snapdragons from high-end smartphones

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MediaTek recently announced Dimensity 9000, its new high-end SoC. Symbol of the new ambitions of the Taiwanese firm, it is based on the new ARMv9 architecture and inaugurates the 4 nm engraving of TSMC in smartphone processors.

The recent partnership between AMD and MediaTek is also that of two companies which are experiencing the same trajectory. Long in the shadow of their main competitors, they have taken their revenge and are now among the chip companies that progress the most. MediaTek even managed to dethrone Qualcomm in 2020 to become the world’s leading seller of chips for smartphones. A success that the semiconductor company owes above all to its entry-level and mid-range SoCs, rather than to the high-end segment. On 5G and premium models, the Taiwanese firm is still lagging behind Qualcomm’s Snapdragon (Snapdragon 870 or Snapdragon 888 and 888+), Samsung’s Exynos (like the Galaxy S21’s Exynos 2100) and even the Kirin Huawei 9000. Never mind, MediaTek is ready to shake up the hierarchy with its Dimensity 9000.

This new high-end processor wants to compete with the next premium chips from its main competitors. For this, MediaTek has decided to offer an all-in-one chip at the forefront of novelty and to inaugurate the 4nm engraving of TSMC. Called N4, the process of the Taiwanese founder – MediaTek compatriot and Apple partner who – promises interesting improvements, starting with a space saving of 6%. Faced with an “Android Flagship” that we assume to be a Snapdragon 888, MediaTek is announcing a CPU performance jump of up to 35%, as well as an increase in efficiency of 37%, reports AnandTech.

The characteristics of the Dimensity 9000. © MediaTek

ARMv9, 4 nm engraving, LPDDR5X … the Dimensity 9000 is full of new features

A tantalizing promise – which we will be sure to verify when the chip will equip Android smartphones – for a component that achieves several firsts in the industry. The Dimensity 9000 distinguishes itself by being based on the new ARMv9 architecture, a major development for the sector. The previous architecture, ARMv8, which you can find in most of your devices, celebrated its tenth anniversary and if the evolution to v9 is less striking than the transition from ARMv7 to v8, many improvements are in the program. For its Dimensity 9000, MediaTek has opted for a rather classic 1 + 3 + 4 processor configuration with a “performance” core clocked at 3.05 GHz (Cortex-X2), three cores at 2.85 GHz (Cortex-A710) and four others oriented “energy efficiency” clocked at 1.8 GHz (Cortex-A510), for a total of eight cores.

These three types of cores are accompanied by a Mali-G710 GPU which claims 35% better performance and 60% improved energy efficiency, again compared to the “flagship” chip in Android. Determined to stand out, the Dimensity 9000 is also the first SoC to manage LPDDR5X memory or to support Bluetooth 5.3. The 6th wifi is also in the game, but the MediaTek chip does not rely solely on raw power.

Its 18-bit HDR image processor (ISP) can support up to 9 gigapixels / second and manage sensors up to 320 Mpx. Still on the photo side, the Dimensity 9000 can support up to three 32-megapixel sensors simultaneously. Video is not left out with the possibility of decoding 8K videos at 60 frames per second in H.264 or H.265 and even playing 8K AV1 streams. The SoC is capable of displaying FHD + at 180 Hz and WQHD + up to 144 Hz.

The MediaTek Dimensity 9000 wants to establish itself in high-end smartphones in 2022. © MediaTek

Unsurprisingly, MediaTek also evokes tenfold “AI” performance with an announced increase of 400% compared to the current generation in terms of performance and energy efficiency. In this area, the target is the Tensor chip that Google has integrated into the Pixel 6 (+ 16% according to the Taiwanese company). As a reminder, the mission of artificial intelligence cores (NPU) is to process AI algorithms and play an important role – in addition to photo sensors – in the field of mobile photo and video. Artificial intelligence is also used to improve the quality of video calls (bokeh effect, noise reduction, etc.).

Less popular with the European or American public, MediaTek has decided not to wait for the competition and to position itself with the Dimensity 9000. The stakes are twofold for the firm which wishes to improve its image by positioning itself in all ranges of the market. smartphone. The top of the range remains a necessary step to achieve this and this presentation confirms that the supplier is doing everything to catch up, or even get ahead of its rivals. With the difficulties of HiSilicon (linked to Huawei), MediaTek knows that there is a place to take to finally be recognized and assert its leading position.

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