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  • Yash Rikame

MediaTek announces the Dimensity 1000, a 7nm high-end SoC with 5G integrated

n May, ARM announced the next-generation ARM Cortex-A77 CPU architecture and the ARM Mali-G77 GPU with the Valhall architecture. Only a few days later, MediaTek surprised the chip industry by announcing its first 5G SoC. The SoC incorporated both the Cortex-A77 CPU and the Mali-G77 GPU. MediaTek disclosed that the chip would be manufactured on a 7nm process, but further details about the SoC remained unknown. Now, nearly six months after its early announcement, MediaTek is ready to fill in the blanks, including the name of the SoC. The MediaTek Dimensity 1000 is the first SoC in the 5G Dimensity series, and it aims to bring MediaTek back to the flagship SoC market.

According to MediaTek, the first Dimensity powered devices will arrive on the market in Q1 2020.

The Dimensity name is intended to distinguish MediaTek’s 5G chip family from the Helio series of 4G SoCs. According to MediaTek, “Dimensity represents a step towards a new era of mobility – the fifth dimension – to spur industry innovation and let consumers unlock the possibilities of 5G connectivity”. The Dimensity 1000 SoC represents MediaTek’s return to the high-end SoC market, and it’s the company’s first flagship SoC since the Helio X30, which failed to find its way in most flagship phones in 2017.

MediaTek Dimensity 1000 – CPU, GPU, and AI Processing Unit

The MediaTek Dimensity 1000 has an octa-core (4+4) CPU. It has four ARM Cortex-A77 “big” cores clocked at 2.6GHz, with four ARM Cortex-A55 “little” cores clocked at 2.0GHz. The core configuration of the SoC is interesting as it’s a 4+4 configuration, while Samsung and Huawei’s HiSilicon both have a 2+2+4 configuration in the Exynos 990 and the Kirin 990 respectively. On the other hand, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 has a 1+3+4 CPU core configuration. MediaTek has thus opted not to have any medium core as all four A77 cores will be clocked at 2.6GHz. The 2.6GHz clock speed is right on target for TSMC’s 7nm (N7) process, and coupled with the 20-35% IPC improvements of the A77 architecture, the CPU performance of the Dimensity 1000 should be on par with, or even better than its flagship competitors.

MediaTek is the first vendor to use ARM’s Mali-G77 GPU, which has also made its way to the upcoming Exynos 990. The Kirin 990 has the older Mali-G76. MediaTek is using a 9-core version of the Mali-G77 (Mali-G77MP9), while the Exynos 990 has an 11-core variant.

The company is also promoting its 3rd generation AI Processing Unit (APU/NPU) for on-device AI operations, which has more than double the performance of MediaTek’s previous APU. It has two big cores, three little cores, and one “tiny” core. MediaTek fully supports the NNAPI features while its competitors have incomplete support, which helps its position in AI benchmarks.

In terms of memory specifications, MediaTek SoC supports 4-channel LPDDR4X memory, with a maximum of up to 16GB RAM.

MediaTek Dimensity 1000 – Connectivity

The Dimensity 1000 has an integrated 5G modem, which gives it a leg up over the Snapdragon 855 and the Exynos 990, although it’s a known fact that the next Snapdragon flagship SoC will also have an integrated 5G modem. This brings it level with the Kirin 990 5G. Having an integrated 5G modem delivers “significant power savings compared to competing solutions”, according to MediaTek.