MediaTek leaps into flagship phones with cutting-edge 4nm Dimensity 9000 chip

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“The Dimensity 9000 is a flagship chip, the first in a series of flagship chips, and MediaTek’s first real attempt at a truly dominant segment of the market.”

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This is how Finbar Moynihan, MediaTek’s Vice President of Corporate Marketing, described the new Dimension 9000 for Nerdshala in an interview ahead of the company’s annual summit in California this week. The company is better known for its mid- to high-end chipsets at the moment, so to leapfrog into the flagship arena, it has launched the most technologically advanced phone chip we have seen yet.

Dimension 9000

The Dimensity 9000 is the first smartphone chip to be made using a 4nm process, and the first to use ARM Cortex X2 core, which is based on the recently announced ARM V9 architecture. The ARM Cortex X2 runs at up to 3.05GHz, and is connected to three 2.85GHz Cortex A710 cores and four Cortex A510 cores. For graphics, the Dimensity 9000 is the first to use ARM’s Mali G710 graphics processing unit (GPU), and upgraded MediaTek’s AI processing unit (APU) with four performance cores and two flexible cores. Additionally, the Dimensity 9000 will have a total of 14MB of cache, placing it closer to a PC-level chipset, but in a smartphone.

MediaTek Dimension 9000 Chip.

An 18-bit image signal processor (ISP) will be able to support cameras up to 320-megapixel, and record 4K resolution video with HDR on three cameras at the same time. While the game studio introduces cutting-edge graphics technology for mobile games, the GPU will support raytracing, and it will also support screens with a refresh rate of up to 180Hz. On the connectivity side the Dimensity 9000 is the first with Bluetooth 5.3, and is working on the latest 3GPP Release 16 standard with a 5G modem.

Moynihan put it all in context, saying:

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“All together, the Dimension 9000 should match the Apple A15 Bionic” [which is built using a 5nm process] in multi-core benchmark tests, and reach an AnTuTu score of over one million for the first time ever. ,

chip manufacturing

What benefits will a smartphone chip manufactured using the 4nm process offer us as phone users, and how much more is a step ahead of what we have now? Unless you’re deeply versed in the world of semiconductors, the benefits of owning a phone with a chip manufactured using the 4nm process probably won’t be obvious. Moynihan explained more, and how far ahead we have with what we have now.

“These chips are massively complex,” he said of the challenge of making the Dimension 9000. “Being Next to TSMC” [the foundry that makes the chips] Helps in Taiwan, as it requires very close cooperation. Seven-nanometer chips were a major nod to TSMC and 6nm chips take advantage of the same process, but bring benefits in slightly smaller sizes and slightly better power consumption. Five-nanometer is similar, and there is a lot of shared technology between the five and 4 nm process, but 4 nm brings some power and speed benefits and we are on the bleeding edge of it.”

What will this mean for the phone powered by the Dimension 9000? The full 4nm chip with all its advancements is more powerful than the current flagship phone processor, and will also be more power efficient. As it is the first to use the ARM Cortex X2, it can currently only be compared to chips with the Cortex X1, where MediaTek offers a 35% performance boost and the same level of power efficiency and graphics performance gains. guesses. The decision to invest in higher cache will also prove beneficial, with the expectation that it will increase performance by up to 7% and reduce bandwidth for more efficient power consumption.

“It is a huge step forward, but when the true competitor products come out next year, comparisons will be made. That said, based on our architecture and TSMC’s process, we think we will maintain power efficiency gains next year, but the performance gap may close,” Moynihan said.

The Dimension 9000 also supports MediaTek’s Dimension 5G Open Resource Architecture (DORA) program, where manufacturers can better customize the chip to hardware and software needs.

continued success

The launch of the Dimension 9000 is a trustworthy move from MediaTek, which as a company has seen a lot of success in the recent past.

“MediaTek achieved the number one mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) market share position in the third quarter of last year, and we haven’t given up on it,” Moynihan said. “We’ve grown and expanded on that over the past few quarters and we think we’re trending toward about 43% market share overall for the year. The main driver for that has been the 4G to 5G transition. We saw our Is 5G Shipments more than tripled this year. We think we’re going to end the year with about 28% market share overall 5G,

OnePlus Nord 2 held in hand, can be seen from behind.
Dimension 1200 processor is inside the OnePlus Nord 2. Andy Boxel/Nerdshala

It posted revenue of $8 billion in 2019, and this year the figure is expected to more than double to $17 billion, of which 57% comes from its mobile phone (feature phone and smartphone) business, indicating that the company How important is it. , Outside of phones, MediaTek is a leader in smart TV chips, and also supplies smart home products, laptops and hardware such as Wi-Fi routers.

35% of Android phones shipped in the US are powered by MediaTek, helped by Samsung and Motorola now producing devices with the firm’s chips, and various pre-paid phones branded by carriers such as MetroPCS’ Reval models. Brands like OnePlus, Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi work with MediaTek internationally.

Next Step

The launch of the Dimension 9000 marks a turning point in the recent history of MediaTek. When it introduced the Dimensity 1000 and committed to 5G in 2019, it did so at a steady pace, initially releasing phones with the chip in China and markets where MediaTek already had a strong presence. Later versions of the chip entered the global market with phones like the OnePlus Nord 2.

“For this platform we expect China and some of the markets where Chinese OEMs ship globally to be the dominant location. It does not support mmWave, so it is not really for the US high-end market . We will have mmWave coming, but it is further down the road,” Moynihan said, indicating that it will take the same approach with the 9000 series as it did with the 1000 series.

“It’s a multi-year investment,” he continued. “You will see us grab a certain market share of flagships this year, and then build on that and attack the global flagship space going forward. We will launch mmWave with US carriers in 2022, possibly in the upper mid-range range. In devices. We’ll build from that and expand with further generations of the Dimension 9000. It’s a part of the market that we haven’t really had much of in the past, maybe nibbling on the edges with things like the Dimension 1200, but The Dimension 9000 is in a different league. Think of it as the beginning of MediaTek’s journey in the flagships from where we are strong, and we will continue to grow from there.”

MediaTek’s key partners are already developing smartphones inside the Dimensity 9000, and the company expects the first devices to be announced and the latter to ship around March 2022.

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