MediaTek has for long been considered the driving force behind affordable smartphones, especially those from Indian manufacturers...
MediaTek has for long been considered the driving force behind affordable smartphones, especially those from Indian manufacturers. However, with the recently launched Lenovo Vibe X2, a phone that is capable of raking up benchmark scrores never before seen in smartphones, the fabless semiconductor company from Taiwan, is finally pushing towards the top league. Finbarr Moynihan, general manager, corporate sales international, MediaTek, tells Nandagopal Rajan about the company’s new true octa core and how it is pushing the envelope. Excerpts:
How is the new octa-core processor different from what MediaTek has produced so far?
We introduced true octa core technology late last year with the launch of the MT6592. Our recent chipset, the MT6595, is the world’s first octa core 4G LTE system on chip (SoC) and has recently been commercialised in India. MediaTek MT6595 is based on the ARM ‘big.LITTLETM’ architecture, with four high-performance Cortex-A17 and four energy efficient Cortex-A7 processors. It embeds MediaTek CorePilot heterogeneous multiprocessing technology which unlocks the full power of all eight processors for outstanding performance with ultra-low power consumption.
Our octa-core solutions have either taken advantage of eight so-called ARM LITTLE cores (Cortex A7 in the case of MT6592 in late 2013); combination of ARM big.LITTLE configuration in the case of our more recent MT6595 that combine 4x Cortex A17 + 4x Cortex A7 cores or in the newly announced MT6795, eight of the ARM v8 64-bit cores. These offer a range of performance points that enables us to deliver octa-core performance—not only for the premium range of products, but also for high-end affordable products also.
Is MediaTek entering the big league with the true octa-core processor?
The MT6595 is a premium product and is designed to power the high-end devices. The high-end of the market has been dominated by a couple of players only and we believe that segment can be disrupted. MediaTek will continue to offer products in all segments, from entry-mid to high-end but this product is certainly a premium segment product. The product supports highly advanced multi-media features, empowered by MediaTek ClearMotion and MediaTek MiraVision technologies, which place it at upper end of the spectrum. Indeed, a recent report by AnTuTu ranking the best performing smartphones for Q3’14 ranked the Meizu M4 smartphone, based on the MT6595, as the best performing device.
How is it able to achieve such high benchmarks, performance ratings?
MediaTek’s MT6595, based on the ARM ‘big.LITTLE’ architecture, includes Release 9, Category 4 dual-mode LTE for worldwide 4G-network compatibility. It also features a 2560 x 1600 (WQXGA) display controller and a 20-megapixel image signal-processor for high-quality smartphone digital camera applications. Comprehensive wireless connectivity is also offered (802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, multi-system GNSS and ANT). All these features combined with MediaTek’s CorePilot, ClearMotion and MiraVision technologies make it a unique product, enabling high benchmarks and performance ratings.
CorePilot is MediaTek’s proprietary technology for optimally managing multi-core CPU systems that maximises performance and power saving with interactive power management, adaptive thermal management and advanced scheduler algorithms. ClearMotion is another MediaTek’s technology that enables devices to smoothly upscale video (at 24fps or 30fps) and play it back at the full frame rate supported by the mobile display to offer a richer, smoother and more enhanced viewing experience for the user.
Then, MiraVision is a collection of MediaTek technologies for enhancing the display picture quality, colour and power performance. Like everything it does, MediaTek strives to deliver the best possible performance at the right price point for each segment—with the MT6595, we were the first to integrate the new Cortex CA17 into a mobile platform—which offers significantly better power- performance that previous ARM cores.
Is this going to be at the cost of price advantage MediaTek processors gave OEMs?
We always give our customers complete turnkey solutions in a form which require minimum time-to-market. This is premium product but we are delivering it to our customers in the classic MediaTek fashion. We interpret the solution as much as we can and provide complete reference designs so that customers can make their products fast. We enable all the multimedia features, so customers can turn them on very quickly. So, all these services and product customisation still provide maximum advantage to our customers, including reduced product designing cost.
Besides the Lenovo Vibe X2, which other phones are going to have this processor now?
We are in talks with all our leading brands, and hopefully should see some more products powered by MT6595 by early next year.
Are more top-end processors in the offing?
MediaTek has and will continue to offer products in all segments from entry-mid to premium. The MT6595 is of course one of our more premium offerings in the LTE segment, and we shall look to offer our entire range of LTE solutions in India over the next year. In July, we announced the MT6795 platform that will bring 64-bit CPU processing capability to the same premium segment that the MT6595 targets. We expect this flagship smartphone SoC to be delivered in India by year-end or early next year.
The SoC features MediaTek’s CorePilot technology providing world-class multi-processor performance and thermal control, as well as dual-channel LPDDR3 clocked at 933MHz for top-end memory bandwidth in a smartphone. The high-performance SoC also satisfies the multimedia requirements of even the most demanding users, featuring multimedia subsystems that support many technologies never before possible or seen in a smartphone, including support for 120Hz displays and the capability to create and playback 480 frames per second (fps) 1080p Full HD Super-Slow Motion videos.