MediaTek might not be well-known in the United States, but the company has been working to expand from China, where it had a 40% market share as of June 2015, into the global market. While 2015 saw the introduction of the 8-core Helio P10 and the 10-core helio X20 SoCs, the company continues to expand their lineup, today announcing the Helio P20 SoC.
There are a number of differences between the recent SoCs from MediaTek, beginning with the CPU core configuration. This new Helio P20 is a “True Octa-Core” design, but rather than a big.LITTLE configuration it’s using 8 identically-clocked ARM Cortex-A53 cores at 2.3 GHz. The previous Helio P10 used a similar CPU configuration, though clocks were limited to 2.0 GHz with that SoC. Conversely, the 10-core Helio X20 uses a tri-cluster configuration, with 2x ARM Cortex-A72 cores running at 2.5 GHz, along with a typical big.LITTLE arrangement (4x Cortex-A53 cores at 2.0 Ghz and 4x Cortex-A53 cores at 1.4 GHz).
Another change affecting MediaTek’s new SoC and he industry at large is the move to smaller process nodes. The Helio P10 was built on 28 nm HPM, and this new P20 moves to 16 nm FinFET. Just as with the Helio P10 and Helio X20 (a 20 nm part) this SoC is produced at TSMC using their 16FF+ (FinFET Plus) technology. This should provide up to “40% higher speed and 60% power saving” compared to the company’s previous 20 nm process found in the Helio X20, though of course real-world results will have to wait until handsets are available to test.
The Helio P20 also takes advantage of LPDDR4X, and is “the world’s first SoC to support low power double data rate random access memory” according to MediaTek. The company says this new memory provides “70 percent more bandwidth than the LPDDR3 and 50 percent power savings by lowering supply voltage to 0.6v”. Graphics are powered by ARM’s high-end Mali T880 GPU, clocked at an impressive 900 MHz. And all-important modem connectivity includes CAT6 LTE with 2x carrier aggregation for speeds of up to 300 Mbps down, 50 Mbps up. The Helio P20 also supports up to 4k/30 video decode with H.264/265 support, and the 12-bit dual camera ISP supports up to 24 MP sensors.
Specs from MediaTek:
- Process: 16nm
- Apps CPU: 8x Cortex-A53, up to 2.3GHz
- Memory: Up to 2 x LPDDR4X 1600MHz (up to 6GB) + 1x LPDDR3 933Mhz (up to 4GB) + eMMC 5.1
- Camera: Up to 24MP at 24FPS w/ZSD, 12bit Dual ISP, 3A HW engine, Bayer & Mono sensor support
- Video Decode: Up to 4Kx2K 30fps H.264/265
- Video Encode: Up to 4Kx2K 30fps H.264
- Graphics: Mali T-880 MP2 900MHz
- Display: FHD 1920×1080 60fps. 2x DSI for dual display
- Modem: LTE FDD TDD R.11 Cat.6 with 2×20 CA. C2K SRLTE. L+W DSDS support
- Connectivity: WiFiac/abgn (with MT6630). GPS/Glonass/Beidou/BT/FM.
- Audio: 110db SNR & -95db THD
It’s interesting to see SoC makers experiment with less complex CPU designs after a generation of multi-cluster (big.LITTLE) SoCs, as even the current flagship Qualcomm SoC, the Snapdragon 820, has reverted to a straight quad-core design. The P20 is expected to be in shipping devices by the second half of 2016, and we will see how this configuration performs once some devices using this new P20 SoC are in the wild.
Full press release after the break:
SPAIN, Barcelona – February 22, 2016 – MediaTek today announced the MediaTek helio P20 system-on-chip, an ultra-power saving SoC and the latest addition to its top-tier MediaTek helio family of mobile processors. The MediaTek helio P20 brings new experiences to consumers and design freedom to device makers by combining impressive battery life, powerful performance and premium features for the next generation of smartphones.
Following on the breakthrough success of the MediaTek helio P10, the MediaTek helio P20 offers 25 percent better power efficiency. The P20 chipset is manufactured using 16nm process technology, and is the world’s first SoC to support low power double data rate random access memory – LPDDR4X. In performance improvements, the SoC features upgraded CPU and GPU capabilities with its True Octa-Core architecture clocked up to 2.3GHz, taking full advantage of ARM Cortex A53 cores. The new Mali T880 graphics unit is clocked at a speedy 900MHz, perfect for demanding video and gaming apps, and is currently the highest end GPU offered by ARM.
“MediaTek designed the MediaTek helio P20 to meet today’s consumer demand for sleek, powerful yet highly power efficient mobile devices,” said Jeffrey Ju, Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer at MediaTek. “Consumers place increasing importance on the battery life and multimedia capabilities of their smartphones. MediaTek has risen to this challenge with a leading solution.”
MediaTek helio P20 has several connectivity advantages. It is equipped with MediaTek’s latest modem technology supporting WorldMode LTE Cat.6 and 2×20 carrier aggregation at 300/50Mbps data speeds. The SoC supports global Dual-SIM Dual Standby for seamless connectivity wherever a user goes. For regions where GSM is no longer available, the SoC will have simultaneous standby on WCDMA network. Additionally, MediaTek helio P20 supports LTE multimedia broadcast and multicast service. This allows mobile devices to receive HD video content over LTE.
For improved processing power and optimum battery performance, MediaTek helio P20 integrates LPDDR4X, providing 70 percent more bandwidth than the LPDDR3 and 50 percent power savings by lowering supply voltage to 0.6v, resulting in a quicker, smoother user experience for camera, video and gaming apps.
Another P20 highlight is the exclusive MediaTek Imagiq Image Signal Processor (ISP), which leverages the same design from MediaTek helio X20, to improve camera ease-of-use and picture and video quality. MediaTek Imagiq encompasses the latest ISP technologies to satisfy the most demanding smartphone photographers with features that include:
- Advanced 12bit Dual ISP supports Bayer and Mono sensors – elevates picture quality by effectively reducing noise and capturing three times more light than conventional Bayer + Bayer sensors
- Dual phase-detection autofocus – achieves real-time auto focus that is four times faster than traditional autofocus systems
- 3A HW engine upgrades for more natural, responsive and detailed photographs
- Powerful multi-scale temporal de-noising technologies – renders videos and photography more accurately, with less noise, even in low light
The MediaTek helio P20 is expected to be in commercial devices in the second half of 2016. More information can be found at: http://mediatek-helio.com/p20/
Partner quotes (in alphabetical order):
Samsung Electronics’ Chiwook Kim, vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering Team said : "Samsung’s new 6GB LPDDR4X, based on 20nm 12Gb mobile DRAM technology, combined with MediaTek helio P20 line-ups, will provide outstanding performance and power efficiency for video and gaming apps that require advanced multimedia functionality. Through our collaboration with MediaTek, we expect to accelerate the adoption of leading-edge mobile memory solutions like 6GB LPDDR4X, while offering greater energy efficiency and slimmer designs to enhance the user experience.”
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Since 1997, MediaTek has been a pioneering fabless semiconductor company and a market leader in cutting-edge systems-on-chip (SoC) for mobile devices, wireless networking, HDTV, DVD and Blu-ray. Our tightly-integrated, innovative chip designs help manufacturers optimize supply chains, reduce the development time of new products, and extend a competitive edge in crowded markets. Through MediaTek Labs, the company is also building a developer hub that will support device creation, application development, and services for the Internet of Things era. By building technologies that help connect individuals to the world around them, MediaTek is enabling people to expand their horizons and more easily achieve their goals. We believe anyone can achieve something amazing. And we believe they can do it every single day. We call this idea Everyday Genius and it drives everything we do. Visit mediatek.com for more information.