MediaTek’s new chip just raised the bar for Android phones

MediaTek Dimensity 9300 is featured on Android phones.
Nadeem Sarwar/

MediaTek is ready to enter the flagship Android phone race And Challenge Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 with its latest processor. The Taiwanese company’s latest weapon is the MediaTek Dimensity 9300, which is based on a 4nm process and packs a cluster of four top-tier ARM cores, poised to deliver stellar performance.

Compared to its direct rival from Qualcomm (which only has one larger prime core), the MediaTek chip comes with an even more ambitious core configuration. There are four ARM Cortex-X4 cores, one of which goes up to 3.25 GHz, while the other three are clocked at 2.85 GHz. For less demanding tasks, there is a cluster of Arm Cortex-A710 cores.

That larger core cluster shows its strength on synthetic benchmarks, with MediaTek claiming almost double the performance on the Geekbench 6 test and an astonishing score of over 213,000 on the AnTuTu platform. On gaming-focused tests like GFXBench, the company claims an even bigger lead.

The Dimensity 9300 can support screens at a maximum 180Hz refresh rate, while the 4K panel can refresh up to the 120Hz mark. On the connectivity front, Wi-Fi 7 is part of the package. A dedicated security chip is also present to boot the OS securely.

Specifications of MediaTek Dimensity 9300 SoC.

On the AI-specific innovation front, MediaTek’s latest flagship mobile processor comes with an AI Engine that doubles the AI ​​performance on certain metrics while consuming 45% less energy. Called the APU 790, MediaTek claims it is eight times faster than its predecessor and can produce visual media in less than a second using the text-to-image model of Stable Diffusion.

The company has also changed the memory architecture and claims it can run larger language models with up to 13 billion parameters, “with scalability up to 33 billion.” For comparison, Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 can only run AI models up to 10 billion parameters.

Like its Qualcomm counterpart, MediaTek’s offering also supports mainstream multimodal large language models such as Meta’s Llama 2 and Baidu LLM. But the focus is once again clear. MediaTek is directly following Qualcomm in the race for generic AI tasks covering text, visual media and audio generation. With another chip company doubling down on AI, this could be even worse news for Google’s Pixel phones.

On the graphics front, the Dimensity 9300 relies on the new 12-core Immortalis-G720 GPU, which is said to be 46% faster and 40% more economical in terms of power consumption. MediaTek is also relying on gaming-focused features like hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which is said to deliver a 60 frames-per-second (fps) gaming experience with console-grade lighting effects.

The MediaTek Dimensity 9300 SoC inside the Android phone.
Nadeem Sarwar/

The image signal processor allows 4K HDR capture at up to 60 fps and real-time Bokeh tracking in 4K video. There’s nothing fancy like AI-assisted object removal like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, but the Dimensity 9300 builds on native capabilities like AI-fueled object detection, dynamic quality adjustments in video, and pixel-level autofocus.

MediaTek says the first phones powered by the Dimensity 9300 will arrive later this year. This time, MediaTek seems to be outdoing Qualcomm in terms of raw firepower, as well as willingness to adopt the AI ​​chops that are so popular these days. It will be interesting to see how many brands choose MediaTek over Qualcomm in 2024, and whether it can eventually bridge the gap in terms of customer preference.

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