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  • MediaTek X20 Benchmark Leaks: A Prelude to 2016 Mobile Chipset Wars?

    MediaTek is making waves, again. The company's flagship mobile system-on-chip (SoC)—Helio X20—is up against rivals like Apple, Qualcomm and Samsung, according to leaked Geekbench scores, and is leading in some of the performance benchmarks.

    And the leaked reports about MediaTek's upcoming SoC powerhouse have reached the media doorsteps when two of the mega industry events—Consumer Exhibition Show (CES) and Mobile World Congress (MWC)—are just around the corner. A coincidence? Maybe!

    Innovations in Memory Bitmapping-helio-x20-jpg
    Helio X20 mobile processor is leading in multi-core benchmarks

    Nevertheless, the Helio X20, which boasts 10 cores, has scored 7,037 in multi-core tests, which is higher than Apple A9, Snapdragon 810 and Exynos 7420 mobile chipsets. MediaTek's X20 is the first deca-core chipset in the mobile computing space. It has two Cortex-A72 clocked at 2.5 GHz for extreme performance; four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz for best performance with power balance; and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4 GHz for energy efficiency.

    MediaTek's Helio X20 chipset—announced in May 2015 as MT6797—is expected to be mass produced in the second half of 2016 and there is a lot of speculation about X20 powering the new smartphone models of Meizu and Xiaomi.

    Multi-core Score

    MediaTek's ambitious deca-core SoC is dubbed as "alps mt6797" in the leaked benchmark comparisons. The reports circulating on technology media show that flagship mobile chipsets have been benchmarked by Geekbench 3 for CPU stress test and GFXBench for GPU performance. Below are the key scores for multi-core tests.

    Helio X20: 7,037

    Kirin 950: 6,245

    Snapdragon 820: 5,400

    Apple A9: 4,578

    It's worth noting that some media reports are suggesting that Samsung's new Exynos 8890 mobile chipset has scored even higher than Helio X20 in multi-core tests. Though Geekbench scores for Exynos 8890 chipset are not available.
    Innovations in Memory Bitmapping-x20-architecture-jpg
    X-20 executes 10 cores in a tri-cluster architecture


    Single-core Score

    The single-core benchmark results don't corroborate with multi-core benchmarks, and here, Apple A9 mobile chipset takes a clear lead followed by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820. Some industry observers quote the single-core benchmarks to assert that ARM's new A72 core used in MediaTek's Helio X20 chipset may not be as powerful as the Apple A9 Twister core.

    Below are some of the single-core results.

    Apple A9: 2,576

    Snapdragon 820: 2,320

    Helio X20: 2,103

    Kirin 950: 1,871

    Innovations in Memory Bitmapping-mediatek-helio-x20-jpg
    X20 boasts powerful camera and sensor features

    Graphics Benchmarks

    MediaTek is also trailing in the graphics scorecard while it's X20 mobile chipset is sporting a quad-core ARM Mali-T880 GPU. Here, Snapdragon 820 leads the pack with its in-house Adreno 530 GPU, followed by the Exynos 8890′s Mali-T880, the same GPU used by MediaTek in X20.

    The fact that MediaTek is trailing behind Qualcomm, Samsung and Apple in GPU performance shows that work is cut out for it on the graphics side. Still, there are all indications that X20 chipset is going to be a mobile computing beast.

    And this brouhaha about Mediatek and its place in the "2016 mobile SoC wars" just shows how far the Hsinchu, Taiwan–based chipmaker has come from its early days of being a supplier of chipsets for cheap phones.

    Also read:

    MediaTek Breaks the 'Core' Barrier, Again

    MediaTek: Where Do I Go From Here?

    Majeed Ahmad is author of books Smartphone: Mobile Revolution at the Crossroads of Communications, Computing and Consumer Electronics and The Next Web of 50 Billion Devices: Mobile Internet’s Past, Present and Future.