MediaTek announces world’s first 4G LTE octa-core processor, can it challenge Qualcomm?

by: Gary SimsFebruary 11, 2014

MediaTek MWC 2013 -3MediaTek is continuing to bring the fight directly to Qualcomm, this time with its announcement of its new 4G LTE octa-core processor. A few months back MediaTek started shipping its eight core MT6592 processor and according to tests I ran on the ThL T100S, the chip is faster for CPU only operations (not GPU) than many of the top processor models from Qualcommn and Samsung. The new chip which MediaTek has announced should be even faster.

The MT6595 is another octa-core processor capable of using all eight cores simultaneously (known as Heterogeneous Multi-Processing  or HMP) but rather than using eight Cortex-A7 cores (like the MT6592) the new processor uses four ARM Cortex-A17 cores plus four Cortex-A7 cores. The Cortex-A17 has just been announced by ARM and can be clocked at speeds over 2GHz. It is thought that the MT6595 will clocks its A17 cores at somewhere between 2.2 and 2.5GHz and run the A7 cores at 1.7GHz. The chip will also use an Imagination Technologies PowerVR Series6 GPU which means it should perform much better in the graphics department than the Mali-450 based MT6592.

However, MediaTek has a few more tricks up it sleeves than just octa-core processing and a better GPU. The new MT6595 includes an integrated 4G LTE multi-mode modem with support for category 4 FDD and TDD LTE. The modem also supports 2G and 3G networks and according to MediaTek the device will work with over 30 3GPP RF bands meaning it will support the various LTE bands from around the world.

But there is more, the MT6595 also supports H.265 in hardware. That means that the processor can handle H.265, H.264 and VP9 playback at Ultra HD resolutions (4K2K). The MT6595 also supports camera up to 20MP. Other interesting features are support for Wi-Fi 802.11ac and the inclusion of a multi-GNSS positioning subsystem that works with GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo and QZSS

'Congratulations to MediaTek on being in a leading position to implement the new ARM Cortex-A17 processor in mobile device', said Noel Hurley, Vice President and Deputy General Manager, ARM Product Division.

MediaTek has made significant inroads into the Asian smartphone market and has had some impact on the worldwide tablet market. However the inclusion of an LTE modem and worldwide frequency support means that MediaTek is serious about taking on the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung.

The key to MediaTek’s success in Asia has been pricing. Without the R&D costs of Qualcomm (which designs its own cores as well as using the Cortex designs from ARM) the company has been able to make low to mid-range processors for smartphones that retail at less than $150.

Samples of the MT6595 will be commercially available during the first half of 2014, and smartphones using the processor are expected in the second half of this year. For me, I am looking forward to seeing some MediaTek powered LTE phones coming out of China. MediaTek could also get big wins with companies like Lenovo (the new owners of Motorola), ZTE and Huawei. Also I am keen to see if any of the other brands like LG, Sony, Asus etc pick up the MT6595.

What about you, would you buy a MediaTek powered LTE smartphone? Do you think MediaTek can become a true alternative to Qualcomm?

  • MasterMuffin

    Dev support is below zero, so I personally don’t want any MT devices

  • tanchoo

    My quadcore MTK-6589 has been running alright for 7months now. No sign of slowing down or terrible lag. Everything is running smoothly like the first day I got it. My new phones will have this Meditek processor ;)

    • Tuấn Ankh

      I have a phone with that chip, too. It’s good for web browsing, facebook and stuff. It sucks when it comes to gaming though.

  • renz

    most lenovo phones and tablet are using mediatek chip. so since they got moto now will they opt for mediatek chip for motorola phones instead of qualcomm chip in the future?

  • Brendon Brown

    OEMs won’t take Media Tek ..

    • min009

      You sure about that? Almost every phone in China has a MediaTek.

      • Brendon Brown

        They’ll go for Qualcomm, trusted brand because its got such a good track record.

        • wezi427

          I think price will have an influence, but I personally would prefer a Qualcomm chip set because it is a trusted brand. Competition is a good thing.

  • Guest123

    Getting some LTE competition for Qualcomm is a big deal, especially considering the generally low price of mediatek chips.

  • Shark Bait

    in terms of preformance no

  • min009

    So I assume this support LTE band in U.S.A also?

  • Roberto Tomás

    MediaTek can probably get 34-39k just from the clock speed difference going to the A17. Add in faster memory controller, next gen (or even current gen) GPU, and faster RAM, and you might see over 40k

    Thing is, for me the CPU wars are over. Even mediocre CPUs perform enough for daily web use and web-based office work. The current iphone has as much processing power per core as my previous desktop PC did per core… it’s just not necessary.

    • Alvaro Valencia

      my MT unit has near Note III antutu score but performance is better when I use the units for hours MT is stable lowering to 30K and stay there to the end of the day

  • filaos

    I don’t understand why this kind of mid range component generates so much fuss. Cortex A17 is said to obtain 60% more performance than CortexA9. Krait 400, Tegra 4 and Apple Cyclone are way better cores and they’re already well into their life cycle.

  • Groud Frank

    I don’t root or flash ROMs so I’m not worried about developer support for phones with MT SoC. What I am worried about is MT providing long term software support for the SoC so that we don’t get the Galaxy Nexus excuse when updated versions of Android are pushed out. MT also has to make the chip adorable for OEMs. Qualcomm has the monopoly and as such they also have money. Money they can throw into R&D to make better products. They also have a solid brand as well as experience. It will be a tough battle for MT. I think they should partner with nVidia or some other semiconductors to really take the fight to Qualcomm.

    • Alvaro Valencia

      I can not afford qualcomm to expensive range price U$700 wowwwwwwwwwwww
      So I have to use MT range price 100 to 320 U$dollars. therfore no choice for me cry cry cry

      • Groud Frank

        Yes, poor me and my low-end Galaxy Note 3.

  • apianist16

    It’s good that Mediatek is around, but they are to Qualcomm what AMD is to Intel.

  • Alvaro Valencia

    I remember when Sony portable radios where considered Japanese junk.

  • maxinthefax

    it reminds me of intel pentium and celeron when you compare both. i’ll choose qualcomm any f**** day