Mediatek has just announced the Mediatek MT6732 system-on-chip (SoC), which comes with quad-core cluster of ARM A53 64-bit CPUs, a Mali-T760 GPU and in integrated LTE modem. Mediatek aims at getting market share in what it calls the “Super-mid” market, which it defines by “premium features at mainstream prices”. In 2014, this has become a priority for most chipmakers that I have met with, from Broadcom, to Qualcomm and NVIDIA.
The ARM Cortex A53 (codenamed Apollo) was announced back in 2012 as part of the A50-Series of CPU designs. A53 was designed as a small core which would provide better performance than 2012 ARM CPUs, but with a much greater power-efficiency (4X, according to ARM). The A50-Series is designed with 64-bit computing in mind, but retains a 32-bit code compatibility, which is critical to achieve time-to-market.
In terms of raw performance, each A53 core has been designed to match the performance of their older A9 cousins, but the power-efficiency and 64-bit capability sets them apart. So far, the ARM Cortex A53 seems to be the weapon of choice for chipmakers entering that “Super-mid” market. Mediatek is certainly not alone in this.
In addition to the quad-core cluster, Mediatek is using a Mali-T760 graphics processor (GPU) that ARM claims is 4X more power-efficient than the older T600-Series which was around in 2012 when the A53 CPU core was announced. We’ve reported on the Mali T760 back in October 2012, and are looking forward to see it in action. As with newer GPUs, it supports OpenGL 3.0 (which is more or less like a DirectX 9.3) OpenCL 1.2 for computing tasks and Google RenderScript which is also a general-purpose computing framework.
In terms of multimedia features, you will find the usual 1080p 30FPS video playback, but H.265 is now supported, which is nice to promote its use among video delivery systems. Mediatek’s new chip supports 13MP cameras and has uncommon features like picture-in-picture (PIP), video-in-video (VIV) or ClearMotion, a motion-smoothing technique based on interpolated frames that is usually found in televisions.
Finally, the integrated LTE Modem is the critical piece. Since this is a market segment where budget is important, so the integration of the modem allows gains in the bill of material (BOM) and the time it takes to assemble the parts. MediaTek’s modem supports LTE Category 4 (Cat 4) with a maximum theoretical speeds of 150Mbps (download) and 50Mbps (upload). Of course, it can fallback to HSPA+ and EDGE when LTE is not available. This level of modem performance is rapidly becoming the standard for phones that will be available only by the end of this year.