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MediaTek Announces First ‘True’ Octa-Core Chip

MediaTek has announced the world’s first ‘true’ octa-core mobile processor. By ‘true’, we mean the processor is capable on functioning on all its 8 cores at the same time. And no, the Exynos 5 chip on the Samsung Galaxy S4 cannot do that.

MediaTek Announced First ‘True’ Octa-Core Chip

There had been rumors in early July suggesting that MediaTek was developing an octa-core chip labelled “MT6592”. The launch was expected sometime around November, but it seems like they’re ahead of schedule.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a variant powered by its octa-core Exynos 5 chip. It is based on a specific type of CPU configuration called big.LITTLE (Cluster Migration), which allows only 4 cores to be active at any given time. For practical purposes therefore, the Galaxy S4 could be called a quad-core device.

MediaTek’s MT6952 runs a different implementation of the big.LITTLE configuration, allowing it to use all its 8 cores at the same time, getting you a significant boost in performance. This should make 3D gaming, web browsing, multitasking, and video playback a lot smoother and efficient. The chip has reportedly scored over 30,000 on the AnTuTu benchmark test. The best score we’d seen so far had been that of the Galaxy S4, which had managed about 27,000 with the Exynos 5.

The clock speed for the chip is expected to range between 1.7 Ghz to 2 Ghz, with 1080p video encoding capability at 30 fps. Mass production is expected to begin in November this year. The processor is reportedly being sent to handset manufacturers as a sample.

With 8 cores running all at once, battery life on devices may be a concern to many. However, MediaTek claims there would be no excessive battery consumption. On the contrary, the company claims that battery consumption for tasks such as HEVC video decoding would be about 18 percent lower than on current quad-core processors.

MediaTek is a major supplier of mobile processors and chips to other handset manufacturers. It currently supplies 50% of all low-end and mid-end processors for mobile phones, and is expected to overtake Qualcomm (which makes the Snapdragon family of processors) as the number one supplier in the world soon enough.

In related news, Samsung will soon be launching the successor to its current Exynos 5 chip. The new model – called the Exynos 5 5420, will succeed the Exynoys 5 5410 that powers some of the Galaxy S4s. The new model should be incorporating some known bug fixes, and shall integrate a new GPU for better graphics. However, the processor will still run on Cluster Migration – a certain implementation of the big.LITTLE configuration that does not allow more than 4 cores to run at any given point of time.

MediaTek won’t be complaining.