MediaTek vs Snapdragon: Everything you should know about the two companies

A Qualcomm Snapdragon render.

Huawei and Samsung are two of the best Android producers often generating in-house processors. Everyone else turns to Qualcomm and MediaTek for his or her cell chip wishes.

The two companies had been the dominant third-party chipset suppliers for a number of years now, following the withdrawal of avid gamers like Texas Instruments, Intel, and ST-Ericsson’s NovaThor.

We’ve put in combination a at hand primer on the MediaTek vs Qualcomm, masking their variations and explanation why an organization would go for one or the different.

CPU era

The Snapdragon 845 chipset.

When it involves the all-important CPUs, Qualcomm has a historical past of constructing its personal Kryo cores. Since 2017, alternatively, the corporate has settled on semi-custom designs (dubbed Kryo Gold or Kryo Silver). These designs are in response to same old Arm CPU cores, with a couple of tweaks for energy intake and function.

Meanwhile, MediaTek makes use of same old Arm CPU cores for its processors, with out editing them to the similar stage as Qualcomm.

Qualcomm makes use of the newest and largest Arm CPU cores each time they’re to be had, as is the case with the new Snapdragon 675. MediaTek hasn’t used Arm’s newest cores but (Cortex-A76, A75, and A55), content material to make use of legacy cores for now.

The lengthy and wanting it’s Qualcomm and MediaTek each use the similar CPU cores, however Qualcomm has a tendency to undertake new cores at a quicker tempo.

GPUs: Qualcomm’s secret weapon?

GPUs are Qualcomm’s largest merit, due to its secretive Adreno graphics era. This was once borne out of Qualcomm’s acquisition of AMD’s hand held graphics chip trade (Adreno is an anagram of Radeon, AMD’s graphics logo).

Arm’s Adreno GPUs not too long ago trumped Arm’s Mali GPUs in benchmarks — simply examine graphics benchmarks of the Qualcomm-powered Galaxy S9 and its Exynos-powered variant (which makes use of Arm GPU tech).

Manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei usually decide to easily use extra Arm Mali GPU core to scale back the hole to Qualcomm’s .

Arm’s new Mali-G76 GPU is a large improve, in idea targetting laptop-class efficiency. Qualcomm clearly received’t be status nonetheless, so we sit up for the corporate’s subsequent flagship chip bulletins in December.

Machine finding out

A MediaTek Helio P60 sign.

Qualcomm has been harnessing its Hexagon virtual sign processor (DSP) for device finding out duties in recent times. The DSP most often handles duties associated with audio, pictures, and connectivity, however the corporate has tuned the chip (at the side of its CPU and GPU) for device finding out. In different phrases, the corporate doesn’t have a devoted AI chip in the similar means Apple and Huawei has, however it sort of feels to do the task smartly.

The top-end Hexagon 685 DSP is to be had on the likes of the Snapdragon 845, Snapdragon 710, Snapdragon 670, and the Snapdragon 675. So duties like symbol popularity and different sorts of offline inference should get a spice up on telephones with those chips.

MediaTek, on the different hand, has presented a devoted AI processing unit (APU) to mid-range telephones with the release of the Helio P60 chipset. The APU brings options like sensible scene popularity, higher facial popularity, and extra to mid-range telephones.

Developer enhance and updates

If you’re making plans to flash a brand new ROM in your telephone, Qualcomm-equipped telephones have historically been the go-to possibility. MediaTek telephones received a deficient recognition a number of years in the past for developer enhance (or the lack thereof) in comparison to Qualcomm. The factor turns out to revolve round the corporate’s coverage for liberating supply code, which isn’t relatively as easy as the U.S. chipmaker.

MediaTek telephones even have a recognition for tardy or lacking gadget updates. Then once more, rankings of low-end manufacturers have historically used their chips, and frequently lack the sources to replace their telephones in the first position. It’s now not essentially the chipmaker’s fault if a MediaTek-powered telephone doesn’t get up to date.

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The company has taken steps to show issues round although, becoming a member of the GMS Express initiative a 12 months in the past, which calls for transport a extra whole model of Android, plus a number of Google apps, to companions (somewhat than the naked minimal AOSP construct). This has made some hope MediaTek companions will get started bringing updates to customers faster.

Google’s Project Treble initiative should additionally lead to quicker updates for each Qualcomm and MediaTek gadgets. Project Treble successfully separates a telephone’s and device layers in order that device (Android) updates received’t have an effect on the .

We’ve additionally observed Nokia/HMD ship updates to a few of its MediaTek-equipped telephones, akin to the Nokia 3 and 3.1. The chipmaker obviously isn’t a misplaced motive for updates, however Qualcomm remains to be the go-to possibility for updates, and crucially, ROM building.

Qualcomm and MediaTek gadgets

The front of the Meizu Pro 7 Plus.

MediaTek is a company fixture in the entry-level tier, with chips in telephones like the Nokia 1, Nokia 3 and 3.1, and Redmi 6 and 6A. In reality, the corporate’s new low-end Helio A22 and P22 chips are smaller than Qualcomm’s opposite numbers, which should lead to higher staying power on paper.

Qualcomm nonetheless leans on getting old chips like the Snapdragon 212 and Snapdragon 425 for its entry-level wishes. The corporate’s new Snapdragon 429 and Snapdragon 439 processors would possibly give its presence in the house a shot in the arm.

The flagship point is completely ruled by way of Qualcomm and its Snapdragon 800 sequence of chips (Snapdragon 835 and 845). Mediatek is taking a destroy from flagship chipsets, following the unlock of its Helio X30 flagship processor remaining 12 months. Unfortunately the X30 best made it into the Meizu Pro 7 Plus (observed above), whilst Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 powered virtually each and every different top-shelf software. If you’re purchasing a flagship telephone, Snapdragon is the default chipset.

The mid-range sees extra of a mixture, as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400, 600, and 700 sequence edge out the Helio P60 and MT6750 differ. Popular P60 and MT6750 telephones come with the Nokia 5.1 Plus, Realme 1, Oppo F9, LG Q7, and LG X Power 2. Meanwhile, outstanding mid-range telephones with Qualcomm chips come with the Nokia 7 Plus, Xiaomi Mi A2, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, and Realme 2 Pro. For the maximum section, the Snapdragon chips are the selection for plenty of big-name mid-range telephones.

So, which one is healthier?

Ultimately, there’s way more to shopping for a smartphone than which chipset it makes use of. Would you purchase a formidable telephone and not using a options, or a mid-range telephone with a perfect digital camera, water resistance, and a headphone jack?

If you’re making plans to tinker along with your telephone’s internal workings or need a right kind flagship telephone, the selection is already made for you (Qualcomm). The mid-range bracket is murkier although, as MediaTek’s Helio P60 and Qualcomm’s standard Snapdragon 660 are in a similar fashion tough, although Qualcomm’s latest 600-series chips blow the Helio P60 out of the water.

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It’s the entry-level class the place MediaTek has a bonus, due to the Helio A22 and P22 sequence. Offering more recent, smaller chips than Qualcomm’s low-end efforts (which should lead to higher potency on paper), the new processors additionally ship Bluetooth 5, a rarity at this price-point.

MediaTek additionally usually undercuts Qualcomm’s costs, which doesn’t ensure a MediaTek telephone will probably be inexpensive, however opens the risk.

Looking for a complete information to MediaTek chips? Read our rundown over right here. We’ve additionally were given a information to Qualcomm’s contemporary Snapdragon chips, to be had by way of clicking right here.

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