The official announcement of the first deca-core SoC ARM has traveled immediately around the world driven by sensationalism caused by the record number of 10 computing cores, but Mediatek Helio X20 is also more. In this paper we review the characteristics of what is the second mobile SoC series Helio X, a brand introduced in March 2015 at MWC Barcelona to simplify the eyes of the users of the complex nomenclature adopted by the Taiwanese chipmaker. Mediatek Helio Helio X20 and X10 processors identify so MediaTek MT6797 and MT6795, the names are still in use but more difficult to memorize.

Mediatek Helio X20 is the first deca-core processor in the world
The 10 core computing Helio X20 constitute surely the main prerogative but to serve, and especially what not will impact on consumption compromising battery life?

The assumption from which Mediatek is that smartphones today will require much more than surfing the Internet or the mere reproduction of music, but they have become centers of entertainment media, and in some cases even personal productivity devices. We use more and more often the phone to play 3D titles of some complexity, or to record video and these tasks require considerable processing power. The dual-cluster architectures such as ARM big.LITTLE allowed to meet the various usage requirements of mobile users by combining a set of core energy-efficient and low-performance to a set of core high performance that tends only to dispose loads working more significant without affecting too much on consumption.

The heterogeneous architectures such as this proved to be an excellent idea, and now almost all medium to high-end smartphones use them but with the diversification of usage scenarios while adding more challenging task feels the need for an update that will allow peak performance together with a payment of benefits more granular.

The 10 core Mediatek Helio X20 are grouped in three clusters
A little ‘as the addition of a gear to a mechanism can render the movement more fluid, so Mediatek decided to add an additional cluster to the two that made up the original scheme ARM big.LITTLE going to create the first processor Tri- cluster or big.Medium.LITTLE. There is a total of 10 core divided into 3 groups:
4 core ARM Cortex A53 low frequency (1.4GHz) and low power consumption
4 core ARM Cortex A53 2.0GHz to ensure that a good balance between performance and fuel consumption
2 core ARM Cortex A72 to 2.5GKz for maximum performance
In the scheme big.Medium.LITTLE adding cluster intermediate lowers performance and power consumption of the cluster “LITTLE” to have a longer battery life in normal use, and to position the cluster “big” on a level of performance higher, as a resource to be used only in case of power demanding task.
Anandtech’s colleagues, who published the slides that accompany this news, note also the maximum frequency of 2.5GHz record that Mediatek can reach on the two core ARM Cortex A72, previously considered out of reach of the manufacturing process at TSMC 20nm and only possible using lithographs FinFET to 14 / 16nm.

Mediatek Helio X
Model Mediatek Helio Helio X10 X20 Mediatek
Previous nomenclature Mediatek MT6797 Mediatek MT6795
Lithography 20nm 28nm HPM
4 core ARM Cortex A53 1.4GHz
4 2.0GHz ARM Cortex A53
2 ARM Cortex A72 2.5GHz ARM Cortex A53 2.0GHz 8
Memory 2x32bit LPDDR3 2x32bit 933MHz 800MHz LPDDR3
Camera Dual ISP, 32MP @ 24, @ 30 with two 16MP 3D engine integrated Dual ISP, 21MP @ 30
Video decode 4Kx2K 10bit 30fps H264 / H265 / VP9 4Kx2K 30fps H264 / H265
4Kx2K 30fps video encode with HDR 4Kx2K 30fps H265 H265
GPU ARM Mali T800 series MP4 IMG G6200 700MHz 700MHz
Display WQXGA 2560×1600 60fps
FHD 1920×1080 120fps
HW with 12 Layer Blending WQXGA 2560×1600 60fps
FHD 1920×1080 120fps
Layer Blending with HW
LTE LTE modem cat6 cat4
Integrated WiFi 802.11ac external

The three clusters can work simultaneously and are connected by an IP called MCSI Mediatek Coherent System Interconnect but is still shrouded in a veil of mystery. It is believed that may arise by ARM CCI-500, an IP released by the English in February and capable of supporting up to four clusters of core, but it is unclear whether the interpretation of Mediatek will constitute a simplification or an improvement.
The efficiency with which the processes will be allocated to each of the three clusters is obviously the fundamental key to determining the performance and consumption of Mediatek Helio X20. It will take over the scheduler CorePilot 3.0, a refinement of the algorithm already used by Mediatek with excellent results in the past and now is expected to improve energy efficiency.

There is an eleventh-core ARM Cortex M4 with audio and management sensors
In fact, the SoC includes a 11th core, a companion core ARM Cortex M4 with frequency of 264MHz and a dedicated SRAM 512KB dedicated to audio decoding, functions improvement of sound and voice recognition. In addition to these features related to the audio that will allow for example to reduce power consumption during playback of MP3, the companion core also serves as a sensor hub raising the CPU from this task.

The SoC includes a GPU ARM Mali T800 series similar to the top model currently announced T880 but still under confidentiality. It is a quad-core MP4 GPU with a frequency of 700MHz which according to the manufacturer should have 40% more performance with a corresponding energy savings of 40% compared with the G6200 dell’Helio X10. The VPU instead looks the same dell’MT6795 with the possibility of encoding and decoding, video HEVC 2160p30.

Technical characteristics of the SoC Mediatek Helio X20 aka Mediatek MT6797

Staying on the subject of multimedia capabilities, Mediatek MT6797 includes two digital sensors and supports ISP per room up to 32MP @ 24fps or two sensors from 13mp @ 30fps with an integrated 3D engine hardware. There will of course also support for technologies such as Mediatek Miravision Clearmotion that allows you to have a smoother video output, the refresh rate of 120Hz and Smartscreen to reduce fuel consumption by optimizing real-time saturation, contrast, and other image parameters. The most interesting data on this front, however, is that concerning consumption because Mediatek declares absorption almost halved in multimedia applications.

The day also features a memory controller that supports two channels at 933MHz LPDDR3, 802.11ac WiFi module and an integrated modem Mediatek WorldMode Category 6 LTE speeds of 300Mbps download and 50Mbps upload.
The first smartphone equipped with Mediatek Helio X20 should arrive by the end of 2015 but the largest share of the new design will reach the market only in the beginning of 2016. Mediatek expects Helio X20 will revolutionize the industry of mobile processors and perhaps reverse balance of power with rival Qualcomm, has always preferred terminals, high-performance and higher price ranges. If Mediatek Helio X20 should be able to anticipate the next flagship SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, you could have a competitive advantage because it seems that the deca-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 818, which recently appeared in the specific network, can be integrated without a 4G modem .

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