MediaTek is finally ready to drop an F-Bomb, the F being Flagship. With the launch of the Dimensity 9000, MediaTek says it’s ready to have a true flagship-class SoC, and boy is it a doozy.
Starting off, the Dimensity 9000s name, 9000 is a lot farther along than 1200, in fact, this was rumoured to be called 2000, so why the massive jump in numerals? MediaTek wanted to emphasise the jump this is from anything they’ve launched before and make it clear, I think they’ve done that. the D9000 is set up in a 1+3+4 setup, with 1 Cortex X2 core at 3.05Ghz and 1024kb of L2 cache, the 3 big cores are ARMs new Cortex A710 at 2.85Ghz with 512kb of L2 Cache each, lastly is the “little” cores, Cortex A510s at 1.8Ghz and 256kb of L2 cache each, all this is topped up with an 8MB L3 cache and a 6MB System cache. The GPU is also brand new, ARMs new Mali G710 in a 10 core configuration. all of these cores are brand new, and in fact, this is the first announced product using these cores announced just a few months ago, a nice change of pace from around a decade ago where a new ARM core was announced and we’d see it in devices 18 months later.
Next is the ISP, the image signal processor is one of the most important pieces of tech in a modern smartphone, with resolution going through the roof, and more and more cameras being bolted onto the back of things, and even multi-feed recording (using multiple cameras to record at the same time) a good ISP is something that people are going to be looking for, even if they don’t know they’re looking for it, and sadly MediaTek has struggled here in the past, the Dimenisty 900 and 1000 series chips are actually competitive but not class-leading, with the Imagiq 7 ISP in the D9000 MediaTek is hoping to take the lead. this Imagiq 7 is a tri-core ISP, and one of the things that allow is real-time 3 exposure HDR video, so taking an underexposed frame, an overexposed frame, and one in the centre, capturing all that data concurrently and then splicing it together to get the best highlight and shadows of everything is no mean feat and the demos we saw were promising. They also said the D9000 was capable of concurrently running 3 32MP camera streams, so that could be the ultrawide rear, the main rear, and the front camera or something along those lines, that’s cool. Lastly, the new ISP in the D9000 has support for 8K AV1 decode, sadly there is no AV1 encode of any kind, not even 4K, but still, having a hardware 8K video decoder is a nice thing to have from a royalty-free format that many players are adopting.
Lastly, the modem. MediaTek is very proud to have the first 3GPP R16 production modem in the D9000, with 3CC Aggegration up to 300mhz (3 100Mhz bands) for up to 7Gbps bandwidth on the download, holy smokes, as well as an updated R16 UL package which can support 495mbps upload speed on mobile! that’s not all, they showed that they’ve worked even more on their idle power as well as their sustained radio power use, beating the iPhone 13 series’ Qualcomm X60 in both idle and high power use by 32% and 27% respectively, that’s impressive. Even more impressive is that the D9000 is going to be fabbed on TSMCs brand new N4 4nm node, MediaTek will actually be the first customer using N4, seeing as HiSilicon was forced out of the market and N4 wasn’t ready for the Apple A15, so MediaTek was able to get in and secure orders to become the first shipping N4 product, hats off to them.
We didn’t see any devices with the Dimensity 9000 today, it’s far too early for that, but the energy coming from the MediaTek staff was exhilarating, you could tell that they were excited about this. The Dimensity 9000 is likely not going to end up in the same price class of phones that previous Dimenstiy 1000 series chips go in, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a $500-$650 Dimensity 9000 powered phone somewhere in the future, and once we see it, I cant wait to get my hands on it.