MediaTek Summit 2023 – Dimensity 8300,9300 announcements and M60 RFSoC

As has been the case for the last two years, MediaTek took a bunch of us journalists to California to show us what is coming in the coming year. This time there was the monstrous Dimensity 9300 boasting an “all big core” design, a seriously buffed up premium chipset in the Dimensity 8300 with some new on-device gen-AI abilities, and an IoT 5G chipset that wrecks the competition, not just in performance, but in world-class efficiency as well. There is a lot to talk about, so let’s talk about the Dimensity 9300 first.

The Dimensity 9300 is the new leader in MediaTek’s flagship 9000 series, and what sets it apart this year is the core configuration, there are still 8 cores, but instead of a DynamIQ set of Cortex X cores, Cortex A700 series, and Cortex A500 series, MediaTek have thrown caution to the wind and just gone with Cortex X4’s and Cortex A720s. The Cortex X4s are in a 1+3 layout, where one boats higher, in this case 3.25Ghz, and the other three only boost to 2.85Ghz. The four Cortex A720s on the other hand only boost to 2.0Ghz.MediaTek hasn’t disclosed whether the Cortex A720s they are using are the performance-optimised ones, or the area (space) optimised ones, but given they only clock up to 2Ghz, I’m guessing the latter.

MediaTech Dimensity 9300 announcement

Something we don’t think much about in the mobile SoC space as much as we do in the laptop/desktop space is the cache and memory sub-system, and MediaTek is once again kicking ass here. With an 8MB L3 cache and a 10MB shared L4 “system cache”, larger than most, but where it really shines is the memory system, with LPDDR5T at a whopping 9600MT/s!, this is the newest DDR standard, and it is rumoured that Apple will also be using this, type of RAM on the M3 Ultra in the future, but MediaTek is one of the first semiconductor companies getting to use it, awesome!

But it’s not just the CPU side that got a bump, the Dimensity 9300 is the first client to use Arm’s new Immortalis G720 GPU, and not just that they’re doing it in a 12-core configuration as well. The Immortalis G720 from Arm is their newest, highest-performance GPU, it has a new ray-tracing engine to improve performance over the last gen by a whopping 46%! While also using 40% less power, which also makes less heat. With the new 2xMSAA pipeline and global illumination support, MediaTek is calling this a console-level graphical performance, and with what I saw, I can’t say I disagree.

MediaTek Dimensity 9300 announcement

MediaTek is talking some pretty impressive numbers given the core change up this year, we’re talking a 15% increase in performance at the same power level as the Dimesnity 9200 from last year, which is wild considering this has no efficiency cores whatsoever. If you lock the performance the same, the 9300 uses a whopping 33% less power than the 9200, again a chip that has dedicated efficiency hardware, and if you want to throw caution (and the power budget) to the wind, the 9300 can be a whopping 40% faster than the 9200, at what looks about 20% more power draw (this is me interpreting the slide, if MediaTek gives us an actual number, I will update it).

MediaTek Dimensity 9300 Announcement

So how, has it done this? Partially with the help of its fab (heh) partner in TSMC. TSMC’s 3rd generation 4nm manufacturing node and MediaTek’s second generation of thermally optimised packaging make the Dimensity 9300 suck less juice and is more efficient at wicking whatever heat does accumulate, away. MediaTek has always been big on its APU, its AIl processing unit, and with the 9300 they’ve taken it a step further, the APU790 in the Dimensity 9300 is actually 2 cores, a performance core and a flexible core, I’m going to be real with you, I don’t know much about AI hardware, I know there is inference and training (training is the big servers, inference is done at the edge, on your phone or PC) but I do know that on device LLMs (Large language models) like Google’s Bard, Meta’s Llama etc, are going to be insane, MediaTek is showing that the Dimensity 9300 can do 7B (billion) parameters on LLaMa2 at 20 Tokens per second, whilst that doesn’t sound impressive compared to dedicated AI processor’s ike Groq’s LPU that just showed off 315 tokens per second on a 70B parameter model, but thats also a dual slot PCIe add-in-card with external power, this is just a 10th of the model size and 1/15th of the token perf, but it’s also a tiny piece of silicon on-die of a smartphone SoC in the sub 10w range, that is mighty impressive.

MediaTek Dimensity 9300 announcement

Lastly, before I move on, I want to talk about networking because MediaTek has been going hard on networking in recent years, to shake off the stigma that it was just a budget brand, and I think they’ve succeeded because from the Dimensity lineups inception, they have been stellar, I know, I’ve used a dimensity 1200 powered phone as my daily for over 2 years and the radio has been killer in it. The 9300 is no different, with a fully specced R16 4CC Sub6Ghz 5G modem, that’s good for a whopping 7gbps in DL mode, in Sub6! Whats better is that the Dimensity 9300 is also mmWave capable this time with an insane 8CCA (cross-carrier aggregation) for mmWave, for someone new to the mmWave networking side, MediaTek is coming out swinging and going from the throat

Next, let’s talk about the Dimensity 9300’s little brother, the Dimensity 8300. The Dimensity 8300 is in MediaTek’s “premium” segment, just below the flagship series. MediaTek has given the Dimensity 8000 series almost a double generational jump from the 8200 to the 8300. Whereas the Dimensity 8200 used Cortex A78 and A55 cores, the 8300 uses Cortex A715 and A510 cores, skipping the A710 entirely (although just missing out on top tier with the A720). The GPU also gets a nice upgrade with the Mali G615 over the G610, but still in a 6-core configuration. Also, there is the memory which goes from LPDDR5 6500MT/s to LPDDR5X at 8533MT/s, MediaTek also swapped out the UFS3.1 controller for UFS4.0 with MCQ, or multi-circular queuing, allowing each core of the system to write to the flash at the same time, basically turning sequential writes, parallel and massively increasing speed and lowering latency.

MediaTek Dimensity 8300 announcement

What do these changes mean though, what do they add up to? Well, the CPU configuration change means 20% higher performance at 30% lower power consumption, the GPU change is a whopping 60% faster at 55% lower power draw, the memory change increases memory bandwidth by 33%, and the storage change gives anywhere from a 30% to a 100% increase in write speeds, once again, this is not just a single generational jump, MediaTek is going hard to win the premium segment.

What’s also impressive is the new radio subsystem and the new APU. the radio is quite impressive, with 3CCA in the Sub6Ghz spectrum (sadly no mmWave on the 8300, which will seriously hamper its North American appeal) getting you 5.17gbps of download speeds, this is once again a near full implementation of the 3GPP R16 spec, once again showing that MediaTek doesn’t want to be seen as only the budget option anymore, it is here to win. Lastly is the APU, the APU780 in the Dimensity 8300 is a slightly cut-down version of the one found in the Dimensity 9300, but still orders of magnitude better than the one in the 8200, allowing for on-device LLMs of up to 10b parameters (though 7b is more likely), and even on-device stable diffusion, no longer requiring a PC and an internet connection!.

MediaTek Dimensity 8300 Announcement

Finally, in this piece, I want to talk about something that many don’t cover, but I think is quite interesting, and that’s MediaTek’s RedCap products, RedCap stands for reduced capability, and it’s MediaTek’s cut-down RFSoC for IoT applications, think smartwatches, AR/VR goggles or teeny tiny battery powered sensors that need to be out in the wild for months or years at a time, and with the T300 series, MediaTek is absolutely crushing the competition, whether it’s on 5G or even LTE, MediaTek’s product outshines the unnamed competitor.

MediaTek M60 RedCap announcement

The T300 series is the newest RedCap RFSoC from MediaTek, and boy is it a monster. First off, the core choice, MediaTek has chosen a Cortex A35 CPU core at 800Mhz and fabbed at 6nm (from an unnamed fab, but I’m guessing TSMC as MediaTek has a very active relationship with them). The A35 is an interesting choice, and this is one of the first times I’ve seen it implemented. The Cortex A35 was ARM’s 64bit answer to the Cortex A5, with teeny tiny die area and teeny tiny power consumption, ARM gave figures of 90mW at 1Ghz clock speed built on a 28nm HKMG fabrication node, so dropping clockspeeds 20%, and going almost 6 full node jumps and swapping FET style, I don’t think it’s improbably to get that down to, say 30mW possibly even less, is not a bad guesstimate, but that is all it is, I have no extra information. I’ll share one of the slides with you, which is the RedCap M60 in LTE mode, a RedCap M60 with 5G active, and an LTE competitor, doing a VoLTE (or VoNR I guess) call, the M60 in 5G mode used a whopping 75% less power than the competitor in LTE mode. Even when the M60 was in LTE mode it trounced the unnamed competitor, we don’t see a number but anywhere from 65-70% is my guess. I would very much like to see these chips in wearables sooner rather than later.

MediaTek M60 RedCap announcement

MediaTek put on a show this year and they backed it up with the Dimensity 9300’s “all big core” strategy, the 8300 redefining premium with an emphasis on its strong AI hardware, and even the absolute butchering of competitors’ RedCap offerings with the M60 and upcoming T300, MediaTek has shown they mean business, this is not the same MediaTek that a company chose because Qualcomm was once too expensive, this is a MediaTek you pick because it genuinely deserves to be at the table, and you (companies) should seriously consider using them.

About Domenico Lamberti

Technology has been a big part of my life for years, whether it be ripping the family computer apart to see how it worked, playing with the new phones that Dad brought home from work. Senior Reviewer for MTT.

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