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This new Android chip might power upcoming iPhone 13 rivals

Published Nov 19th, 2021 7:31AM EST
Samsung Galaxy S21 On Table
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

MediaTek is a well-known chip maker that developed various System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions for Android devices in recent years. But the brand usually catered to the mid-range segment of the market. MediaTek processors were never go-to choices for flagship Android devices that would compete against the latest iPhone. But this might change this year with the introduction of brand new MediaTek silicon that might deliver the kind of high-end performance and features that Apple rivals seek for their iPhone 13 alternatives. That’s the Dimensity 9000 that MediaTek just announced, an SoC that ticks many expected boxes and offers several “world’s first” features.

The iPhone 13’s massive performance

Apple’s brand new A15 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 13 series crushes the competition in real-life speed tests and benchmarks. An in-depth review showed the A15 Bionic is even more formidable than Apple let on.

That sort of performance puts tremendous pressure on rivals. Other chipmakers will soon respond, with MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000 the surprise leader of the pack.

We just saw Google’s first-gen Tensor chip emerge, which is a great step in the right direction, but not quite the A15 Bionic rival we wanted. Qualcomm will soon unveil the Snapdragon 898 that will power the Galaxy S22 series. Similarly, Samsung should soon unveil the Exynos 2200 processor, which could be paired with the world’s first AMD GPU for mobile devices.

But could Android vendors go for MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000 instead of the next-gen Snapdragon chip? The answer to that question might be yes.

Dimensity 9000 delivers many world’s firsts

Arm unveiled its v9 architecture back in May. Like every year, the new reference designs inform the public of the kind of SoCs that will power the main iPhone rivals in the coming year. In the case of Arm’s v9 CPU, this means 2022 devices competing against the iPhone 13 handsets.

Arm unveiled several new chips in the spring. We have the Cortex-X2 flagship, the Cortex-A710 performance cores, and the Cortex-A510 efficiency cores. Also, Arm introduced new GPUs that chipmakers will combine with the processors above, including the Mali-G710 design. Unsurprisingly, chips like the Dimensity 9000 SoC will use these technologies.

It just so happens that MediaTek’s alternative to the iPhone 13’s processor is the first to do it. The Dimensity 9000 will feature a 3.05GHz Cortex-X2 processor, three 2.85GHz Cortex-A710 cores, and four 1.8GHz Cortex-A510 cores. A 10-core Mali-G710 GPU will handle graphics, including ray tracing support. The SoC will also include a six-core APU That will handle artificial intelligence tasks.

MediaTek Dimensity 9000 chip specs
The specs of MediaTek Dimensity 9000 flagship processor. Image source: MediaTek

The new ISP processor is also an exciting addition to the Dimensity 9000 package. The chip will support 320-megapixel photos, which is well beyond what’s possible with today’s flagships. But the chip could handle that sort of power. That’s assuming Android vendors will want to equip such sensors on a mobile device.

As expected from iPhone 13 rivals, the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 will support 5G connectivity and Wi-Fi 6E wireless internet. The chip will be the world’s first to feature Bluetooth 5.3 support.

Also exciting is the RAM department. The chip can handle LPDDR5x RAM that runs at 7,500Mbps. Samsung has recently announced its new LPDDR5x chips, and we assumed that the new memory will equip the Galaxy S22 series next year.

The mysterious 2022 Android flagships

If that’s not enough from this A15 Bionic alternative, the Dimensity 9000 is the world’s first mobile SoC built on TSMC 4nm processor. The iPhone 13 series features 5nm chips, with the same TSMC handling the A15 Bionic production.

The Dimensity 9000 promises monster performance, and it’ll be interesting to see how it fares in real-life tests against the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic SoC. But it’s unclear what mobile devices will make use of the brand new chip.

When companies like MediaTek announce new silicon, they don’t mention actual partners or the names of devices that will use the new chips. But leakers do. As you can see above, the list of Android vendors that will use Dimenisty 9000 chips next year includes Vivo, Realme, Xiaomi, Oppo, Samsung, Motorola, and OnePlus.

Some of these inclusions aren’t surprising. But Samsung is absolutely an unexpected addition to that list. The Dimensity 9000 is a flagship chip that will challenge the Snapdragon 898 and Samsung’s own Exynos 2200. Does that mean the MediaTek chip could power phones like the Galaxy S22, Fold 4, Flip 4, and any Galaxy FE devices Samsung might come up with? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.