[Insights] MediaTek’s New Dimensity 9300 Flagship Chip Impresses in Benchmarks, but Qualcomm Remains a Strong Competitor

On November 6, 2023, MediaTek unveiled its latest flagship smartphone SoC, the Dimensity 9300. Benchmark data reveals that the Dimensity 9300 outperforms Qualcomm’s flagship chips in both CPU (multi-core) and GPU performance.

However, Qualcomm enjoys a strong brand reputation and recognition in the consumer market, making it a challenging task for MediaTek to capture the top market position for high-end SoCs in the Android camp with this chip.

TrendForce’s Insights:

  1. Brand New Design Boosts Dimensity 9300 Benchmark Performance

Diverging from the conventional “big core + small core” architecture, MediaTek introduces a groundbreaking “4+4” design in the Dimensity 9300. This chip comprises 4 Cortex-X4 cores (clocking up to 3.25GHz) and 4 Cortex-A720 cores (running at 2.0GHz).

According to MediaTek’s official data, this new architecture delivers a 40% increase in multi-core peak performance compared to the previous-generation Dimensity 9200. Additionally, it achieves a 33% reduction in power consumption while maintaining the same level of performance.

In addition to its outstanding chip performance and energy efficiency, the Dimensity 9300 achieves a significant breakthrough in the field of AI. According to official data, powered by the seventh-generation AI processor APU790, the Dimensity 9300 achieves AI edge computing processing speeds up to 8 times faster than the previous generation. In practical terms, this means it can generate image content from text in less than 1 second.

Furthermore, through MediaTek’s exclusive memory compression technology, known as NeuroPilot Compression, it significantly reduces the memory footprint of AI Large Language Models (LLMs) on end-user devices. This enables smooth operation of LLMs with up to 1 billion, 7 billion, 13 billion, and even a maximum of 33 billion parameters on terminal devices.

  1. Dimensity 9300 Outperforms, but Qualcomm Remains a Strong Contender

While Dimensity 9300 exhibits superior performance in both CPU (multi-core) and GPU compared to Qualcomm’s concurrent flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC, a consumer survey conducted by a well-known international tech product comparison website tells a different story.

Out of 1,833 valid respondents, even after being informed about Dimensity 9300’s better benchmark results, 946 people (representing 51.6% of respondents) still chose the Qualcomm chip with lower scores.

This is likely because major smartphone manufacturers have historically favored Qualcomm over MediaTek for their flagship devices. Qualcomm has built a stronger brand image and enjoys higher recognition in the market. Therefore, MediaTek faces a formidable challenge in its quest to capture the top spot for Android high-end smartphone SoC market share with Dimensity 9300.

Furthermore, since the current benchmark results are derived from engineering samples, and the ultimate products from smartphone manufacturers have not been officially released, it remains to be seen whether Dimensity 9300 can deliver the expected performance efficiency. The final verdict on its performance will depend on the adjustments and optimizations made by these manufacturers.

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(Photo credit: MediaTek)


[News] MediaTek Unveils Dimensity 9300 AI Mobile Chip: Intensifying Competition in the Chinese Market

On November 6th, leading IC design company, MediaTek, introduced the Dimensity 9300, its latest flagship mobile System-on-Chip (SoC) featuring an innovative All Big Core design.

It incorporates groundbreaking technology to redefine flagship experiences in areas such as on-device AI, gaming, and imaging. The first smartphones to adopt MediaTek’s Dimensity 9300 chip are expected to hit the market by the end of 2023.

MediaTek’s next generation APU 790 AI processor is integrated into the Dimensity 9300 and designed to significantly improve generative AI performance and energy efficiency for faster and more secure edge computing. The APU 790 doubles the integer and floating-point operations performance, while reducing power consumption by 45%.

The APU 790 hardware includes a generative AI engine, enabling faster and more secure edge AI computations. It’s capable of accelerating operations on Transformer models, achieving processing speeds eight times faster than the previous generation and generating images within one second.

Moreover, in conjunction with large-scale language models, MediaTek has developed mixed-precision INT4 quantization technology, which when combined with the company’s NeuroPilot memory hardware compression, can more efficiently utilize memory bandwidth and significantly reduce memory requirements for large AI models.

The APU 790 provides support for NeuroPilot Fusion, which can continuously perform LoRA low-rank adaptation, and is capable of supporting large language models with 1B, 7B, and 13B parameters, with scalability up to 33B.

Additionally, MediaTek’s AI development platform, NeuroPilot, has built a rich AI ecosystem, supporting mainstream AI language models such as Meta LIama 2, Baidu ERNIE Bot, and Baichuan’s large language model, facilitating rapid and efficient deployment of multi-modal generative AI applications on edge devices, offering innovative user experiences in text, images, music, and more.

In terms of performance, MediaTek emphasizes that the Dimensity 9300 offers exceptional performance in terms of intelligence, efficiency, and low power consumption, all achieved through groundbreaking advanced technology. It sets the stage for a new flagship experience in generative AI, gaming, and imaging.

“The Dimensity 9300 is MediaTek’s most powerful flagship chip yet, bringing a huge boost in raw computing power to flagship smartphones with our groundbreaking All Big Core design,” said Joe Chen, President at MediaTek.

“This unique architecture, combined with our upgraded on-chip AI Processing Unit, will usher in a new era of generative AI applications as developers push the limits with edge AI and hybrid AI computing capabilities.”

MediaTek’s Over 40% Market Share in China Underscores the Vital Importance of the Chinese Market

Furthermore, MediaTek strategically chose China as the launch location for its latest flagship mobile chip. This decision reflects the long-standing partnerships with various Chinese smartphone brands and the fact that the Chinese market has consistently been a significant source of revenue for MediaTek.

For the third quarter of this year, mobile chips constituted 49% of the overall revenue, making a substantial contribution to the company’s earnings. Regarding geographical distribution, foreign securities firms have estimated that the Chinese market contributes to approximately 40% of MediaTek’s revenue, primarily driven by smartphone products.

Moreover, according to statements made by MediaTek’s Chairman Rick Tsai at the beginning of this year, following the introduction of the Dimensity 5G mobile chip series in 2019, MediaTek expanded its presence in the Chinese high-end smartphone chip market. Starting almost from scratch in 2021, it achieved a market share of 20% in 2022. The projection is that this trend will continue to rise this year.

In other words, the Chinese mobile chip market, particularly in the high-priced flagship mobile chip segment, remains a critical driving force for MediaTek. It presents a significant long-term competition challenge to Qualcomm, particularly as it enters the realm of generative AI business applications.

After Huawei’s breakthrough in 5G chipsets, enabling its return to the market with 5G smartphones, the sales of smartphones using Qualcomm’s 4G chipsets are bound to be affected, which, in turn, poses a challenge for Qualcomm. With the introduction of the 5G Generative AI mobile chipset Tianji 9300, the competition in the Chinese smartphone chipset market is expected to intensify.

(Photo credit: MediaTek)


[News] Chinese Smartphone Demand Stimulate Orders for IC Manufacturers

Non-Apple IC manufacturers are reporting positive business performance this quarter. Chinese brands are experiencing a revival driven by the release of new Huawei smartphones, and a resolution in inventory clearance in emerging markets. This has led to an increase in orders. Additionally, Samsung’s success in foldable phones is contributing to the upsurge. This overall trend is benefiting companies like MediaTek and Novatek in the smartphone-related IC manufacturing sector.

As reported by CTEE, China holds about 25% of the global smartphone market, with industry analysts predicting sales of 260 million units in China for 2023. Huawei’s re-entry into the smartphone market will significantly impact the smartphone SoC market share in 2024. This development will challenge Apple’s market share in China, and Huawei’s upcoming Nova mid-range smartphones will also affect brands like Honor, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and others, as they vie for market share.

Key drivers of the smartphone industry’s recovery

According to Economic Daily News, many Chinese smartphone brands are optimistic about the local market’s improvement following the launch of Huawei’s new smartphones. Beyond flagship models like the Mate 60, mid-range series like Nova are also showing increased activity. Leading non-Apple smartphone manufacturers are gearing up for a surge in demand and are actively stocking up on top-tier flagship chips, thus stimulating the supply chain’s demand for additional orders.

At the same time, Taiwanese manufacturers mention that Chinese smartphone brands that primarily target emerging markets have already digested their accumulated inventory and are now starting to replenish their stocks. Some smartphone-related chip manufacturers have also pointed out that Samsung and other Korean smartphone giants are enjoying good sales of foldable phones and have recently conveyed messages about increasing orders.

TrendForce notes that the current revival on demand side in the global smartphone market is primarily driven by inventory restocking. The potential for sustained orders remains uncertain due to the prevailing economic challenges.

(Image: MediaTek)

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[NEWS] Huawei’s Resurgence Could Impact MediaTek and Qualcomms’ Market Share

Source to China Times, on the 25th of this month, Huawei introduced its top-tier flagship smartphone, the Mate 60 RS. The entire supply chain is buzzing with anticipation. However, major chipset manufacturers, MediaTek and Qualcomm, both stand ready for what lies ahead. The reason for their vigilance stems from their previous share of the pie, which was snatched away by Huawei. Now, there’s concern that those gains may slowly be taken back.

For MediaTek, although Huawei’s new phone is positioned as a high-end model, it doesn’t pose a direct threat to MediaTek’s focus on mid-range and low-end 5G chips. However, industry insiders believe that Huawei might not rule out the possibility of launching mid-range and low-end 5G phone chips in the future, deepening the HarmonyOS, which could further squeeze MediaTek’s market share.

Huawei has traditionally used its in-house HiSilicon-designed chips for its smartphones. However, due to US sanctions, Huawei’s market share plummeted, allowing other Chinese smartphone competitors to seize opportunities. MediaTek and Qualcomm benefited from this shift in orders.

Recently, Huawei has made a strong comeback. Following the low-key release of the Mate 60 Pro, it has now unveiled the flagship RS model. After 3 years of intensive efforts, Huawei has achieved comprehensive self-reliance in operating systems, software, databases, and other foundational software. It has also completed the development of domestic alternatives for 13,000 components, investing heavily in the semiconductor supply chain.

The most impacted player in this scenario is Qualcomm, which primarily targets the high-end market. There are even expectations that by 2024, Qualcomm will lose all Huawei smartphone orders. Although MediaTek’s mainstream models have not been directly affected, there’s a possibility that Huawei may strengthen its HarmonyOS ecosystem, gradually penetrating the mid-range and low-end segments. MediaTek needs to remain vigilant. Huawei’s Nova series, for instance, is aimed at mid-range models, and it may not rule out using its in-house Kirin 5G chips to gain a stronger foothold in the market.

The initial stock of the Mate 60 series reached 15 million units, and the shipment target for 2023 has been raised to 20 million units, including foldable phones like the Mate X3 and X5. Supply chain sources suggest that Huawei has internally raised its overall shipment target for 2023 to 40 million units, and the market anticipates even higher volumes of 50 million to 60 million units in 2024.

Industry insiders point out that due to strong demand for Huawei’s products and better-than-expected i15 orders, there are reports of inventory replenishment in the smartphone supply chain. However, in the future, both China and the United States will cultivate their respective supply chains, reducing the win-win situations. For instance, in the RF Front-end segment, Huawei has started to use domestic supplier Maxscend Technologies, which could squeeze market orders for US and Taiwanese suppliers. (Image credit: Huawei)


[Report Highlights] Self-Driving SoCs Are Becoming A Critical Gateway for IC Design Firms

In the era of increasing electric vehicle penetration and automotive electrification, the future of cars resembles smartphones on wheels, demanding substantial computing power for advanced autonomous systems. As a result, future vehicles equipped with high-end self-driving systems are akin to mobile data centers. With the growth rate of the consumer electronics market slowing down, Self-Driving System-on-Chip (SoC) has become a crucial avenue for IC design firms to expand.

TrendForce Insights:

  • Sluggish Growth in Consumer Electronics Market Spurs IC Design Firms to Focus on Self-Driving SoCs

With the deceleration in growth of mainstream consumer electronics products like smartphones and PCs, IC design firms are venturing into the automotive sector, with Self-Driving SoCs emerging as a key area of expansion. Key competitors in this space include NVIDIA, Mobileye, Qualcomm, Ambarella, and Horizon Robotics. Qualcomm, with solutions spanning smart cockpits, ADAS, and V2X, showcases its advantage in entering the automotive sector after years of success in the smartphone market. To avoid sustained dominance by international giants in the Chinese smart cockpit market, Chinese companies such as Siengine Technology, Navinfo, Autochips, Semidrive, Huawei, Rockchip, and Unisoc are actively entering this market.

  • NVIDIA and Qualcomm Offer Broad Computing Capabilities, While Mobileye, Ambarella, and Horizon Robotics Bring Unique Strengths

NVIDIA and Qualcomm offer Self-Driving SoCs with broad computing capabilities. Initially targeting Level 4 and above autonomous driving, NVIDIA has adjusted its focus to Level 3 and below due to regulatory delays. Its high-computing SoCs cater to the computing needs of both smart cockpits and self-driving systems, achieving a “cockpit-and-drive integrated” approach. Qualcomm’s products cover computing requirements from Level 1 to 4. Intel’s Mobileye emphasizes low power consumption and integrates image sensing hardware and software. Both Ambarella and Mobileye possess core computer vision technologies, while Horizon Robotics provides highly open platforms to developers, offering software development tools (AIDI) and cloud-based AI training platforms. Horizon Robotics is also poised to benefit from China’s domestic production plans.

  • NVIDIA’s Collaboration with MediaTek (Dimensity) is Crucial for Hardware-Software Integration

In May 2023, NVIDIA announced a partnership with MediaTek (Dimensity) to target the automotive market, with a focus on smart cockpits. NVIDIA concentrates on the main computing chips for in-vehicle computers and essential software, while MediaTek specializes in peripheral audiovisual entertainment and V2X communication systems. In Dimensity Auto, NVIDIA’s GPU and software are integrated, enabling the development of smart cockpit solutions. However, the collaborative car SoC development between MediaTek and NVIDIA is expected to launch by the end of 2025, with mass production slated for 2026-2027, necessitating a wait-and-see approach for the results of this collaboration.

Currently, high-end vehicles have software lines of code (SLOC) exceeding 100 million lines, more than double that of a PC. Vehicles with Level 5 self-driving systems in the future could potentially have over 1 billion lines of code. In the era of Software Defined Vehicles (SDV), hardware-software integration will be the key to competitiveness for manufacturers. NVIDIA, dominating the AI market with its CUDA platform, is well aware of this fact. Consequently, the results of NVIDIA’s collaboration with MediaTek (Dimensity) are highly anticipated.

(Photo credit: MediaTek)

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