Mediatek

Mediatek is racing ahead Qualcomm and Exynos to make use of the world’s first 4nm process node

We could see phones with the next gen chip as early as Q4 2021

MediaTek could beat Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple, and the likes to launch the world’s first 4nm smartphone chipset. According to multiple sources in China and Taiwan, the production of MediaTek’s 4nm processors may begin as early as this year. Phones running on the new chipset may arrive in the market in the first half of next year. Several Chinese OEMs such as OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi have reportedly already placed orders for the upcoming high-end MediaTek SoC.

While all major chipmakers, including the aforementioned Qualcomm, Samsung, and Apple, moved to the 5nm architecture for their latest mobile SoCs, MediaTek’s latest is still using the 6nm process node. There were indications that the Taiwanese company may finally move to the more advanced 5nm technology for its next-gen flagship SoC, reportedly called Dimensity 2000. The chipset was expected to arrive by the end of this year.

However, by that time, MediaTek’s rivals would be ready with their second-gen 5nm solutions. So to make its premium offering more appealing to potential customers, the company has decided to entirely skip working on 5nm technology and move directly to 4nm. Since 4nm chips would be more power-efficient and could boast superior performance than 5nm solutions, this move would give MediaTek an edge over its competitors.

After entering the 5G era, MediaTek hit the ground running and became the world’s largest smartphone chip supplier. However, in the high-end cell phone chip market, MediaTek still lags behind Qualcomm. MediaTek in 2020 with the Dimensity 1000 and other series of processors took many markets, a move to become the largest domestic cell phone SOC suppliers.

But at present, MediaTek has not achieved a breakthrough in the high-end market, although the previous Dimensity 1000+ and the newly issued Dimensity 1200 are not a bad performance, only to be able to make a tie with the Qualcomm sub-flagship chip, it is not without some regret..

MediaTek is certainly aware of this problem, according to the well-known Weibo blogger Digital Chat Station, TSMC will be in H2 trial production of 4nm chips, while the supply chain news that MediaTek will be in Q4 this year trial production of flagship chips based on the process, and in 2022 to achieve mass production.

Besides, due to the late release, the MediaTek 4nm flagship chip of Dimensity is also expected to use on unreleased Arm Cortex X2, A79, G79, and other new ARMv9 Architecture, which can bring more powerful breakthroughs in terms of performance, battery life, security, etc.

The latest Mediatek Dimensity 1100 and 1200 are fabricated on the 6nm process. Mediatek will now jump to the 4nm process and could release the new Dimensity 2000 on the said process node.

It is worth noting that the positioning of this 4nm flagship chip may be more than the MediaTek Dimensity 1000 series iterations, MediaTek may open up a separate flagship product line. Previously there was news that MediaTek’s Dimensity 2000 will be built using the 5nm process, and has now received orders from several domestic cell phone manufacturers, the chip will also use a new architecture, the same positioning flagship products, is now close to the flow of chips, is in the back of the test verification phase. But the latest exposure of the 4nm chip will Dimensity 2000 stronger, positioning more powerful.

The news comes from China’s Taiwan Economic Daily, which reported that MediaTek’s new generation of 5G flagship chips was produced from the originally expected 5nm process, upgraded to 4nm, while opening 3nm products, becoming TSMC’s first customer for 4nm and 3nm. The report also pointed out that MediaTek 4nm chip mass production progress is expected to be comparable to Apple, and has taken orders from OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and other major manufacturers.

4nm process chip will bring more powerful performance, lower power consumption, if the news is true, then MediaTek will form a first-mover advantage in the high-end market, to gradually stabilize the high-end market to lay a good foundation.

TSMC will manufacture MediaTek’s 4nm chipsets. The contract chip manufacturing giant had previously said that it would start running a trial production of 4nm chips in the second half of this year. The company expected to begin mass production in 2022. However, according to the latest reports, it appears the company would start mass-producing MediaTek’s 4nm chipsets this year itself. That’s if everything goes as per plan, of course. However, even if things don’t pan out as expected, the world’s first 4nm SoCs might still arrive early next year.

But the first to adopt the 4nm process technology is not without cost, according to the introduction of 4nm process technology MediaTek 5G new flagship chip product unit price will be pulled up to more than 80 USD, much higher than the current average unit price of 30 to 35 USD. Such a high unit price means that only ultra-high-end flagship mobile phone products are likely to be equipped with the chip.

MediaTek leapfrogged Qualcomm to become the world’s largest smartphone chipset vendor in 2020. The company particularly won the battle against Qualcomm in the budget and mid-range tier. Now it appears to be all set to win the premium tier as well by releasing a 4nm SoC ahead of everyone else. This could further help the company consolidate its position at the top.

From MediaTek’s deployment, they will be through the Dimensity 2000 series against Qualcomm 888 and other flagship processors, while the 4nm chip will be used to impact Qualcomm’s next-generation Snapdragon 895 chip, a move to take the high-end market, worth looking forward to.

All this said, these are still early and unconfirmed reports. There’s still a long time to go and a lot could change by then. The likes of Samsung and Qualcomm could bring their own 4nm solutions within this time span. Not to mention, the tech industry has yet to overcome the ongoing global semiconductor chip shortage. It now remains to be seen whether MediaTek manages to beat out the competition in releasing the world’s first 4nm smartphone chipset.

Kiran Fernandes

Kiran is your friendly neighbourhood tech enthusiast who's passionate about all kinds of tech, goes crazy over 4G and 5G networks, and has recently sparked an interest in sci-fi and cosmology.

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