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MediaTek reveals high-performance ARM-based SoC for tablets

Posted: 02 Mar 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:tablet SoC  quad-core  MT8173  big-little architecture  Cortex A72 

Aiming to make the tablet a "workhorse for productivity," Taiwan-based chip vendor MediaTek announced the quad-core MT8173 chip, a tablet SoC based on ARM's new Cortex-A72 processor. The quad-core MT8173 chip is already shipping, targeting high-end systems.

The MT8173 is a 64bit multi-core big-little architecture that combines two Cortex-A72 CPUs and two Cortex-A53 CPUs to provide a six-fold performance increase over MediaTek's previous-generation tablet chip. With this performance boost, MediaTek wants to leverage ARM's new offerings to grow its share in tablets.

"The tablet category is totally deceived by lots of cost containment but is not relenting on the specs. I think industry as a whole is scratching its head as to what you can make a tablet do," MediaTek's business marketing vice president and general manager Mohit Bhushan told EE Times. "The next big thing is to make the tablet your workhorse for productivity, for enterprise."

The SoC runs at 2.4GHz performance, thanks to updates to MediaTek's software. "We've innovated on CorePilot, the software that looks at the characteristics of cores and moderates them on thermal frequency and power planes to match the best CPU to best kind of job," Bhushan said.

The chip also supports 120Hz displays, ultra HD/HEVC video playback and a 20Mpx camera with the so-called face beautify effects. MediaTek did not provide power consumption or exact performance specs.

While the MediaTek offering is a pure applications processor, Bhushan expects it to easily interface with forthcoming LTE chips.

Sixty per cent of MediaTek's revenue comes from mobile but its LTE share is small, MediaTek President C.J. Hsieh previously told EE Times. Hsieh said his company wants to offer more advanced features in mobile chips and "take over the high-end market."

While many have forecast the stagnation of the tablet market, MediaTek hopes to snag more share. The company ended 2014 with 50 million tablet shipments and expects to increase that number in 2015 as major devices such as the Amazon Kindle, which uses MediaTek chips, release upgrades.

- Jessica Lipsky
  EE Times

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