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MediaTek Helio X30: what to expect from Snapdragon 835 rival?

MediaTek, Helio X23, Helio X30

MediaTek’s mobile processors have made loads of progress over the years, evolving from comparatively underpowered and inefficient designs to today’s respectable and capable high-end processors. Recently, the company shed light on its Helio X30 processor, expected to power several flagship phones later this year.

Much like Samsung‘s Exynos 8895 and Qualcomm‘s Snapdragon 835, MediaTek has switched to a smaller 10nm manufacturing process for the Helio X30. This immediately promises perfomance and battery gains as a result.

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So what kind of gains are we expecting? The Chinese company says the 10nm process “increases performance by up to 22% and saves power by up to 40% versus 16nm generation products”.

Otherwise, you should expect a similar decacore arrangement as other top-end MediaTek chips, but there’s one big difference. Yes, it’s a tri-cluster arrangement, featuring a cluster of two powerful A73 cores (2.5Ghz) and a second cluster that features four power-saving A53 cores (at 2.2Ghz). But the final cluster sees MediaTek use newly announced A35 cores clocked at 1.9Ghz.

The A35 cores are meant for even better power efficiency than the already efficient A53 cores. In other words, expect even better battery life from light tasks such as music playback.

MediaTek likens the tri-cluster arrangement to gears in a car, allowing the phone to adjust from low gears to mid gears to high gears.

The MediaTek Helio X30 seems to address one of the brand’s biggest issues, namely the GPU department

In any event, MediaTek’s weakness has generally been in the GPU department, but the company has switched from ARM’s Mali GPU to PowerVR, using a quad-core Series7NXT chip. It seems to be a notable upgrade over the Mali T880 MP4 GPU used in the Helio X20 family, as the Chinese firm explains.

“It saves up to 60% power versus while increasing performance by up to 2.4 times compared to the Helio X20,” MediaTek says of the new GPU. And for what it’s worth, it’s similar to the GPU used in the iPhone 7 range (albeit with fewer cores).

CPU and GPU aside, the Helio X30 packs support for 8GB of RAM. And before you say “ah, no smartphone will feature 8GB of RAM”, it’s worth noting that the Asus ZenFone AR already packs this much RAM.

In the all-important camera department, MediaTek is touting support for dual cameras (two 16MP sensors), 4K/30fps video and advanced zoom/noise reduction tech. HDR video playback is the final major feature for MediaTek’s new silicon.

When can you get your hands on a phone featuring this chip? Well, delays with 10nm chips mean that we’ll only really see these processors flood the market later in Q2 and in the second half of the year.

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