When you think of MediaTek, what comes to mind? Cheap smartphones? Chinese smartphones? Exactly. That's what MediaTek appears to be changing with their Helio brand. Back at Mobile World Congress they announced their Helio brand with the Helio X10. Now they are back with the Helio X20. Which is a deca-core processor. That's right deca, as in 10 cores. Basically think of it as 2 quad-core processors and a dual-core processor. We've seen big.LITTLE architecture for a bit now, with the Snapdragon 808, 810 and even a number of Samsung's Exynos chips have been using that architecture from ARM. MediaTek's Helio X20, is more of a big.medium.LITTLE architecture.
Here we have 4 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.4GHz, which is designed to do lightweight things. Then there's another 4 Cortex-A53 cores that are clocked at 2GHz, which is meant for a bit heavier tasks. And for things like gaming we have the two Cortex-A72 cores which are clocked up to 2.5GHz. This setup should give you great battery life as well as great performance. Normally, you'd have to compromise one for the other. But it looks like with the Helio X20, you won't have too. That's a great thing.
According to the benchmarks that MediaTek did comparing the Helio X20 to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 and Samsung Exynos 7420, the Helio X20 outperforms them both in single and multi-threading. Using Geekbench 3. Also according to their benchmarks, it's a huge improvement of the Helio X10, which is already a pretty powerful processor.
In addition to all that power, MediaTek has also been able to make the Helio X20 support a ton of bands and technology. Including CDMA, LTE FDD/TDD, T-SCDMA, LTE, HSPA+ and Edge. So the idea here is that the one chip should work pretty much all over the world. Even though most of the world all uses GSM except for China and the US. It also means that if you have a phone with the Helio X20 chip inside, you'll be able roam all over the world and still get good signal, without using another phone. That's also a pretty big deal.
All this sounds great, right? So when can we see it in new smartphones? Well according to MediaTek, the Helio X20 will be sampling to manufacturers starting in Q3 of this year, and they expect smartphones to be available with this chip starting in Q1 2016. So there's a big possibility we could see a few smartphones at CES 2016 with the Helio X20, or even Mobile World Congress 2016. It appears to be a processor that can give the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 a run for its money.