AH Tech Talk: 3 Versions Of MediaTek's Helio X10 SoC Explained

The emergence of MediaTek as a name to be reckoned with, doesn't bode well for Qualcomm. The San Diego-based company is already saddled with issues ranging from poor thermal management on its current flagship Snapdragon 810 chipset, to reduced shipments resulting from many of its former customers starting to design their own chips. What makes it worse is that these companies happen to be the largest smartphone OEMs in the world today, and some like Samsung, used to be Qualcomm's largest customers till not so long ago. None of them however, are presently using Qualcomm chips anymore. That list includes Samsung, who designs its own Exynos range of chipsets; Huawei, who uses its Kirin chips, which are manufactured by HiSilicon Technologies - a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huawei; and now even Xiaomi, a company that ships tens of millions of Qualcomm-powered devices every year, has now reportedly invested in chipmaker Leadcore for its future silicon requirements.

It is in this background that Mediatek's highly powerful, yet easy-on-the-wallet Helio X10 (MT6795) chip needs to be looked at. The chip, built with the 28 nm manufacturing process, comes with an embedded 64-bit CPU with eight Cortex-A53 cores running at a maximum clock speed of up to 2.2 GHz. As for the integrated GPU, the SoC includes a PowerVR G6200 GPU clocked at up to 700 MHz, and supports display resolutions of up to WQXGA (2560 x 1600 pixels). The chipset can be found in devices like the HTC One M9 Plus, which retails at over $600, but also powers Xiaomi's just-announced Redmi Note 2, which costs only 799 Yuan ($125) for its cheapest version.

Something that's not widely recognized however, is the fact that MediaTek has three different versions of its Helio X10 SoC. The base MT6795M, the mid-range MT6795 and the premium MT6795T. While all three come with the exact same octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU, PowerVR G6200 GPU and Cat.4 LTE modem, the clock speeds of the CPU and GPU does vary ever so slightly from one version to another. The other notable difference is the support for WQXGA (2560 x 1600) panels, which is missing in the base 'M' version of the chip. All three versions of the chipset can natively process images of up to 21-megapixel resolution.

Talking about the base version of MediaTek's Helio X10 chipset, the MT6795M comes with the aforementioned Cortex-A53 CPU clocked at 2.0 GHz and the PowerVR G6200 GPU clocked at 550 MHz. The mid-level MT6795 (without the 'M' or 'T' moniker) comes with the exact same clock speed on its CPU, but sees the GPU clock bumped up to 700 MHz, and also includes support for WQXGA (2560 x 1600) display panels. The top-end version (MT6795T, where 'T' stands for Turbo) meanwhile sees its CPU clock speed get a boost to 2.2 GHz. The rest of the specs stay the identical to that of the MT6795 version.

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