MediaTek are in an interesting position for a chipset designer and manufacturer. The original business was in designing reference handset designs, which were bought by other manufacturers to relabel and sell under their own branding. Over time, MediaTek have ventured into building System-on-Chips, first relatively simple designs but as the months rolled by, their chipsets have become increasingly refined and sophisticated. In 2015, MediaTek innovated with their three tier big.LITTLE architecture designs, which use three clusters of different application cores so as to better optimize the processor with whatever workload was being asked of it. MediaTek have also started renaming their chipsets in order to provide some brand identity, as we see Huawei do with their HiSilicon, Honor and Kirin sub-brands. Here, we see MediaTek using the Helio sub brand and today’s story concerns one of their more conventional chipset designs, the MediaTek Helio P10.
The Helio P10 is another of MediaTek’s successful line of “super-midrange” chipsets, that is, it is designed to provide most of the performance of a flagship chipset at much less of the cost. Supermid chipsets typically lack the most modern, and expensive, of refinements so may be constructed at a larger process, use an older or less expensive application or graphics processor, and perhaps have other compromises such as the memory bandwidth. They are better suited to devices with a lower-than-flagship screen resolution, which these days typically means 1080p or perhaps 720p rather than QHD or 1440p resolution. In the case of the Helio P10, this consists of eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 2.0 GHz backed up by the new ARM Mali-T860 MP2 GPU, which has a clock speed of 700 MHz. The Helio P10 is constructed on a 28nm “HP+” manufacturing process, designed to improve performance and reduce power consumption compared with previous generation supermid chipsets – but not as sophisticated or refined as bleeding edge 16nm or so processors.
MediaTek have announced that there are more than one hundred devices being prepared to launch with their new chipset and how the business has won more than one hundred design wins. MediaTek’s Vice Chairman and President, Ching-Jiang Hsieh, their Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Johan Erik Lodenius, together with Kristin Taylor, a Vice President in charge of Industry Analyst Relations, told the Fudzilla website that the Mediatek Helio P10 had been well received by the industry. In the same conversation, the trio reported that the Helio X20 was well received but declined to provide the number of up and coming devices. Going back to the original hundred P10 devices, the source website believes that these are about to start shipping. And whilst we do not know any of the manufacturers about to release devices using the P10, it’s a fair bet that it will find a home in many of tomorrow’s mid-range Chinese devices.