According to recent rumors, MediaTek will likely utilize a hexacore design for its upcoming mid-range chipset, the Helio P40. The hexacore SoC will utilize a big.LITTLE setup, comprised of two ARM Cortex A73 cores and four ARM Cortex A53 ones, industry insiders said. In contrast, the Taiwanese semiconductor company included more significantly lower-powered cores into its previous mid-range chipsets like the Helio P30. The firm presumably chose to include high-performance processors in an effort to improve the single-core performance of its products, which should boost the performance of the Helio P40 across a wide range of apps. The product should hence be better-equipped to compete with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 660 SoC which is already being used by some Chinese phone makers.
The Cortex A73 microarchitecture was unveiled by chip designer ARM last year and is already incorporated into premium SoCs like Huawei's Kirin 960. This processor promises to deliver a 40 percent improvement in chipset performance for the same amount of silicon, which is good news for semiconductor firms seeking to enhance their products without incurring additional costs due to larger silicon size. ARM also claims that the Cortex A73 CPU is up to 30 percent more power-efficient than its predecessors, which should result in increased battery life for handsets equipped with this technology. The CPU is also capable of maintaining its peak performance over a longer period of time, resulting in a smoother user experience. All of those features, according to ARM, should address one of the major issues of recent smartphones - the more complicated heat dissipation systems prompted by decreased device thickness.
Aside from the more powerful CPU, the Helio P40 chipset is rumored to be fabricated using the 12nm process node technology. Based on this figure, it seems that MediaTek has commissioned TSMC to make the SoC. The use of smaller process nodes should bring additional power efficiency improvements to the chipset by reducing the energy consumed by its transistors. There is still no information about the GPU and other components of the Helio P40, but more details on the product are expected to be revealed in the last quarter of the year, with the SoC itself being rumored for a commercial debut in Q1 2018.