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MediaTek May Launch A 4nm Chipset This Year: Reports

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MediaTek could beat Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple, and the likes to launch the world’s first 4nm smartphone chipset. According to multiple sources in China and Taiwan, the production of MediaTek’s 4nm processors may begin as early as this year. Phones running on the new chipset may arrive in the market in the first half of next year. Several Chinese OEMs such as OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi have reportedly already placed orders for the upcoming high-end MediaTek SoC.

While all major chipmakers, including the aforementioned Qualcomm, Samsung, and Apple, moved to the 5nm architecture for their latest mobile SoCs, MediaTek’s latest is still using the 6nm process node. There were indications that the Taiwanese company may finally move to the more advanced 5nm technology for its next-gen flagship SoC, reportedly called Dimensity 2000. The chipset was expected to arrive by the end of this year.

However, by that time, MediaTek’s rivals would be ready with their second-gen 5nm solutions. So to make its premium offering more appealing to potential customers, the company has decided to entirely skip working on 5nm technology and move directly to 4nm. Since 4nm chips would be more power-efficient and could boast superior performance than 5nm solutions, this move would give MediaTek an edge over its competitors.

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TSMC will manufacture MediaTek’s 4nm chipsets. The contract chip manufacturing giant had previously said that it would start running a trial production of 4nm chips in the second half of this year. The company expected to begin mass production in 2022. However, according to the latest reports, it appears the company would start mass-producing MediaTek’s 4nm chipsets this year itself. That’s if everything goes as per plan, of course. However, even if things don’t pan out as expected, the world’s first 4nm SoCs might still arrive early next year.

MediaTek could be the first chipmaker to launch a 4nm SoC

MediaTek leapfrogged Qualcomm to become the world’s largest smartphone chipset vendor in 2020. The company particularly won the battle against Qualcomm in the budget and mid-range tier. Now it appears to be all set to win the premium tier as well by releasing a 4nm SoC ahead of everyone else. This could further help the company consolidate its position at the top.

The only downside of MediaTek’s upcoming 4nm chipset is that it comes significantly costlier. According to the reports, the new SoC will cost around $80 per unit. In contrast, the current high-end 5nm chipsets cost between $30 and $35 per unit. So we might only see this chipset inside those ‘Ultra’ high-end phones.

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All this said, these are still early and unconfirmed reports. There’s still a long time to go and a lot could change by then. The likes of Samsung and Qualcomm could bring their own 4nm solutions within this time span. Not to mention, the tech industry has yet to overcome the ongoing global semiconductor chip shortage. It now remains to be seen whether MediaTek manages to beat out the competition in releasing the world’s first 4nm smartphone chipset.